Optimization of the network often starts with removing traffic that doesn’t need to be there. This topic has been a growing concern for several years.  Just ask google.com:

networkVisibilityTrend

Go to: Google on Network Visability

Gaining network visibility into the infrastructure does not have to be difficult or expensive. Often times the existing switches and routers in the infrastructure support either NetFlow or sFlow exports.  Free NetFlow Reporting tools such as Scrutinizer deliver network traffic analysis details on all major network connections.

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Check out the vendors that support NetFlow or sFlow.  Why are so many vendors jumping on board? Because visibility into network traffic allows administrators to keep the pipes running cleaner with fewer build ups.

Best Practices in Network Visibility Include

  • NetFlow or sFlow collection, reporting and archiving.  SNMP is better than nothing for traffic analysis and is still necessary for some metrics.
  • Baselining the network to determine traffic patterns over time.  This must be done per application and be available per host, DSCP (DiffServ) or a combination of parameters including subnets.
  • Routine automated checks for abnormal network traffic patterns such as network scans, DDoS attacks, ICMP issues, unwanted traffic (e.g. facebook, youtube, transport layer protocols such as IGMP, etc.). This falls in line with Network Behavior Analysis and Detection – NBAD.
  • Customizable executive dashboards that allow you to bring in tailored reports specific to the business.  This could include 3rd party applications.

HP buys 3com
Now that HP has purchased 3com and Since HP supports sFlow on the procurve and 3com supports NetStream (NetStream = NetFlow), this makes them a bit like Enterasys. Why? Because, they now have gear that supports both flow technologies. However, Enterasys like Cisco has put NetFlow in hardware on a switch and neither HP or 3com have done this yet. Enterasys put sFlow support on their less expensive switches. NetFlow remains a more expensive technology.  Whatever the gear supports, companies should be collecting it.

Mike Patterson author pic

Michael

Michael is one of the Co-founders and the former product manager for Scrutinizer. He enjoys many outdoor winter sports and often takes videos when he is snowmobiling, ice fishing or sledding with his kids. Cold weather and lots of snow make the best winters as far as he is concerned. Prior to starting Somix and Plixer, Mike worked in technical support at Cabletron Systems, acquired his Novell CNE and then moved to the training department for a few years. While in training he finished his Masters in Computer Information Systems from Southern New Hampshire University and then left technical training to pursue a new skill set in Professional Services. In 1998 he left the 'Tron' to start Somix which later became Plixer.

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