Network performance monitoring is the process of visualizing, monitoring, optimizing, troubleshooting and reporting on the service quality of your network as experienced by your users. Network Performance Monitoring (NPM) tools can utilize different types of telemetry:
Device metrics, such as SNMP, WMI, etc.
Network flow data, such as NetFlow, jFlow, IPFIX, etc.
Packet data. Everything you do on a network requires packets; it carries data around.
How does Network Performance Monitoring work?
Network Performance Monitoring solutions traditionally collected data from a variety of sources: SNMP, flow data, and packets. Each provides a different perspective on the problem that when combined, provides the complete picture. Network Performance Monitoring appliances may be used on premises, in the cloud, or both for maximum visibility.
Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) is used to manage and monitor network devices and their functions. One of the most widely used protocols, SNMP is supported on an extensive range of hardware—from routers, switches to endpoints like printers, scanners, and internet of things (IoT) devices. Using SNMP, network management tools can identify devices, monitor network performance, keep track of changes to the network, or determine the status of network devices in real time.
Flow data is generated by network devices, such as routers, switches, and other devices. Like a phone bill that tells you who you spoke to, how long you talked, how often, etc, Flow data provides similar information. We know who communicates with whom, when, how much data, how long, how often, etc.; but we do not know what the subject of the conversation was.
Benefits of Using NetFlow Technology for Monitoring Network Traffic
Monitoring and analyzing flow data helps obtain valuable information about network users, peak usage times, and traffic patterns. In contrast with SNMP data, flow-based network monitoring can understand the traffic patterns, provide a holistic view for monitoring network bandwidth utilization and WAN traffic, support QoS validation and performance monitoring, and be used for network troubleshooting.
Packet Capture is the term for copying a data packet that is crossing a specific point in a network. The packet is captured in real-time and stored for a period of time so that it can be analyzed. Packets help diagnose and solve network problems such as:
Monitoring health and performance of networks and networked applications
Troubleshooting network and networked application service problems
Network capacity planning and management
Cloud application assessments and migration planning
Security monitoring and incident response
Full Packet Capture
There is a saying at Riverbed that “Packets don’t lie.” A packet consists of two things: the payload and a header. The payload is the actual contents – a voice call, an email message, etc. While the header contains metadata, including the packet's source and destination address. Entire packets or specific portions of a packet can be captured and retained.
The Riverbed Solution
Riverbed SteelCentral offers SNMP polling, flow, and full packet capture solutions. These solutions are tightly integrated together so that you more quickly troubleshoot complex performance issues. They also integrate into the SteelCentral Portal that combines end-user experience management (EUEM), application (APM) and network performance into a single, easy to use, collaborative solution.
By blending APM, EUEM, and NPM data from industry-leading tools, Riverbed creates a dynamic map of network and application performance. Different business and IT teams are able to get a complete picture of the environment. Instead of wasting valuable time and resources, you can rapidly diagnose and fix service issues before end-users notice.