Case Study
The Challenge.
Wire-speed capture, analysis, and retention of
a wide-range of information types requiring
consistently available high I/O bandwidth with
rapidly growing capacity requirements.
LSI and NCS Technologies deliver performance and
savings for network security solutions.
NCS Technologies wins evaluations with LSI® MegaRAID®
controller cards and WarpDrive™ SLP-300 accelerator card.
The Solution.
The WarpDrive card will be used as a caching
drive. The WarpDrive card enables very high
IOPS to accelerate high demand applications
such as real time network analysis. Where
Is it a threat if you don’t know you’re being threatened? Is it dangerous, if
you don’t know you’re in danger? What you don’t know, can it hurt you?
Yes, yes and yes.
standard HDD technology might not be able
to keep up, the WarpDrive card offers a PCIe
plug-in solution that easily installs into existing
server platforms without taking away precious
system resources from the CPU or memory.
The Result.
One customer has indicated a “Design Win”
at its current stage of evaluation. Another
customer is also currently in testing and has
also indicated the WarpDrive card is setting
the standard for performance and feature
set. So far, the WarpDrive card appears to
be the best solution for these customers for
wire speed network monitoring and big data
analysis generated by SIEM applications when
compared to multiple SDDs, external Flash
storage appliances, and competitive PCIe Flash
cards on the basis of product fit, performance,
storage density, price, and vendor stability.
In the world of network management, undetected threats can be the most
dangerous. If network managers don’t know they’re under attack, the consequences
can be severe. Network performance, reliability and security have never been more
important. Business operations, customer satisfaction, even public safety and
national security rely more and more heavily on networked technologies that “just
have to be there.”
Distributed applications, rich data, security, compliance and Quality of Service (QoS)
requirements all drive the need for bandwidth and control, which has put a lot of
pressure on suppliers’ abilities to offer line-rate network traffic analysis, recording,
monitoring, and reporting using increasingly sophisticated, visually rich and
powerful analyzers. Combining the accelerating growth in overall traffic with the
factors noted above, suppliers of traffic analysis solutions are facing a perfect storm.
As a result of this perfect storm billions of dollars have been spent to protect vital
corporate, private and government data in flight across the networks of large and
small corporations, sovereign nations and the world. By one estimate the U.S.
Pentagon alone has invested over $100 million to detect, prevent and respond to
cyber threats.
The threat sources are as diverse as the targets. Intrusion, denial of service (DoS) and
virus attacks can enter network infrastructure through game consoles, laptops, and
mobile devices. The threats are sophisticated, often subtle, and often intended to
“LSI has literally millions of units installed
in the field – they are a leading supplier
of storage semiconductors to major
OEMs around the world and they have
a very strong commitment to their
channel program partners. Their support
organization has played an important
role in helping us address our customers’
issues on several occasions, - very
knowledgeable, very accessible. Access to
that level of support is one of the benefits
we have as a Premier Member in their
Channel Partner Program.”
Steve Stuck
Group VP,
OEM Server and Appliance Sales,
NCS Technologies
Companies offering network monitoring and security information event
management systems (SIEM) products and services to address these threats are
among the most respected in the industry, both for their technical and their business
expertise. NCS Technologies (NCS Tech) in Gainesville, Virginia is a leading provider
of solutions-oriented design, manufacturing and supply-chain management services
for independent software vendors and solutions oriented hardware OEMs looking
to outsource the development, manufacturing and fulfillment of their compute or
storage based solutions.
“We provide architecture and design support to solution providers focusing on
mission critical applications in finance, healthcare, government and defense”,
explained Steve Stuck, Group VP, OEM Server and Appliance Sales, at NCS Tech.
“In addition companies often turn to us at the end of the planning and design
phases and ask us to help them with fulfillment as well. Over the years our technical
expertise has allowed us to build manufacturing and supply chain capabilities that
let us deliver on the designs we helped our customers envision.”
“It was a little nerve-wracking at first,” Stuck continued, ”We would come up with all
these great ideas, and our customers turned to us and said ‘okay now we need you to
build it.’ We really had to deliver then. That’s why we only work with first tier vendors
who can give us access to proven, leadership technologies, and the engineering
resources to support them, companies like LSI.
“We recently completed a design for a customer who needed a continuous network
monitoring solution to identify and correlate network security threats, provide
analytical and diagnostic tools, correlate and remediate risks to the information
infrastructure for government and commercial customers including insider threats,
zero-day exploits, targeted malware, advanced persistent threats, data leakage, fraud,
and espionage.
“They exposed requirements to us for wire-speed capture, analysis, and retention of a
wide-range of information types, needing consistently available high I/O bandwidth
with rapid scalability and without increasing latency for network traffic user. Their
previous solution exposed network and storage infrastructure bottlenecks.
NCS Technology network security solutions, based on
LSI storage technologies, are key to prevent sensitive
data from being sucked into a wormhole
“For adequate information security, you need total visibility into all aspects of your
information network. However, every IPSec alert, firewall log, server transaction,
application activity—or any other relevant data—creates more information that
must be collected, stored and managed. While the information may be relevant,
and highly valuable for security analysis, the sheer volume of information becomes
overwhelming to most network monitoring and SIEM system architectures. Among
other things the natural dynamics of the data required us to consider highly scalable
solutions. Maxing out data storage capacity could be a real disaster in a context like
Case Study - NCS Technologies 2
“The WarpDrive card showed better
performance, took fewer systems
resources- allowing those resources to
better support client applications – and
was less expensive.”
Steve Stuck
Group VP,
OEM Server and Appliance Sales,
NCS Technologies
“We did a deep dive on their requirements and the technologies available,” Stuck
explained. “ We settled on 2U and 3U enclosures configured with a variety of network
interfaces, copper and optical Fibre, 1GbE and 10GbE. We proposed configurations
with 12 or 16 1TB 7200RPM SAS or SATA disks plus SSD drives and a pair of the LSI
MegaRAID SAS 9260-8i controllers. In addition, we recommended including an LSI
Warpdrive SLP-300 card as a high-speed device for storing and delivering database
indices and important data sets that need low latency access.
“This turned out to be a winning configuration for one customer of ours who was
using a specialized SSD-based storage appliance to service the network monitoring
requirements for a major federal agency…very expensive. We were able to improve
performance and cut cost for them by getting them to look at using the WarpDrive
card and high capacity SATA drives to get the performance and capacity they
needed, at a much lower solution cost.
“In another instance,” Stuck added, “a customer in the SIEM space was going down
the path of evaluating a consumer grade PCIe-based solid state storage device, and
we were able to get them to evaluate and approve the enterprise-class WarpDrive
SLP-300 card for evaluation. They reported back to us that the WarpDrive card’s
performance was significantly better, and the cost was more attractive, too.”
“The WarpDrive card showed better performance, took fewer systems resourcesallowing those resources to better support client applications – and was less
expensive. The WarpDrive card enables very high IOPS to accelerate high demand
applications such as real time network analysis. Where standard hard drive
technology might not be able to keep up, the WarpDrive card offers a PCIe plugin solution that easily installs into existing server platforms without taking away
precious system resources from the CPU or memory.
“Both of these customers in the network security space have applications with
implications for national security, so we know their evaluation standards demand the
very best. That’s why we included LSI MegaRAID controllers and the WarpDrive card
as part of our configuration.
The LSI WarpDrive SLP-300 enables very high IOPS to
accelerate high demand applications like real time
network analysis and SEIM. Where standard hard
drive technology might not be able to keep up, the
WarpDrive card offers a PCIe plug-in solution that
easily installs into existing server platforms without
taking away precious system resources from the CPU
or memory.
“Because of who we work with at the corporate, state and federal level in network
security,” Stuck clarified, “many times we are unable to share the names of our
customers. We all know they exist, and most of us are glad they are there. They do a
good job, but they don’t like to call a lot of attention to themselves.”
He went on, “And for NCS Tech, one of the great things about the work we do for our
customers in network security is that it is completely transferrable to the big data and
I/O performance challenges our customers face in other market segments. We offer
very similar configurations to customers in healthcare and financial services, where
performance and data protection are critical to business operations.
Case Study - NCS Technologies 3
“There, too LSI helps us meet or exceed our customers’ requirements with storage
options that let us optimize high-performance solutions to protect critical
information and networks. Utilizing the industry’s fastest analytical tools, we enable
our customers to identify, correlate and remediate threats in minutes instead of
hours, allowing them to mitigate risks to their information and infrastructure,” Stuck
LSI WarpDrive SLP-300 PCIe Acceleration Card
High performance in-server storage allows single server solution
Facilitates reduced server count
Helps enable higher web server performance
Dramatically improves transactional application performance
LSI MegaRAID 6Gb/s SATA+SAS 9260-8i Controller Card
Superior performance
PCI Express 2.0 provides faster signaling for high-bandwidth applications
Support for 3Gb/s and 6Gb/s SATA and SAS hard drives and SSDs for maximum inside-the-box flexibility
Support for LSI Advanced Software Options including MegaRAID Fast Path, CacheCade™, SafeStore™
and Recovery software
Low-profile MD2 form factor for space-limited 1U and 2U environments
Since 1996, NCS Technologies, Inc. has been an innovator in the IT arena. Housed
in their new state-of-the-art facility in Gainesville, VA, NCS designs, manufactures,
integrates, tests, distributes, and supports their full line of commercial and rugged IT
NCS designs solutions for various federal government agencies, the Department
of Defense, NASA, NIST, state and local governments, research organizations, and
a myriad of commercial customers with unique requirements. NCS’ Engineering
Division is sharply focused on architecting and deploying High-Performance
Computing (HPC), storage, and virtualization solutions, as a logical outgrowth of
the company’s core expertise providing desktops, notebooks, mobile devices, thin
clients, servers, and Internet appliances governed by ISO-9001:2008 standards. For
more information, please visit
Case Study - NCS Technologies 4
Components and Configuration
LSI WarpDrive SLP-300 PCIe Acceleration Card
Low-profile MD2 x8 PCIe 2.0 SSD cache card
Offering high performance with low latency and a low CPU burden,
the PCIe small form factor WarpDrive acceleration card is designed to
maximize transactional I/O performance for applications such as Web
serving, data warehousing, data mining, online transaction processing and
high-performance computing. This reliable acceleration card performs
consistently across reads and writes regardless of workload. This solid state
storage solution utilizes industry-standard and widely deployed LSI SAS
software for easier system integration and management and a faster time to
LSI MegaRAID 6Gb/s SATA+SAS 9260-8i
Controller Card
MegaRAID SATA+SAS controllers provide a new level of reliability,
availability, and performance to businesses that are facing storage
challenges driven by unprecedented data growth. With data transfer rates
of up to 6Gb/s per port, the MegaRAID SAS 9260-8i controller brings users
new features and improved performance, while continuing to support all
the features of the previous 3Gb/s SATA+SAS generation. This MegaRAID
value line controller, ideal for inside-the-box connectivity, employs the latest
in RAID-on-Chip (ROC) technology and complies with the PCI Express 2.0
Build Today
You can use the same LSI RAID technology as NCS Technologies for your high performance requirements today.
Contact David Graas at for more information.
For more information and sales office locations, please visit
LSI, LSI and Design logo, MegaRAID, WarpDrive, SafeStore, and CacheCade are trademarks or registered trademarks of LSI Corporation. All other
brand and product names may be trademarks of their respective companies.
LSI Corporation reserves the right to make changes to any products and services herein at any time without notice. LSI does not assume any
responsibility or liability arising out of the application or use of any product or service described herein, except as expressly agreed to in writing
by LSI; nor does the purchase, lease, or use of a product or service from LSI convey a license under any patent rights, copyrights, trademark rights,
or any other of the intellectual property rights of LSI or of third parties.
Copyright ©2011 by LSI Corporation. All rights reserved. September 2011
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