Best Practices

NetFlow

NetFlow monitoring should be part of your IT monitoring strategy.   

Get visibility into your network traffic and bandwidth allocation

NetFlow is a network protocol developed by Cisco to collect IP network traffic as it enters or exits an interface. NetFlow uses 7 key values to identify unique flows, so packets constituting a flow share the same

  1. source and
  2. destination IP addresses
  3. source and
  4. destination ports
  5. IP protocol
  6. Ingress interface and
  7. Type of Service values

NetFlow-enabled devices (router/switch) log a new flow if a packet with unique identifications in the 7-key values passes through its interface. Subsequent packets with the same values are logged as increments to the same flow, while a difference in just one value results in the termination of the current flow and the initiation of another flow. NetFlow captures data for both ingress (incoming) and egress (outgoing) IP packets in an interface.

Since your network traffic holds the key to compliance and security issues, network anomalies and technical vulnerabilities, plus you have mission-critical applications competing with recreational traffic for bandwidth, NetFlow monitoring should be part of your IT monitoring strategy. 

For example WhatsUp Gold's Total and Total Plus editions include Network Traffic Analysis which acts as a flow collector and analyzer, providing a central location to collect, store, analyze, alert and report on network traffic data. Using SNMP, WhatsUp Gold can automatically identify Cisco NetFlow-enabled devices, and automatically configure the device to send NetFlow records back to it. WhatsUp Gold then analyzes the raw data, and provides pertinent insights into traffic identification, analysis, trends identification and QoS verification. The information is provided in comprehensive reports such as Top Protocols, Top Applications, Top Senders and more. Flow data from multiple devices can also be grouped as per their business functions, thereby generating business-oriented reports. Additionally, you can configure thresholds and get alerted on bandwidth usage violations (e.g. video streaming abuse), failed connections, conversation partner breaches or interface traffic spikes to ensure rapid responses to traffic bottlenecks and security issues.

WhatsUp Gold supports NetFlow, NetFlow v9 (Lite), sFlow, J-Flow (sampled NetFlow), or IP Flow Information Export (IPFIX) data from routers, switches, and other network devices, giving you end-to-end traffic visibility in your network. 

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