Having details on all traffic in and out of important servers on the network can prove very valuable when troubleshooting.  We made a decision awhile ago to put a NetFlow agent on all of our servers.  It was done for a couple of reasons:

  1. We had a NetFlow capable switch and wanted to compare the switches NetFlow data to the NetFlow agents we had installed on our servers.   We figured they should be exactly the same.
  2. We wanted to know all the juicy details regarding who the server was connecting to the most, data volumes, QoS, etc.    This is the most important bullet to us.

Our CRM is being updated by at least 2 dozen people with well over one thousand entries each day.   When someone complains about performance, we quickly check the network and if all is clear, we start investigating the servers.   Using NetFlow reports run against specific application servers, we check:

  • the volume of active connections
  • the byte volume per host connecting
  • the unique applications it is participating in
  • the traffic patterns compared to the prior hour or day

Today, ESX Servers running VMWare are becoming increasing popular. This is because the technology usually reduces the amount of hardware in the racks and often results in less labor to maintain.  Did you know they support NetFlow?  http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vi3_35_25_netflow.pdf

If you have trouble setting it up, give us a call.

Mike Patterson author pic


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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