What is Cisco NetFlow?
Netflow is a protocol developed by Cisco for collecting IP network traffic statistics from routers, switches and other devices that implement this protocol. It is intended to provide network administrators with access to information on the IP flows on their network. The Netflow RFC defines a flow as follows: "A flow is defined as a unidirectional sequence of packets with some common properties that pass through a network device. These collected flows are exported to an external device, the NetFlow collector." NetFlow version 9 is template based and the flow details will depend on the template set, but will most likely include details such as IP addresses, packet and byte counts, timestamps, Type of Service (ToS), application ports, input and output interfaces, etc."
But try to read and understand the raw data and you will quickly understand the value of Distinct's NetFlowTools.
Here is why you should not be without NetFlowTools
NetFlowTools in a nutshell
- In its raw form, a flow is not easy to interpret and that is exactly where NetFlowTools comes in. The NetFlowTools collector takes this flow, parses it and saves the parsed information to a database. The parsed information is then used by the NetFlowTools Analyzer to build meaningful statistics about the traffic traversing the device.
- The parsed data can be used to identify historical trends, measure current and past bandwidth usage, display the IP addresses most active during a selected timeframe, and show top applications and conversations.
- NetFlowTools with its NetFlowTools Analyzer, provides information for your company to improve enterprise and departmental bandwidth accounting, verify ISP billing, monitor and profile users and applications, and better plan for future network capacity requirements.
- NetFlowTools provides real-time information, but it is also capable of long term trending, providing you with priceless information regarding your bandwidth used over time. We do not discard any data collected and you can keep collecting data to a single data base until that database is full. For example, you will be able to see if there is a trend showing network bandwidth peaks at specified times of the day and you are also able to view trends on your network over several months (up to the time period that is covered by the netflow data saved in one database).
What other problems does NetFlowTools solve?
Collecting statistics from your network has several important applications:
- NetFlowTools captures, stores and analyzes the data exported from NetFlow enabled routers and switches and displays the raw or interpreted data in graphical form within a browser based application, the NetFlowTools Analyzer.
- The NetFlow raw data is seen from the perspective of the device that it is going through. The direction may sometimes seem elusive. Therefore, NetFlowTools includes an Organization Observation point to provide a more intuitive view of the actual direction of traffic. It is able to differentiate the traffic that is entering the network from that which is just traversing subnets or routers within the same organization.
Simply put, by analyzing the NetFlow data, NetFlowTools give you the ability to implement continuous bandwidth monitoring. It will even send you an alarm via email when your predefined thresholds have been reached allowing you to take immediate action to avoid serious network issues.
Using the trending analysis web interface you will get the big picture of the times of day where bandwidth usage has either already become an issue or is close to becoming an issue. You can drill down into that data to the nearest second, to find out which applications and which systems have caused what may seem to be excessive traffic. When bandwidth usage reaches critical levels, drilling through the statistics will provide you with information to make decisions together with the relevant managers as to whether certain operations need to be shifted to a different time of day, eliminated altogether or whether the company needs to purchase more bandwidth. In a nutshell, NetFlowTools offers you an extremely affordable way to monitor the network on a daily basis.
- Accounting/billing for bandwidth use
- Network planning and analysis: gather information for strategic and tactical network engineering decisions.
- Network traffic monitoring, for example to detect viruses or network attacks.
- Application and system traffic monitoring
- Network traffic data warehousing for marketing or research purposes
- Long term trending
- Alert system that is triggered when certain bandwidth thresholds have been reached. This gives you time to fix issues before they bring your network to a standstill.
So don’t delay, request a trial today by clicking on one of the links below: