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Network Management and Flow Analysis in Today’s Dense IT Environments


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In the 1990’s, when the Internet and enterprise network build-out occurred you had to manage individual intersite WAN connections and single-purpose networking equipment. Network management required managing devices and their basic functions. Today, multifunctional and virtual devices are common. New device types and services are going to market every day.

During this webcast, we discuss network management and flow analysis evolved to keep pace with today’s complicated and dense IT environments. Specifically we’ll discuss managing data centers, changes in WAN technologies and WAN management, and best practices for flow analysis, including where to deploy flow exporters.

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Network Management and Flow Analysis in Today’s Dense IT Environments

  1. 1. Network Management and Flow Analysis in Today’s Dense IT Environments
  2. 2. <ul><li>A big “Howdy” from SolarWinds in Austin Texas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Josh Stephens – V.P., Technology and Monster Blogger! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rachel Jenkins – Sr. Manager of Technical Training and Education </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Today’s Topic: </li></ul><ul><li>Network Management and Flow Analysis in Today’s Dense IT Environments </li></ul><ul><li>Who is SolarWinds? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What we do… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who are our customers? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The SolarWinds community… </li></ul></ul>Introduction
  3. 3. A Few Notes about Today’s Session J0sher2014 <ul><ul><li>Today’s content will be fairly high-level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We only have an hour </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No attendee left behind… </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask questions!!! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t be afraid to ask deeper questions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t wait ‘till the end – ask away </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Today’s session is being recorded </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Recorded session on </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Slides available on </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We’ll e-mail you links when each are posted </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Today’s Dense Data Environment </li></ul><ul><li>The Data Center Crunch! </li></ul><ul><li>The Crunch Meets the WAN </li></ul><ul><li>Managing the Density </li></ul><ul><li>Density and Flow Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Summary and Q&A </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Data Center Evolution – The Crunch! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clusters of Distributed, Single Purpose Servers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Few Servers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>File and Print Services </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consolidated HQ Server Farms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Some Shared Resources </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lots of Physical Servers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Data Centers v1 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Multifunctional Physical Servers, VoIP, Video </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Shared Storage and other Resources </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Data Center v2 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Virtualization, Heavy Resource Sharing and Redundancy </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Data Center Evolution – The Challenges for IT Management </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Manage a Broader Range of Services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Manage at a Deeper Level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Up/down and Busy/not busy is no longer enough </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Manage layers 1 – 7 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Manage New Types of Equipment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Virtual servers and switches, shared storage </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Manage Data Center Interdependencies! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Understand what relies on what and the impact of system issues on the rest of the system </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>WAN Evolution From 30,000 Feet </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1988 - Point-to-point Connections </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li><128 Kbps </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Would not support data center connectivity </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1992 - Frame Relay </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Up to 45 Mbps </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Logical hub and spoke connections </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Slow connectivity to data centers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1999 - MPLS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Very high speeds and bandwidth </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Full mesh capabilities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fully supports connecting to a remote, dense environment </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>WAN Evolution - The Challenges for WAN Management </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Full mesh can get messy! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Number of connections for hub/spoke is n-1 where n is the number </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>42 sites = 41 connections </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Number of connections for full mesh is n*n-1/2 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>42 sites = 861 connections! </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rapid Counter Rollover </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple Connections and Multiple Carriers </li></ul></ul>5 Site Hub/Spoke 5 Site Full Mesh
  9. 9. <ul><li>How Do Dense Data Centers and WANs Work? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inter-data center traffic never hits the WAN </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Backups, database lookups, storage, intermediate processing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Users connect directly to the datacenters – MPLS removes the hub and minimizes hops </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Routing hops add delay incrementally </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>With today’s WAN technologies, WAN speeds and rivaling LAN speeds </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WAN bandwidth has become much more affordable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cost per Mbps plummeted since 2000 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>There is still a lot of WAN data, but it’s cheaper and faster to operate </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Best Practices For Managing Dense Data Centers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use IT Management With the Ability to Understand Dense Systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Virtualization Awareness is Critical </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Shared Resource Management Must Have the Ability Map Interconnections and Dependencies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Which VMs use this LUN? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Take Advantage of Built-in Abilities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Automate! </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Config backups, pushes, scheduled discoveries, alerting to proper groups….. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Best Practices For Managing Today’ WANs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NMS Management - Grouping is Key in Managing MPLS WANs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Group redundant connections to datacenters and other critical sites – This will bubble the important issues to the surface </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Group by region and/or function </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Built in redundancy in MPLS mesh eliminate the need for many dependencies, but sites with shared resources impact remote users and systems – group these and build dependencies accordingly </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>64 Bit Counters are a Must! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Know Your WAN 24 x 7 – IP SLA </li></ul></ul>
  12. 13. <ul><ul><li>Cisco Proprietary, other vendors have equivalents technologies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Measures the network from multiple locations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Generates traffic by inserting various types of traffic “operations”. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TCP port open, HTTP request, DNS query, FTP file transfer, UDP port open, ICMP ping and trace route, UDP jitter, VoIP jitter, DHCP request. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Indicates the round trip response time and operation completion time users can expect </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Measures network services 24 X 7 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some Operations are sophisticated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Path operations (hop by hop) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Breakdown per phase (DNS, TCP, HTTP) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 14. <ul><li>Remember Full Mesh Grows Rapidly </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Adding full mesh IP SLA for 42 sites creates n*n-1 or 1722 tests per IP SLA operation and each router must run 41 tests. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In an MPLS WAN add IP SLA operations to the most important links and choose the operation type to match an actual network use case. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Again, don’t bury yourself in data for data’s sake – Implement with a plan! </li></ul></ul>
  14. 16. <ul><li>NetFlow, IPFIX, S-flow, J-Flow </li></ul><ul><li>The Number of Flows on a Dense Network is Astronomical </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t try to boil the ocean – You’ll bury yourself in data! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Export flows where it makes sense to do so </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Critical WAN circuits </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Internet connection </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t export bidirectional (ingress/egress) if you don’t need to </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reduces data duplication </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Saves exporter resource – CPU, RAM </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think carefully before exporting on LAN interfaces </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>LAN bandwidth is almost free and very fast – you’ll get tons of flow data with little value </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>WAN is typically the bottleneck </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 17. J0sher2014 SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer
  16. 18. SolarWinds IP SLA Manager J0sher2014
  17. 19. Where to learn more… <ul><li>Documentation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SolarWinds technical documentation: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SolarWinds Knowledge Base (KB): </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Videos, blogs, and webcasts </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Community </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Technical Support </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>SolarWinds Certified Professional (SCP) program and training content </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 20. <ul><li>Thank you for attending! </li></ul><ul><li>To learn more or to download free 30-day trials of </li></ul><ul><li>SolarWinds products visit: </li></ul><ul><li>Contact information </li></ul><ul><li>Josh Stephens, Head Geek </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>twitter: sw_headgeek </li></ul><ul><li>Blog: </li></ul>Summary and Q&A
  19. 21. Thank You Modify This Footer: View -> Header & Footer - Slide -