Netflow Monitoring Analysis

NetworkConsultant.NET provides Netflow Monitoring Analysis services for enterprise organizations interested in out sourcing their netflow data to a cloud provider. Our netflow monitoring exporting managed services focus on organizations who are interested in outsourcing collection of their netflow data in the cloud. We can help ISP companies, and enterprise organizations or private MPLS backbone providers build custom netflow cloud solution where companies do not have to worry about building robust netflow solution in house and can simply rely on our managed netflow services to collect netflow data from all of your aggregate sites. Our Netflow monitoring managed services help ISP companies and private ISPs add additional level of service on top of their existing ISP services that they offer to their customers and increase revenue.

Our IT Netflow monitoring exporting managed services are tailored towards companies who are interested in simply getting their netflow data exported and not worry about maintaining the cloud netflow based infrastructure. This service is tailored especially for larger organizations who may already have existing network monitoring tools, but simply do not have enough powerful infrastructure to handle netflow data from routers and switches or any other devices and are looking to supplement their existing monitoring tool with additional level of service which would allow them to still continue using the tools that they are already using, in addition to being able to log into remote web UI console from their location into a cloud hosted netflow solution.

Our netflow managed services solutions include robust management of entire netflow cloud infrastructure. We ensure that netflow reporting for remote and central offices is present and netflow data is not lost. We manage our netflow custom exporting data solution by having dedicated monitoring tools that monitor health state of entire cloud netflow infrastructure, and rely on additional monitoring components, fully integrated into ticketing system specifically dedicated for each company. We provide our customers with capability to log into our cloud based netflow infrastructure and obtain netflow reports then simply print them or save it in .PDF format or email them to the company on weekly, monthly basis at which point company can send out these reports to their branch customers.

Our managed netflow service can be build on hosted model at customer premises or non hosted model, or hybrid cloud model with partial infrastructure at customer premises and partial infrastructure in the cloud. We also realize that netflow data is CPU intensive and needs special attention when it comes to aggregating from the right location, which is why we provide additional level of netflow exporting assessment service suitable to companies who are not sure of where to export their netflow data from and need assistance in helping them with placement of netflow aggregator exporters in the form of TAPs, simulated netflow exporters based on SPAN redirection or in the form of physical aggregate device exporters.

Netflow Exporting Assessment: analyze company’s netflow infrastructure capabilities, interview IT resources, identify scalability, obtain relevant quotes, identify statement of work and type of netflow service needed.

Prepare Robust Cloud Hosted Netflow Design” Propose and Agree on the netflow architectural design with the customer. Simulate netflow design architecture. Test and verify infrastructure components.

Implement robust cloud hosted netflow design, implement connectivity between aggregate customer sites, and the cloud.

Manage cloud hosted netflow infrastructure including company’s transit VPN routers, add new netflow filters, create groups per specific branch site or department, perform database normalization, monitor cloud hosted infrastructure, tweak access to Web-UI Netflow reporting tools for company’s access”

What is included in Netflow Exporting Assessment Service?

As part of netflow exporting assessment service, companies get a dedicated project manager and netflow network consultant who will perform the following. The purpose of this service is to understand companies netflow cloud hosted solution readiness.

  1. Interview existing IT engineering staff to understand overall topology from eagle eye view perspective, identify constraints that we have to work with prior to deploying cloud hosted netflow exporting solution.
  2. Finalize statement of work between company and NetworkConsultant.NET.
  3. Conduct netflow specific network survey to identify optimal placement for netflow exporters.
  4. Identify capability of existing exporters and whether or not they can export data out or if there is any associated risks with hardware limitation.
  5. Recommend any additional ways of exporting data if existing infrastructure at customer premises is not sufficient.
  6. Gathering quotes from multiple netflow vendor providers, gathering quotes from multiple cloud hosted providers and identifying capabilities of each netflow vendor.
  7. Scheduling conference calls between different netflow vendors.
  8. Performing Basic Demo to see if solution fits within companies requirements.
  9. Verifying limitations of physical server platforms, to see if collector platforms can handle netflow export from customer premises for the number of flows.
  10. Identify netflow scalability options for increasing number of remote offices for data collection.
  11. Verify redundancy capabilities of every single component that exists within cloud hosted solution and describe their risk.
  12. Agree on formating of the netflow reports needed, this is important without it we can’t move on to cloud building solution.

Once we perform Netflow Exporting Assessment Service and all of our questions are answered we move on to the next stage which is designing cloud hosted netflow solution tailored towards companies goals. The cloud hosted netflow solution is strictly based on netflow exporting assessment and will govern how solution should be designed, simulated, implemented and deployed.

What is included in Building Cloud Hosted Netflow Solution?

In many cases if companies simply looking for a cloud hosted netflow solution managed by the company’s internal IT department, and do not want to outsource management of it to anyone else, then we can still this cloud hosted netflow solution for such companies. Since there are 3 types of major needs when it comes to building cloud hosted netflow solution, we offer it as either built for the customer and managed by the customer type (type 1 solution owned and managed by customer) of solution or built for the customer, but managed by NetworkConsultant.NET (managed netflow service model by NetworkConsultant.NET). The 3rd type of netflow cloud hosted solution service that we build is for companies who are managing their customers network and have MPLS backbone or any other type of backbone passing intranet and internet traffic, but need to provide access to netflow data to their remote site customers directly through the WEB-UI portal from customer premises by the customer (perfect model for managed service providers). Dependent on the type of solution type needed, here is what the customer will get as part of the cloud hosted netflow solution.

  1. Proposal of netflow cloud hosted architectural design solution based on Netflow Exporting Assessment to the customer, describe risk factors and include risk factors in managed service level agreement prior to continuing with the next stage, based on agreement from the customer move on to the next stage.
  2. Simulation of Netflow Cloud hosted design.
  3. Implementation of Virtualized/Physical netflow architecture at PROD and DR data centers fully capable of accepting thousands of flows per second. (applicable for type 1, 2 and 3 types of deployment)
  4. Implementation of Email capability.
  5. Physical network infrastructure collocation specifically to handle cloud hosted netflow solution solution, including but not limited to network switches, routers, load balancers, firewalls, servers dependent on netflow exporting assessment service. (applicable for type 1, 2 and 3)
  6. Help Desk Ticketing System Integrated with the monitoring of entire cloud hosted netflow solution infrastructure and it’s individual on site aggregate components. (applicable for type 2 and 3 type of deployment)
  7. Read/Only Access to monitoring system that monitors health state of entire cloud hosted netflow solution by SNMP, and traceroute. (applicable for type 2 and 3 type of deployment)
  8. Read/Write Access to netflow reporting WEB UI from companies premises, allowing companies to create custom reports based on predefined filters. (applicable for all)
  9. Level of complexity for netflow exporting design depends on customer constraint factors, for some customers we may include extra redundancy in the solution, for others will not, but define restrictions in Service Level Agreement, depends on what type of cloud hosted netflow solution they are looking for.

Netflow Exporting Solution is not a solution without full network connectivity from companies premises to cloud hosted netflow infrastructure designed in a fully redundant fashion. Which is why we offer DMVPN IT network consulting services tailored specifically for customers interested in ensuring that they have robust connectivity to netflow cloud hosted infrastructure regardless if there is ISP failure or not. Our robust DMVPN design solutions have been fully tested and already working with other customers that we manage. To ensure that the netflow data gets to the cloud hosted solution from the aggregate netflow collectors in a redundant fashion it’s important to have the connectivity DMVPN design properly done.

What is included in DMVPN Design for Netflow Cloud Hosted solution?

As part of the DMVPN network design solution, our IT consultants perform the following.

  1. Prepare robust scalable DMVPN design based on the initial Netflow Exporting Assessment service.
  2. Simulate design in the lab.
  3. Verify connectivity to netflow collectors.
  4. Simulate connectivity failure and verify that the netflow still flows to collectors at PROD or DR, dependent on design chosen.
  5. Create virtual route forwarders for every aggregate netflow site.
  6. Leverage multiple ISPs for every VRF.
  7. Secure connectivity using encryption in the DMVPN backbone.
  8. Configure SNMP, and basic connectivity parameters of the routers.
  9. Configure inbound security to allow connections only from transit customer DMVPN routers.
  10. Create virtual interfaces for external and internal connectivity.
  11. Create tunnel interfaces and interconnect tunnel interfaces to Virtual Router Forwarders, roll out routing protocol in between route forwarders and customer transit sites.

DMVPN building of the infrastructure to allow redundant communication across multiple ISPs is only part of the service that we offer, other dark gray areas such as inter-connecting virtualized or physical netflow hosted infrastructure to local area network in the cloud, and ensuring that the IP allocation and IP connectivity from the cloud hosted provider is provided to NetworkConsultant.NET verified, tested and documented is all part of cloud hosted netflow building solution. These dark gray areas we do not forget about but we also do not want to overwhelm the customer with the number of variables we are dealing with when rolling out such solution.

What about actual NetworkConsultant.NET Managed Netflow Services what does it include?

As part of the netflow managed services companies who sign the contract with NetworkConsultant.NET will benefit from the following items.

  1. Not having to worry about whether flows are coming into netflow collectors or not.
  2. Not having to worry about contacting ISPs at the cloud hosted provided for any type of connectivity issues.
  3. Not having to worry about contacting local ISPs unless issues is of extremely high severity where customer local on site presence is needed.
  4. Not having to worry about netflow monitoring analysis portion for each site and outsource entire netflow monitoring analysis to NetworkConsultant.NET to create custom based site filters for each site, add additional sites for netflow.
  5. Not having to worry about any infrastructure components such as transit routers, load balancers, collectors, replicators, switches, reporters or even ISPs going down (unless of course compan only runs single ISP from aggregate site).
  6. Not having to worry about maintaining SQL database for the number of flows
  7. Not having to worry about doing backup on their netflow data.
  8. Not having to worry about rectifying any missing netflow data from the reports, unless of course issue is proven to be not related to cloud hosted solution, but related to the issue with customer spoke sites to aggregate sites connectivity.
  9. Being able to log into prod/dr WEB-UI portal to receive netflow data reports.
  10. Not having to worry about dealing with cloud hosted netflow solution vendors and cloud hosted ISP providers.
  11. Not having to worry about keeping track of disk capacity space limitations of the solution.
  12. Not having to worry about keeping track of DMVPN connectivity to the cloud and from the cloud.
  13. Not having to worry about archiving data for 1 week, 1 month reporting.
  14. Not having to worry about monitoring each and every component of infrastructure leveraging multiple levels of monitoring, specifically tweaked towards your company’s environment to identify failures.
  15. Not having to worry about not knowing something critical related to netflow cloud hosted infrastructure is happening and then when customer asks for netflow data not being able to provide it.
  16. Being able to create a ticket with managed service provider i.e NetworkConsultant.NET through the WEB UI console to additional site or assist in obtaining reports for specific site, or additional filters (as long as the designed solution satisfies netflow system capabilities based on the Netflow Exporting Service Assessment),
  17. Being able to prior to creating a ticket if the issue can be resolved through the self fix knowledge portal link.
  18. Not having to worry about getting stuck on netflow monitoring analysis for a specific site and if something is missing in netflow data for specific site, request assistance from netflow network consultant to see what the issue maybe (netflow network consultant is allocated to each managed company, based on allocated number of hours for company’s netflow managed services).
  19. Not having to worry about gaps in netflow data, and still being able to use internal company’s existing network monitoring solutions to analyze network monitoring aspect of entire network infrastructure while having secure access in the cloud specifically for obtaining netflow reports.
  20. Being able to outsource entire head ache of netflow management to NetworkConsultant.NET and stay stress free from multiple variables that can effect the level of operations.
  21. Being able to leverage Netflow Network Consultant dedicated specifically for the customer to analyze remote site capability for exporting netflow data
  22. Being able to obtain escalation netflow network consultant engineer in the event of primary engineer not being available. (based on service level agreement)
  23. Being able to receive email reports for weekly, monthly netflow data for specific groups, remote offices. (based on service level agreement)
  24. Not having to worry about failing over to DR site, in the event of manual connectivity overrides possibility and let out Netflow Network Consultants handle it.
  25. Not having to worry about documenting every single component of the infrastructure, and outsource all the documentation of all the contracts for ISPs in the cloud, netflow vendors, Hosting Providers, customer local ISP to NetworkConsultant.NET and ensure that renewal of the contracts gets managed by NetworkConsultant.NET.
  26. Not having to worry about upgrading cloud hosted or customer transit router infrastructure, including IOS, software, hardware.
  27. Not having to worry about invalid change control structure procedures, and have our Netflow Network Consultants follow managed service provider change control structure fully integrated with the monitoring system, allowing for escalation by email and approval requests by the customer prior to doing something critical.
  28. Not having to worry about project managing entire cloud hosted solution management and always having access to NetworkConsultant.NET project manager and sales account rep to discuss any additional levels of services.

What about actual Netflow Monitoring Analysis?

NetworkConsultant.NET defines netflow monitoring analysis as being able to analyze netflow data originated from exporters and make certain decisions about such netflow data. Typical use of netflow monitoring analysis gets done due to customers having some sort of connectivity issues and simply trying to identify root cause of network slowness. We can help companies responsible for multiple branch sites collect netflow data which can be presented to the end customer as evidence of potential network slowness.

So the question is can NetworkConsultant.NET do the actual netflow analysis of each branch site, then get back to the company’s IT department who purchased netflow solution in the cloud service and tell them what they think the issue maybe based on looking on the netflow data? The answer is it depends. It depends on whether or not has full visiblity of the customer’s infrastructure, in majority of the cases companies do not want managed service provider to manage entire network infrastructure and in many cases rely on their own internal IT Departments and their own tools, but simply want to outsource their netflow data.

To provide such netflow analysis about the actual site in many cases it’s needed additional level of monitoring and not just netflow monitoring but network monitoring analysis, which means expanding netflow monitoring service to network monitoring service, and therefore expanding connectivity from every branch site to the cloud or requiring distributed level of netflow collectors essentially converting the cloud netflow hosted model into hybrid cloud hosted model with partially hosted devices on site, unless companies are willing to extend their existing company’s hub and spoke infrastructure connectivity with the cloud hosted DMVPN netflow solution.

Therefore when selecting on which service to go with, it’s important to understand customer requirements, if customers want us to assist in netflow monitoring analysis specifically to understand such slowness issues, then NetworkConsultant.NET can allocate specific netflow network consultant dedicated to such company to provide educated guess on what the issue maybe based on the netflow data seen, and provide suggestion to what the issue maybe. However if anything outside of what we currently managed needed to be accessed in order to figure out what the slowness issues is such as customer monitoring tools for example, then this is not included as part of the managed netflow monitoring analysis, and is totally separated level of service, which if needed can be agreed with NetworkConsultant.NET based on service level agreement. Essentially if such collaboration between IT department and our managed providing cloud hosted model is needed, the person who is doing analysis must understand not only cloud hosted infrastructure side of the solution but the customer tools site, unless we roll out both netflow monitoring and network monitoring solution all in the cloud and effectively offer hybrid cloud managed service.

What does NetworkConsultant.NET does not offer with managed netflow services?

We all know that IT infrastructure can get complex, certain things are possible certain things are not. If there is anything that customers want is ability to have flexibility, with the netflow managed service solution we provide strictly defined tasks of what we can do and what we can not do, there are maybe gray area within the process of building netflow solution in the cloud and may involve 3rd party cooperation to ensure design is properly accommodated.

However, if there are any additional requirements that are outside of the netflow limitation capabilities, that were not discussed during the netflow exporting assessment process and simply beyond capabilities of the system, then we can not commit to do something that is outside of the overall statement of work and service level agreement. We do not advertise something that we can not deliver, but we want to protect ourselves from possible limitations that may come into play during the cloud netflow building process.

So which service model is best for my organization?

As discussed on this page there are multiple variations, depend on the scale of the company, and company’s needs. Why not contact us to discuss your requirements from the phone number above so we can get on the same track and conduct netflow exporting analysis and then we can recommend netflow cloud hosted solution that is suitable for your organization. In many cases companies do not even need cloud hosted solution and simply need netflow monitoring solution in house, if that is the case, we can help companies roll out such netflow solution in house and not only netflow solution but any other components of netflow monitoring solution, contact the number above on top right corner for pricing.

How much is the managed netflow cloud hosted service solution?

Pricing is on monthly basis, depends on the number of flows generated, number of hosts, number of interfaces, number of responsibilities, number of IT resources, number of total managed hours, escalation of service requirements, processing power of infrastructure, circuit speeds, hardware cost, licensed netflow product costs, and other 3rd party components, just to put the pricing for everything can take couple of weeks alone and strictly depends on vendors and 3rd party availability and finalization of the entire design and netflow exporting assessment service completion. Hence it’s not easy to say without talking to the customer first and understanding constraints and requirements.

Which vendors do we specialize with?

We specialize with multiple vendors included but not limited to the following. The reason behind it is simply because in many cases we end up using multiple vendors when providing netflow reporting

  1. Ping-Plotter PRO
  2. HP OpenView
  3. SolarWinds
  4. Nagios
  5. PRTG
  6. Plixer

Or signature product that we recommend other customers is NTA product powered by Solar Winds, you can download free trial copy by clicking here and explore netflow flexibility offered by such product. We made multiple netflow analysis benchmarks in figuring out which netflow solution is really the best of the best out there, although many solutions have their own benefits, our personal favorite solution for netflow is offered by SolarWinds NTA product. you can download a copy of the NTA netflow analyzer and test out the reporting capabilities, just make sure that you configure the right type of netflow on your exporting device. If need assistance if figuring out how to do that and to help you with the netflow analyzer demo from SolarWinds, contact us and we can create conference and discuss benefits of the software vendor and see if the netflow vendor is right for you.

Download a FREE Trial of NetFlow Traffic Analyzer (NTA) from SolarWinds!