In Part 5 of the NetFlow v9 overview series, I will be talking about NetFlow v9 Options Templates, following up on Scott’s installment, part 4, which addressed what a NetFlow Data Flowset is.

What is an Options template?

It is a special type of template record used to communicate the format of data related to the NetFlow process.

Combine the Options template with an Options data record to provide information about the NetFlow process itself.  For example, the options template can contain applications tables with application tags, names and descriptions; or interface index tables to provide interface descriptions via NetFlow.

Options Template format

NetFlow Options Template

 Options Template Field descriptions

 [table id=11 /]

ExampleOptions Template and Options Data Record

NetFlow Options Data Record and Options Template

 So, what does this do for me?

In the following example, we can see the application tag for skype = Type: 13 ID 83, with an application description of Skype Peer-to-Peer Internet Telephony Protocol.  Then, in the NBAR Applications NetFlow report insert, you see how we can perform traffic analysis based on Applications, given the application definitions from the options template.

Cisco NBAR Options template

Digressing just a bit from options templates, other vendors, such as Dell SonicWALL and Palo Alto Networks also provide Application Aware NetFlow via IPFIX.

Can we help you improve your network traffic management process?  Want some help configuring options templates on your routers?  Work with us and we can also show you how NetFlow can help you maintain network security.

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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