But NPBs also rely on TAPs as a data source, Harding says. In that respect, they'll remain complementary despite each device attempting to leapfrog the other in functionality.
"One of the biggest value propositions of [TAP] is the affordability of deploying a broad fabric at low cost on bare metal switches," says EMA's McGillicuddy. "That's something you're starting to see the network packet broker vendors co-opt. Network packet brokers are basically turning OpenFlow switches into TAPs. So TAPs rely on network packet brokers for advanced features; network packet brokers rely on TAPs for bare metal."
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.