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HP MSM Wireless sFlow Configuration

Did you know that HP MSM Wireless Controllers and Access Points support sFlow? These flow exports provide network administrators an additional network visibility point and greater insight into the wireless traffic taking place on the network.

Efficient traffic management requires usable and relevant information from all points on the network. Collecting sFlow from your HP MSM wireless controllers and access points provide additional network observation points, and an efficient means to identify inappropriate behavior, problems, and discrepancies. In addition, the ability to drill down to particular traffic specifics make security forensics and incident response using flows an invaluable tool for charting the health of your network.

Think about how this additional network visibility would help.

Imagine a user downloads or uploads a huge amount of traffic over the wireless network, thereby adversely affecting the performance of other users. If that user happens to upload/download non-business-critical data while other users are trying to access business-critical applications, their productivity will be lost. Using flow exports, the network administrator can see exactly who and how much data is being transferred.

Cisco provides great application visibility using NetFlow on their Wireless Lan Controllers because they leveraged their Application Visibility and Control (AVC) function to identify layer7 applications by name. Application Visibility and Control also plays a primary role in prioritizing the enterprise’s business-critical applications over the non-business-critical applications, by recognizing and controlling the applications that are accessed over the wireless network.

While collecting sFlow exports from HP wireless controllers and access points isn’t going to provide the same information that Cisco’s AVC exports do, it does provide network visibility in places that did not have it before.

How does sFlow work on the HP MSM Wireless devices, and how do we get it configured?

In the case of the HP MSM controller and its controlled access points, the sFlow monitoring system operates in a slightly different manner. Instead of each AP sending information directly to a collector, the APs send their information to the controller, which acts as an sFlow proxy. The controller then forwards the information to one or more collectors.

The collectors are not aware of the APs, as all sFlow information is repackaged by the controller to indicate that it is the source device. Essentially, the interfaces on the APs appear as interfaces on the controller.

All sFlow configuration occurs via the controller management tool by selecting Controller >> Tools> sFlow.

You will see a status indicator of Enabled or Disabled. In either case you will need to go to Advanced Configuration to set up the collector(s).

HP MSM - Activating sFlow

From the Collectors window, click on a name field which will bring up another window where you specify the collector profile, IP address,
timeout (never) and port. Then save the profile and press Done to exit back to sFlow settings page. You should now see global settings enabled.

HP MSM - sFlow Collector Profile

Next we select Default Group under Controlled APs from the Network tree on the left to enable sFlow on the access points.

Select a controlled access point name from the list, then go to >tools>sFlow tabs.

For each wireless port you will be able to click on an instance to apply a collector and set up the polling and sample rate.

HP MSM - Instance sFlow Configuration

Once this step is complete, just press done to get back to the sFlow Settings window, and then save.

That’s it!

In today’s networks the rise in the use of the smartphone and tablet devices has been growing. With this, some network admin somewhere will be tasked with managing that traffic.

Do you need better network traffic visibility on your wireless controllers and access points? Call us and we can help you with your HP MSM sFlow configuration.