netflow-analyzerThis week we will take a look at one of the most well-known and trusted network data collectors that has been around for years. Currently in its 9th version, Cisco’s Netflow has been a trusted collection feature that network monitoring software developers have invariably factored into their monitoring solutions with some or other type of Netflow analyzer.

The reason for this is Netflow’s superior ability to provide information on network patterns, trends, security and performance metrics, so useful to CIOs and engineers. Let’s a deeper look into what makes Netflow such a popular network reporting, troubleshooting and analysis tool for today’s enterprise professional.

Template-based flow records as of version 9

Over the years, Netflow has evolved and improved with each new version as network technologies have developed and placed new demands on CIOs and engineers. With the release of version 9, flow records (the basic Netflow output) have taken on a template-based design. Due to their extensibility, this template-based format makes it easier for future implementations without the need to make changes to the basic record format.

This “future proofing” of Netflow is exciting for NMS developers and CIOs as their reliance on Netflow Analyzers for the collection and dissemination of network metrics is an important tool in their cache for the upkeep of large enterprise environments.

Netflow and the Netflow Analyzer

By employing a Netflow Analyzer, networking professionals are able to dissect flow information and gain much deeper insight into the type of traffic that is traversing the enterprise. A Netflow Analyzer is capable of revealing metrics on a wide range of network elements, such as network application performance, security data, causes of bottlenecks, device data etc.

This complete view of large enterprises makes the task of managing a complex environment considerably easier. The well-designed and developed Netflow Analyzer provides detailed reporting and analysis tools that allow IT to map a path to the future growth aspirations of the business with marked clarity. Trend analysis based on Netflow metrics plays a major role in capacity planning and performance baselining.

IRIS Flow Collector

At IRIS we have developed a Netflow Analyzer with superior collection, management and analysis functions of flow records captured from enterprise grade routers. Due to Netflow’s popularity and the number of equivalents that developed by other hardware vendors (Junpier’s J-Flow or HP’s Netstream, for example) our flow collector is capable of capturing a wide range of flow records for analysis.

Here is brief look at the IRIS Flow Collector:

  • The Troubleshooter: allows you to explore traffic per device in a way that makes problem identification easier. With a visual representation of data via the Troubleshooter, IT staff is able to identify network issues more efficiently.
  • Iris Flow Explorer: is a reporting engine that gives free reign over the search function in the Netflow database. Advanced searches using the Flow Explorer allows you to build graphs depicting traffic patterns and data.
  • The Flow Tracker: module is designed to “track” network data on a predefined query. The Flow Tracker system is highly scalable, with the ability to create 11 000 flow tracks on a single flow collector.

The IRIS Flow Collector gives engineers and managers a powerful tool in the pursuit of a stable, predictable environment.

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