NetFlow v5 gave us great insight into network traffic, then NetFlow v9 gave us more, then Flexible NetFlow was more, well, flexible, and, now I ask, “How does IPFIX vs NetFlow compare?”

Why am I talking about IPFIX?

Well, if your network is not all Cisco, but you still want enterprise NetFlow analysis for your network monitoring, then you need to be able to get that information.

For example, here are a few of the vendors that currently provide IPFIX support:

  • Juniper
  • Nortel
  • SonicWALL
  • Extreme
  • NTOP
  • Plixer

Hmmm… Firewalls, switches, software.  That’s quite a  varied assortment of information to send to an IPFIX collector.


Benefits of IPFIX exports 

  • Vendors can custom define fields to be exported, great for a wide variety of exporting hardware and software
  • Variable-length fields, compared to a high volume NetFlow exporter it means much less data traveling across your network
  • More new vendors jumping onboard the IPFIX download wagon
  • Not specific to any single vendor


Need more?  Take a look at the following two images comparing  NetFlow vs. IPFIX:

NetFlow exports:

Cisco Flexible NetFlow exports

And SonicWALL exports (no ip route-cache flow here!)

IPFIX flow templates

Wow! SonicWALL really overwhelms us with information!

So what do you collect with your network monitoring solution – IPFIX or NetFlow? or both?


Joanne Ghidoni author pic

Joanne Ghidoni

Joanne is a Software Quality Assurance Engineer at Plixer. She has also held positions as Technical Support Engineer and Sales Engineer since joining Plixer in 2005. Prior to joining Plixer, Joanne has had numerous positions in the IT field, including data entry, computer operator, PC coordinator and support, mainframe programmer, and also Technical Support and web programmer at Cabletron Systems. In her spare time, Joanne enjoys traveling, always seeking out new and interesting places to visit.


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