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Will Enterasys beat Cisco at its own NetFlow game?
Thu, 7/8/10 - 11:27pm    View comments

EnterasysCiscoEnterasys has implemented unsampled NetFlow on its S-Series and N-Series switches using Cisco's NetFlow v5 and v9 network protocol, both are supported completely free of charge with no dedicated hardware modules, cards or license fees required.

Putting its boxing gloves on, Enterasys has bravely entered the ring to duke-it-out in head-to-head competitive matches between the following Enterasys vs. Cisco models:

Enterasys S3    vs.    Cisco Catalyst 4500 - Supervisor 6-E and 6L-E do not support NetFlow
Enterasys SSA    vs.    Cisco Catalyst 4948 and Catalyst 3750E
Enterasys S4 and S8    vs.    Cisco Nexus 7010 and Catalyst 6500
Enterasys systems are priced from $15,995.

Enterasys S-Series products are available now.

For more information, visit

According to Jim Corbett - Director of Enterasys Product Management:

Jim Corbett"Enterasys is focused on providing data centers with the performance, flexibility and security they need as they become more virtualized and cloud based. Our implementation of NetFlow is provided at no additional cost and ensures granular visibility and control over users, services, and applications. Combined with the S-Series Terabit-class performance, the result is a faster, cheaper and more reliable network.

"A distinct Enterasys advantage is flow-based ASIC capabilities that collect NetFlow statistics for every packet in every flow. There is no impact on CPU or switching performance. All incoming traffic can be monitored with unsampled, real-time data so every event or disruption is captured. Complete network visibility is always available regardless of network conditions. In contrast, a CPU-based implementation places a substantial load on the device it runs on and adds to the very transmission delays it is trying to detect. Sampled data can alleviate some of the performance drain but will miss events that occur outside the sample period."

Corbett continued, "The below example diagram shows Enterasys S-Series switches with NetFlow enabled and the subsequent flow data for HTTP, VoIP and FTP traffic. The NetFlow export packets are received by the collector and the usage information for each flow is displayed, thus providing an intuitive view into the network's overall usage. When compared to the use of RMON2 and the deployment of probes, the S-Series provides businesses with significant savings and greatly enhances the operational efficiency of the network and therefore also increases the operational efficiencies of the organization."

Profile Your Network Using NetFlow

Corbett added, "The S-Series implementation enables the collection of NetFlow data on both switched and routed frames, allowing S-Series modules to collect and report flow data at line rate speeds. Reporting capacity scales with the addition of each I/O module without impacting switching/routing performance. NetFlow capabilities are embedded in every ASIC, providing customers with industry-leading value.

"The S-Series tracks every packet in every flow, collecting 9,000 flow records per second, per blade. This is an order of magnitude greater NetFlow collection performance than any other NetFlow appliance vendor (over 70,000 flow records per second in a fully populated chassis) and as such can provide network managers with nearly 100% accuracy of who is communicating and with what application across the switch."

Finally, Corbett concluded, "Once NetFlow data has been collected, an analysis tool such as the Scrutinizer Flow Analyzer from Plixer International is required to examine and correlate the information into detailed reports.

"The screenshot below generated by Scrutinizer displays the top conversations for TCP port 80 over an Internet router. The network manager can easily view the web sites that are being accessed and the volumes of data traversing the router. This information is ideally used when planning for capacity and when applying Internet usage policies."

Scrutinizer Flow Analyzer Screenshot

What's your take, will Enterasys beat Cisco at its own NetFlow game?

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