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The network has become a mission-critical component for today's organizations. It is responsible for far more than just enabling the applications that drive business operations. Today's network infrastructures are extensions of business operations that must adapt to rapid growth, data-intensive applications, security threats, and new technologies that extend the edge of the network.

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Complete network management has always been a goal for network managers in companies of all sizes. Trying to understand all of the possible traffic flows, bandwidth requirements, performance implications, security threats, and billing allocations are just a few of the challenges that network managers face. As networks grow in size, speed, and capacity, they are getting much more difficult to monitor and manage with traditional tools that rely on RMON or NetFlow-based counters and statistics.

sFlow diagram

sFlow is a modern standard-based network export protocol (RFC 3176) that addresses many of the challenges that network managers face today. By embedding sFlow technology into network router and switch ASICs, Brocade delivers an "always-on" technology that operates with wire-speed performance. Cost of implementation is driven down dramatically compared to traditional network monitoring solutions using mirrored ports, probes, and line tap technologies. A full enterprise-wide monitoring capability for every port in the corporate network is now possible using sFlow.

Advantages of Brocade sFlow implementation include:

  • ASIC-based for fast, low-overhead monitoring
  • Reduces the need to use port mirroring and to provision probes throughout the network (this reduces cost and complexity while maintaining high performance)
  • Supports a broad range of protocols (IPv4, IPv6, MPLS, IPX, Appletalk, and more)
  • Can be integrated with a broad range of network management and threat detection applications
  • IronView Network Management software supports sFlow collector and traffic reporting capabilities for full network visibility
  • Works with InMon Traffic Server to provide continuous monitoring and analysis of network traffic.

sFlow Resources

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Although both sFlow and NetFlow enjoy widespread industry adoption, sFlow is the better technology for traffic monitoring.