Network Performance Monitoring tools and software have traditionally used PCAP appliance probes with one or more interfaces that connect to router or switch span ports or to an intervening packet broker device, such as those offered by Gigamon. The probe records into memory — and ultimately into longer-term storage — all packets passing across the interface. In virtualized data centers, virtual probes may be used, but they are also dependent on network links in one form or another.
NetFlow data enables extensive, near real-time network monitoring capabilities. Flow-based analysis techniques are utilized to visualize traffic patterns associated with individual routers and switches as well as on a network-wide basis (providing aggregate traffic or application based views) to provide proactive problem detection, efficient troubleshooting, and rapid problem resolution. For Network Performance Monitoring (NPM) use cases, Kentik augments Kentik Detect NetFlow visibility with Kentik kprobe agent software measurements. Kentik kprobe inspects packets, creates augmented flow records, and sends them to Kentik Detect for continuous analytics processing in parallel with other flow data sources in the environment.
This Kentik NPM solution enables network operators to easily pivot between traffic volumetrics and performance analysis to better diagnose issues and fix the root causes. This is facilitated by measurement of key NPM metrics:
Kentik NPM lets you see when users’ experience is suffering due to network or application performance issues, and helps you rapidly diagnose the root causes. Top use cases include:
A cloud-friendly and highly scalable model for Network Performance Monitoring combines the deployment of lightweight host-based monitoring Kentik kprobe agents that export PCAP-based statistics gathered on servers and open source proxy servers such as HAProxy and NGNIX. Exported statistics are sent to Kentik’s SaaS big data repository that scales horizontally to store unsummarized data. While a host-based performance metric export doesn’t provide the full granularity of raw PCAP, it provides a highly scalable and cost-effective method for ubiquitously gathering, retaining and analyzing key network performance data.