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Using NAM Probe flow collectors to troubleshoot network problems ad hoc

The ease of deploying NAM Probe flow collectors and activating NetFlow make flow collectors a useful tool for troubleshooting networks and applications.

Fast results are needed in a short-term troubleshooting project. It is desirable to avoid potential network downtime and time delays required to install probes to support the troubleshooting. Such consideration are particularly applicable for large distributed networks, if remote sites communicate with each other without the traffic coming to a central enterprise router where a probe could be placed.

To troubleshoot a distributed network, place a NAM Probe in front of key components such as data center servers and Internet gateways. Then, to enable troubleshooting for remote locations, enable NetFlow on the routers at problem locations and use a NAM Probe flow collector (probably the same physical device as the probe) to receive and decode the NetFlow records.

Subsequent deployment of probes may be needed for deeper application understanding; the troubleshooting analysis accomplished with the flow collector likely will help in that decision.

Troubleshooting a distributed network with a NAM Probe flow collector

The following figure illustrates the placement of a NAM Probe flow collector for troubleshooting purposes. The NAM Probe flow collector is deployed as the network troubleshooting tool and NetFlow is enabled only on the routers in the problem locations. NetFlow data is immediately available for analysis and troubleshooting can be performed using available report engines.

troubleshooting network ad hoc
troubleshooting network ad hoc