Preparing NAM Probe hardware

This procedure describes how to install the NAM Probe software on physical hardware that meets or exceeds the specifications described here. If you are installing the NAM Probe on a VMware virtual machine, go to Preparing virtual NAM Probe machine.

To create a complete NAM Probe installation, you need to:

  1. Set up a suitable server (physical or virtual)
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  2. Install a supported version of Linux
  3. Configure the NAM Probe communication interface
  4. Install the NAM Probe software

General platform characteristics

Important

It is your responsibility to ensure that the hardware you select meets or exceeds the general requirements described here, is supported by the operating system required for the software, and is compatible with the selected NICs.

A standard NAM Probe hardware platform should meet the following specifications.

  • Memory
    The NAM Probe requires 64 GB RAM.

    When installing RAM in your platform, we recommend the use of as few DIMM modules as possible. Communication between the CPU and RAM is much more efficient when RAM is configured in fewer modules. In addition, this approach allows for future RAM expansion without the necessity of DIMM module replacement.

  • CPUs
    The NAM Probe requires at least 2x quad core CPU (or at least 8 cores in total) working with at least 2 GHz clock. In general, performance improves with higher CPU frequencies and core counts. Under testing, the best performance-to-cost ratio was achieved with 12 cores.

  • HDDs
    The NAM Probe requires the following HDDs:

    • Technology: 6G, 15K RPM, SAS or better.
    • Capacity: 600 GB free space or greater.
    • RAID level: Fastest write performance with a customer-accepted level of data protection. We recommend RAID 10.
  • Network and SSL card compatibility
    See Dynatrace-Tested Cards.

Processing of non-standard packets

The NAM Probe is capable of processing packets of up to 16128 bytes, aside from the Ethernet standard MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit) of 1536 bytes. However:

  • Support for non-standard MTU packets may vary depending upon the manufacturer and model of the NIC. Please examine the NIC documentation provided by the card manufacturer to determine how non-standard MTU packets are supported on that NIC.
  • Processing non-standard MTU packets requires additional memory.

Recommended NAM Probe RAM configurations for different maximum packet size values:

Maximum packet size Recommended RAM size
8192 B or less 64 GB
8192 B 96 GB
16132 B 128 GB

When adding more RAM to the NAM Probe, be sure to re-run the rtminst utility on the NAM Probe and configure the Data memory limit as described in data memory limit. Use the NAM Console to set the non-standard MTU size (General/Maximum packet size).

Linux versions and releases

A complete NAM Probe installation consists of a supported version of Linux installed on either a physical server configured as recommended or on a virtual machine with the NAM Probe application installed on top of that platform.

Note

Red Hat Enterprise Linux is sold on a per-socket-pair basis, so that the prices in the vendor's directory affect every two populated sockets in the server. Choose a subscription based on the target hardware architecture for your NAM Probe. For more information on operating system licensing, refer to http://www.redhat.com/).

Except where noted, the NAM Probe has the same functionality and performance on all supported versions of Linux.

NIC driver mode (“custom” or “native”)

For more information, see NAM NIC support.

What you need to have before installing

You must set up your server to be ready for Linux installation and for remote access through a management interface. You need:

  • An IP address, network mask, and default gateway for the communication ports.

  • An IP address, network mask, and default gateway for the remote management port, such as iLO, DRAC, or RSA-II, if present on the NAM Probe box.

  • Each sniffing port requires a copper or fiber optic cable, ranging in speed from 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps.

Connecting the communication port to the network

Use the NAM Probe communication port to connect to the network for communication purposes. A report server or other devices will access the NAM Probe through this port.

Connecting sniffing ports to monitor switch traffic

Traffic to and from a switch can be monitored by connecting a NAM Probe sniffing port to a mirrored port on the switch or to a splitter tap.

How you connect to a tap usually differs depending on whether you are using copper or fiber.

  • Taps operating over copper usually require two cables.
  • Taps operating over fiber have a single output socket combining both directions of the traffic. This requires a Y-analyzer patch cord (two connectors at the NAM Probe end and one connector at the other end).

What to do next

The NAM Probe platform must be running a supported version of Linux.

  • To create a fresh Linux installation using the kickstart option, see Installing Linux with kickstart.
    This is the most automated (easiest) and most reliable (less room for setup error) option, but you cannot choose this option if your environment requires you to use an existing Linux installation or to configure a new Linux installation manually.
  • To install the NAM Probe on an existing Linux installation, or to install Linux using default options and then resolve any software dependencies and conflicts manually, see Installing Linux without kickstart.
    This is not the easiest option, but it may be necessary to meet the requirements of your working environment.