sFlow - Making the Network Visible

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About sFlow

With the ever-increasing reliance on network services for business critical applications, the smallest change in network usage can impact network performance and reliability. This has a direct impact on the ability to conduct key business functions and on the cost of maintaining network services.

By providing unprecedented visibility into network usage and active routes of even today's high-speed and complex networks, sFlow provides the data required to effectively control and manage network usage, ensuring that network services provide a competitive advantage.

Examples of the applications of sFlow data are:

  • Detecting, diagnosing, and fixing network problems
  • Real-time congestion management
  • Understanding application mix (eg P2P, Web, DNS etc) and changes
  • Usage accounting for billing and charge-back
  • Audit trail analysis to identify unauthorized network activity and trace the sources of denial-of-service attacks
  • Route profiling and peering optimization
  • Trending and capacity planning.

sFlow is a sampling technology that meets the key requirements for a network traffic monitoring solution:

  • sFlow is an industry standard with interoperable implementations provided by a wide range of network equipment and software application vendors.
  • sFlow provides a network-wide view of usage and active routes. It is a scalable technique for measuring network traffic, collecting, storing, and analyzing traffic data. This enables tens of thousands of interfaces to be monitored from a single location.
  • sFlow is scalable, enabling it to monitor links of speeds up to 10Gb/s and beyond without impacting the performance of core internet routers and switches, and without adding significant network load.
  • sFlow is a low cost solution. It has been implemented on a wide range of devices, from simple L2 workgroup switches to high-end core routers, without requiring additional memory and CPU.

As an embedded technology providing probe-like functionality for every interface, sFlow enabled switches and routers future-proof the network infrastructure.This built-in capability makes many applications possible that otherwise would not be practical because of the prohibitive expense of external probes

Traffic Monitoring using sFlow gives an overview of sFlow. Complete details of sFlow can be found in the sFlow specifications.