Observer GigaStor


Retrospective Network Analyzer

Manage with edge-to-core vision.

Rewind. Review. Resolve.

Stop Missing Critical Network Events.

Observer GigaStor plays a significant role for transaction-heavy organizations in data mining, network forensics, and data retention compliance. The undisputed leader in retrospective network analysis (RNA), GigaStor eliminates the time-consuming task of recreating problems for troubleshooting. Just hit rewind to go back in time and review past network activity. Then navigate to the exact moment a problem occurred and see detailed packet-level views before, during, and after an issue occurrence.

The result is the elimination of unnecessary finger-pointing between network and application teams,  fast and accurate issue identification, and speedy resolution. By removing the guesswork, GigaStor provides long-term corporate-wide benefits that include:

  • Ensuring successful application deployments
  • Solving network and application problem quickly
  • Reconstructing and troubleshooting VoIP calls
  • Investigating and documenting compliance violations

GigaStor is the perfect solution for your network’s security, compliance, and troubleshooting needs. It works on gigabit, 10 Gb, and 40 Gb links – with an immense storage capacity that dwarfs the competition. Product offerings come in a range of sizes with capacity support for more than a petabyte of network data for days, weeks, or months of visibility.



Available in portable, 2U and 5U form factors designed for robust storage capacity in a strong, fault-
tolerant chassis.

Gen2 Capture Card


Internal packet capture technology ensures the fastest real-time packet capture, largest buffers, and highest port density in the industry.

Gen2 Capture Card


Capable of passively capturing and storing up to PB of data traversing the network for later analysis and reporting.


What advantages does GigaStor offer network teams?

  • Back-in-time functionality
  • Storage capacity of more than a petabyte of data
  • Exclusive Gen2 packet capture technology
  • Data-at-rest encryption
  • Integration with Hardware Security Modules (HSM)
  • Superior scalability
  • Root-cause analysis
  • Platform integration
  • Latency identification
  • Portable options
  • Server delay tracking
  • Application-specific error monitoring
  • Expert Analytics

Its high performance RAID array permits continuous capture of live traffic at full-duplex gigabit, 10 Gb, and 40 Gb line rates. Network teams can choose from a selection of sizes and from console and portable versions.

Gigastor CalculatorUse the GigaStor calculator to estimate what size is right for your organization.

In the financial industry, losing any data is a big deal. That's why we use Observer Analyzer Expert Edition and Observer GigaStor to ensure we see everything.

- Chicago Board Options Exchange

By deploying the Observer GigaStor at strategic places on the network we have the ability to go back in time, filter down to the particular traffic of interest and then do our analysis.

- Chicago Board Options Exchange

Its flexibility and storage capacity made Observer GigaStor Portable the logical choice on which to standardize our network practice.

- NEC Unified Solutions

Observer GigaStor and Observer's Expert Analysis allowed us to quickly isolate and resolve routing and retransmission issues with the email server. Without GigaStor, we could have spent hours trying to replicate the slowdown.

- Central Du Page Hospital

Observer GigaStor is a unique tool… it allows you to record traffic and retroactively determine exactly what happened at a given time in order to determine the root cause of a problem.

- CEO, IT Service Provider

Key Features

Time Navigation InterfaceTime Navigation Interface

Simplify problem isolation with Observer GigaStor's unique time-based navigation system. Identify time of problem occurrence, and then navigate down to the nanosecond for quick and accurate root-cause identification. GigaStor also offers a big-picture view with a macro timeline graph for proactive management, showing related problems and spikes occurring before an incident so you can dig deeper to prevent reoccurrence.

Root-Cause AnalysisRoot-Cause Analysis

Sift through more than a petabyte of data, perform analysis, and find the problem through root-cause analysis – minimizing downtime and end-user impact. From an enterprise-wide view, you can track bandwidth utilization, network Top Talkers, application metrics, and even VoIP quality statistics.

Have more than one GigaStor? Multi-GigaStor Analysis allows you to extract and combine data from numerous appliances into one console, providing a consolidated view of all GigaStor data.

Robust Data Protection

  • Super strong military-grade AES-256 data-at-rest encryption protects highly sensitive user data when held within GigaStor at 10 Gb line rate without degradation to packet capture and store performance
  • Integration with hardware security modules (HSM) enables GigaStor to perform conversation-based decryption using SSL/TSL certificates while fully complying with PKCS #11 standards

Precision Engineering

The Gen2 Card is exclusively built and engineered by Network Instruments. Designed to maximize performance on critical links, it guarantees the fastest real-time packet capture, largest buffers, and highest port density in the industry. See the 10 Gb speed test report by Tolly.Gen2 ensures accurate captures on fully-saturated networks, collects full-duplex wire speed capture statistics, and can monitor multiple gigabit links. It supports full-duplex gigabit, 10 Gb, and 40 Gb..

Gen2 Capture Card


Internally designed and manufactured to seamlessly execute the precision-driven analytics and capturing power
of the GigaStor.


Ensures the fastest real-time packet capture, largest buffers, and highest port density in the industry.

Forensics – Security and Compliance Forensics  – Security and Compliance

GigaStor is changing the way network and security teams do their jobs. It passively captures and archives all data traversing the network for later analysis and reporting, making it ideal for meeting security forensics and compliance objectives. For example, the GigaStor not only shows that communications took place, it can reconstruct the mined data – providing evidence such as phone conversations, web pages, instant messages, and emails. It serves as a network eyewitness, determining whether a problem relates to the network, security, or application. Use GigaStor's Expert Analysis and uploaded Snort rules to investigate security breaches and compliance issues.

Analysis at the Probe

When developing the Observer Platform, Network Instruments made an architectural leap and virtually eliminated all analysis traffic from the network. This reduces overhead and provides more scalability because you can add more visibility points without impacting network traffic or the ability to process from a single console. An ideal solution for the world's largest analysis deployments, benefits include a 97 percent reduction in overhead and bandwidth.

Application Analysis Application Analysis

Get an immense depth of application detail in nanoseconds. More than HTTP traffic monitoring, our app analysis goes beyond simple response times. It ensures faster MTTR using a trifecta of comprehensive performance metrics including Application Performance Analysis that focuses on end-user experience, Transaction Analysis that provides extensive detail about the applications layers 5 to 7, and Expert Analytics packed with a variety of advanced analysis tools that save critical minutes, hours, even days off of troubleshooting time.

Product Options

Choose the right Observer GigaStor for your organization's size and needs. Network Instruments offers an array of options in an assortment of form factors, network speeds, port counts, and capacities that range from 2 TB to more than a petabyte. For more information, review the tech specs, use the GigaStor Calculator or contact a Network Instruments representative.

GigaStor Upgradeable

Easily increase storage capacity

GigaStor Upgradeable provides in-field expansion of storage by adding drives from the front of the unit without removing it from the rack. It's available in 2U and 5U form factors.

Observer GigaStor 2U
Upgradeable 2U

The 2U is designed for network edge and branch locations, supporting from 4 to 16 TB of storage in four-drive increments.

Observer GigaStor 5U
Upgradeable 5U

The 5U chassis has the flexibility to support 16 to 48 TB of storage and is ideal for the data center, distribution layer, and server access layer.

Form Factor




Rack Size

Upgradeable 2U Data Center
Branch Facilities
Network Edge
4 TB to 16 TB
Field Upgrade
1 Gb & 10 Gb 2U
Upgradeable 5U Data Center 16 TB to 48 TB
Field Upgrade
1 Gb & 10 Gb 5U

GigaStor Expandable

Scale up to a petabyte and beyond

Observer GigaStor 5U
Expandable 5U

GigaStor Expandable allows growing enterprises to deploy the optimal packet capture capabilities for their distinct environment. Nothing in the application performance monitoring arena matches the GigaStor Expandable for retrospective network analysis, scalability, or performance. The most adaptable GigaStor model, it supports the widest range of options, from 2 to 12 ports, and 48 TB or 96 TB of capacity per enclosure, scaling to more than a petabyte.

Form Factor




Rack Size

Expandable 5U Data Center
Server Access Layer
Long-Term Retention
48 TB to 1.15 PB
Field Upgrade
1 Gb, 10 Gb & 40 Gb 5U

GigaStor 10 Gb Wire Speed

Capture every packet on saturated links

Observer GigaStor 10 Gb Wire Speed
10 Gb Wire Speed 

Want to grab every byte of traffic in your highest utilization core links, or virtualized server farm connections? This is your solution. Preconfigured to accomplish this one objective with two ports and either 144 or 288 TB of capacity, it's ready for your most demanding 10 Gb links right out of the box.

Form Factor




Rack Size

10 Gb Wire Speed Data Center
Access Layer
144 TB & 288 TB 1 Gb & 10 Gb 5U (3)

GigaStor Portable

Set up a mobile forensics unit

GigaStor Portable

The GigaStor Portable is the first self-contained, mobile forensics system. Count on it for troubleshooting network and application problems wherever they occur. Take GigaStor Portable with you anywhere to capture days of packet-level data, isolate network issues fast, and reconstruct data streams.

Form Factor




Rack Size

GigaStor Portable

Anywhere 4 TB, 6 TB & 8 TB 1 Gb, 10 Gb & 40 Gb NA

Observer Platform Integration

The Observer Platform is a full-service IT solution for optimizing application and network performance management. Each part of the system fits perfectly with all other components, and increases capabilities, power, and speed. Explore how GigaStor works with the products described below.

Observer Analyzer Console

GigaStor works seamlessly with the Observer Analyzer Expert console for Expert Analysis, trending, alerting, and more. Analyzer helps network teams understand packet flow across the network and its impact on network health, while GigaStor adds post-event functionalities so that packets can be stored and reviewed if needed, ensuring no sporadic application abnormalities or security risks are missed.

Observer ApexObserver Apex

Apex serves as the center of the Observer Performance Management Platform. It combines flow technologies, captured packets, and Expert Analysis to provide an overall view of network health. Combine GigaStor with Apex and accelerate troubleshooting speed through retrospective network analysis (RNA), pinpointing issues by rewinding the network to exact times and users. Apex and GigaStor working together provides baselining capability, easy drilldowns into key metrics, large-scale correlations, and more.

Third-Party Systems

Capture packets with GigaStor and effortlessly launch alternate solutions to manage and investigate performance issues on the network. Mine data and automatically launch analysis of data within third-party tools alongside Analyzer reports. GigaStor captures can be easily exported to security devices, compliance and forensic tools, and other network analyzers.

Product Integration Graph

How is Observer GigaStor Deployed?

Observer GigaStor can be easily mounted in a standard rack unit. By utilizing the Observer nTAPs included, you can insert and remove GigaStor around network without disruption of flow. GigaStor reports back to Observer Analyzer Expert Edition and Suite consoles for in-depth analysis.

If desired, GigaStor can be configured as a local console for on-site analysis. And because GigaStor integrates into the Observer Platfom's Unified Architecture.

Best Practices

  • Place GigaStors in the data center core
  • Locate near servers to capture their server-to-server traffic
  • The distribution layer is another optimal position for GigaStor

What's New?

GigaStor Portable SSD

  • Expanded GigaStor Portable family based on SSD storage delivers up to 5x performance improvement
  • Supports AES-256 at-rest encryption to fully protect sensitive data while stored within GigaStor Portable
  • Included is the GigaStor Portable 10 Gb Wire Speed which offers 10 Gb sustained, full-duplex, line-rate capture and write-to-storage performance

Multi-GigaStor AnalysisMulti-GigaStor Analysis

Is visibility into your complex network architecture a challenge? Multi-GigaStor analysis simplifies access to the critical information you need. Using multiple GigaStors, now you can quickly get relevant content from different perspectives across multiple models. Our optimized Multi-GigaStor Analysis feature combines data from multiple appliances into a single pane of glass, providing aggregated statistical analysis of all your metrics.

VoIP and Video ExtractVoIP and Video Extract

VoIP and videoconferencing are complex communications – difficult to isolate and troubleshoot without using advanced GigaStor features such as Call Extract. GigaStor streamlines the process of locating and extracting VoIP and video call sessions, saving hours of troubleshooting time and ensuring all relevant activity has been identified for investigation. Just enter a variable such as a phone number or Caller ID, and the system will automatically piece communications together for analysis.

Gen2 Capture Card Enhancements Gen2 Capture Card Enhancements

  • Faster, more flexible gigabit and 10 Gb packet capture and RNA
  • Synchronized hardware-accelerated filtering for up to 12 ports
  • Flexible hardware deduplication; no latency introduced

2U Form Factor GigaStor Upgradeable 2U Form Factor

In addition to 5U, the GigaStor Upgradeable now offers a 2U option. It provides the same fault-tolerant capabilities as the 5U, including redundant fans and power supplies, hot-swap drives, and Lights out Management (LOM). The 2U extends high-speed packet capture and retrospective network analysis to the network edge or branch office sites in a cost-effective, field-scalable platform that supports 4 TB to 16 TB of storage in four drive increments. The 5U chassis continues to have the flexibility to support 16 to 48 TB of storage, and is ideal for the data center, distribution layer, and server access layer.

Third-Party Analysis

Using multiple tools to manage and investigate performance issues on the network? The Observer Platform now supports third-party analysis capabilities, enabling you to actually launch the third-party tool from GigaStor to external analysis and security solutions.

  • Using multiple tools to manage and investigate performance issues on the network? The Observer Platform now supports third-party analysis capabilities, enabling. It enables you to actually launch the third-party tool from GigaStor to external analysis and security solutions.
  • Observer Analyzer and GigaStor captures can be sent to  IPS/IDS and security devices, compliance and forensic tools, and other network analyzers.

Technical Specifications

All Observer GigaStor appliances include a local Observer Analyzer Expert Edition console and can connect to any Analyzer Expert Edition, Suite, or RMON/HCRMON compliant console on the network.

To ensure wire-speed and line-rate capture, each system includes the Observer Platform’s unique full-duplex Gen2 capture card with multiple-link support.

Each unit also includes all required cabling, dual six-core processor with Windows 7 Pro 64-bit Edition, and a 10/100/1000 Ethernet management port.

The appliances support multiple topologies: Gigabit, 10 Gb, and 40 Gb.

Model Storage Capacity
GigaStor Portable 4, 6, 8 TB
GigaStor Upgradeable 4-48 TB
GigaStor Expandable 48 TB-1.15 PB
GigaStor 10 Gb Wire Speed 144, 288 TB