To better collect data on IP traffic and track overall network health, Cisco created a protocol called NetFlow. By analysing the information provided by NetFlow, you can get a sense of the volume and direction of network traffic.
Since NetFlow is a unidirectional technology, every time a server fulfils a client’s first request, it generates a new flow record in the opposite direction. Because the flow record was made when the server answered the first client request, this occurs. If you use a monitoring solution that supports the NetFlow protocol, you may be able to more effectively monitor and analyse these flow records for network traffic.
What is the purpose of the NetFlow system?
The NetFlow system follows a simple procedure for gathering information, organising it, and analysing it. The main parts are as follows:
IP packets with similar characteristics form a flow of IP traffic. IP traffic can be visualised as a river. A router or switch will examine a packet’s source IP address, destination IP address, destination port, source port, Layer-3 protocol, class of service, and router or switch interface before forwarding it.
NetFlow data, a summarised version of the information gleaned from the packets, is stored in a database called the NetFlow cache.
CLI stands for “command line interface.”
The Command Line Interface is one of two methods of connecting to NetFlow and accessing NetFlow data (also known as CLI). It provides a real-time look at network activity, which is useful for identifying and fixing problems.
A NetFlow Data Collector
The second option for accessing NetFlow data happns to be to have the data exported to a NetFlow collector. A NetFlow collector is a type of reporting server. This type of server monitors and processes exported data and traffic for ease of analysis. NetFlow collectors can be divided into two categories: hardware-based and software-based. Software-based collectors are far more common than hardware ones.
You can make better use of your time by streamlining your NetFlow monitoring
Information about a network’s traffic and usage can be gleaned from the data collected by NetFlow. A flow exporter is a device that receives data packets, sorts them into flows, and then sends records about those flows to a NetFlow collection server or servers. This paves the way for smarter NetFlow tracking. The collectors then store and organise the data records, which can be used to determine the origin and destination of any given flow record, as well as the causes of congestion and other useful details.
Data mining NetFlow 5, 9, and IPFIX versions
NTA is able to collect network traffic countings from a wide range of data sources, counting Cisco NetFlow v9 and v5, two of the most widely used network protocol systems, and NetFlow v10, also known as IPFIX. The fields that can be matched and exported are fixed in the NetFlow v5 protocol, while in the template-based NetFlow v9 protocol, you have more leeway in terms of format. IPFIX is a standard that specifies the structure and transport of data exported from an IP network to a collector device. NTA will make it simpler to keep tabs on this and other kinds of data as well.
If you have a thorough comprehension of network traffic, you can speed up the process of fixing any issues that arise.
Collecting and analysing NetFlow data can help you figure out which users, applications, and protocols are hogging the most network bandwidth by keeping tabs on processes, protocols, times of day, and traffic routing. Keeping tabs on the information can help you do this.
Always be aware of your potential paths of flow
In addition to automatically retrieving NetFlow data from Cisco vendors, NTA is able to keep an eye on other flow technologies. The following are examples of such non-traditional methods of flow regulation:
These corporations include Juniper (Jflow), 3Com/HP, Dell, and Netgear (s-flow)
Cflow, Huawei (NetStream), Ericsson (NetStream), and Alcatel-Lucent (Rflow)
By highlighting the applications, IP addresses, processes, and protocols, in addition to end users, who consume the most bandwidth, NTA helps administrators gain valuable insights into the behaviour and performance of their networks. This holds true no matter where the flow information originates.