The “do it yourself” (or DIY) mentality isn’t new to our industry. From hardware to software, people have been grappling with the buy vs. build dilemma for years. However, as enterprises and service providers put their 2018 tech budgets into action, we’re here to point out one DIY networking trend where the fine print is worth reading: Open source network flow analyzers. Traditional network monitoring appliances and network flow analyzer software were built with one primary purpose: to diagnose network issues. Legacy vendors behind those products put less attention on developing proactive and actionable insight. To do the latter, they would need analyzer software to process network data, in real-time, from many different sources across the network, including: sensors, routers, switches, and hosts, and complement that with BGP, SNMP, GeoIP, and threat data. But to offer that at scale, isn’t easy or cheap. With the limitations and expense of using legacy solutions, DIY is tempting. Some network teams have decided to develop their own custom analyzer software for network monitoring. And why wouldn’t they? It’s much more doable now than ever with open source building blocks readily available.
The biggest challenge in DIY tech typically involves finding the best option to start from among a myriad of options available on the open source market. For DIY NetFlow analyzer projects, that boils down to identifying an open source big data backend for NetFlow data analysis that meets the most critical big data requirements:
Hadoop, ELK, and Google’s BigQuery are among the short list of options that meet some of those requirements for DIY projects. But in looking closely at each:
The DIY tools approach promises to address network analyzer functions at a lower cost than commercial vendor offerings. However, staffing an in-house deployment results in up-front investments and continuing, long-term resource allocations that can skew long-term total cost of ownership (TCO) higher. When estimating a DIY project in the feasibility stage, key costs often underestimated come from:
While building an in-house, custom, DIY network analyzer may seem like the right approach. Careful consideration needs to be given to the pros and the cons of this approach. It can have hidden costs that are not obvious at the outset.
Based on the big data requirements and cost alone, if you’re planning to tackle a DIY project in the year ahead, you and your network team need to consider another model. One that delivers on the original drive for DIY projects – lower costs and faster time-to-use. The best DIY alternative is a cloud-based SaaS model for implementing network analytics. SaaS-based network analytics has many benefits, including that the approach can:
Kentik is the first to take on ultra-high-volume NetFlow monitoring using a highly cost-effective SaaS approach at massive scale with near real-time results. Kentik SaaS-based customers are getting immediate results for lower costs when they start using the service, and Kentik’s operations team is always there to ensure the health and success of each managed environment. In order to meet these NetFlow big data backend requirements, the Kentik Detect® platform leverages the following key elements, all of which are critical to a successful SaaS implementation:
This environment delivers on planned (but often not met) DIY objectives by including a robust set of open REST and SQL APIs. This enables internal tool development teams to integrate with the Kentik SaaS environment to address their specific operational needs. These use cases include:
Using any of the standard big data open source distributions can lead to partial success for DIY projects, but only with a large investment of time and money for DIY. Either way, network analytics is no longer optional for network operators since the insights learned from network intelligence can translate directly into operational and business value. To move past DIY and learn how to harness the power of Kentik Detect for a truly effective real-time NetFlow analyzer, request a demo or sign up for a free trial today.