The modern internet is filled with numerous users and hosts from around the world. To collect information regarding who is coming in or out in a network, NetFlow and its accompanying NetFlow Analyzer tool arrive as particular features to perform this operation. Introduced in 1996, NetFlow is a feature introduced on Cisco routers to provide the ability for administrators to monitor traffic flows. As such, this tool is designed precisely to gather metadata in IP networks. The metadata is important for administrators to handle potential emergencies such as traffic lag in a network interface and loss of data packet. NetFlow Analyzer also helps you in determining the origins and destinations of certain IP addresses. 

Commonly, major companies utilize NetFlow Analyzer tool as one of the essential components of their IT infrastructures. As major companies use the internet on a massive scale for daily operations, it is important for their IT division to perform important network monitoring task. With this tool, companies can decide the best organizational decisions for their interests and monitor their network security. Because security concerns are an increasingly important matter for major companies, it is imperative for companies to have a NetFlow Analyzer of their own personal choice. 

In performing its task, NetFlow Analyzer consists of three main components, such as: 

  • Flow exporter 

This component is purposed to export data packets from the flow monitor to one or more flow collectors. 

  • Flow collector 

Once flow exporter flows data packets into flow collectors, a flow collector will collect and analyze data packets for further analysis. 

  • Analysis application 

Upon receipt, exported data packets will undergo assessment in the analysis application. In this part, important information such as network disturbances and intrusion detection can be immediately detected. 

NetFlow Analyzer helps users in identifying which users and applications that use the highest number of bandwidth in the overall IT infrastructure. Several aspects such as traffic routing, times of day, and network processes are some of the most visible aspects of a network’s current usage. Because of its capability, more and more institutions rely on NetFlow Analyzerto gather information regarding their internal networks. Using a single Analyzer tool instead of several tools makes it cheaper in terms of cost for institutions to fulfill their operations. As a result, the decreased cost can be used for other priorities, such as IT infrastructure maintenance. 

A handful of challenges are some of the most common problems the network administrators can encounter. Challenges that can be solved with an Analyzer tool consists of: 

  • Monitoring network traffic 
  • Detecting problematic intrusions 
  • Troubleshooting network problems 
  • Detecting potential DDoS and similar disturbance  

Currently, there are numerous examples of NetFlow Analyzer tools from both Cisco and other developers. As of now, Cisco remains a household name of NetFlow tool developer due to Cisco’s history of NetFlow’s development in the 1990s. Other developers such as Juniper Networks, Huawei Technologies, Nokia and Ericsson are notable developers of the network flow monitoring technology apart from Cisco. Most of these developers utilize the v5 version (the most commonly used version of NetFlow in the current market) of NetFlow as their main version of NetFlow Analyzer tools. The v5 version allows availability of access on many routers from different brands, which allows practicality for users in current years. 

In the end, major companies should use the best Analyzer tools to ensure a lack of hindrance during important activities. As even non-malicious activities may pose an error to the whole network, it is best for these companies to prevent possible errors before it is too late. With a NetFlow Analyzer tool, companies can take important and strategic decisions based on the information they collected from the tool. 

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Published date :

01 February 2021