sFlow - Making the Network Visible

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Packet Sampling Theory

History of Packet Sampling

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History of Packet Sampling

Packet sampling has been used to monitor network traffic for over ten years. HP first demonstrated network-wide monitoring using packet sampling at the University of Geneva and CERN at Telecom 91.

This was followed up with the introduction of networking products with embedded packet sampling capability - HP Extended RMON - in 1993.

However, broad acceptance of this technique is only just starting, driven by the introduction of higher speed networks and the transition from shared to switched networks.

Packet Sampling History

Packet based sampling as an embedded network traffic monitoring technique is now compelling.

In a switched environment, the most effective place to monitor traffic is within the switch/router, where all the traffic will be seen. Traditional probes will only have a partial view of traffic.

However, a traffic monitoring solution embedded within a switch/router must not impact switch/router forwarding performance. Switch/routers with embedded sFlow sampling technology have been available since 2001. This solution provides detailed and quantitative traffic measurements, at gigabit speeds, gives insight into forwarding decisions, and does not impact forwarding or network performance.