Switch monitoring recommendations

Unanswered Question
Oct 30th, 2008

Hi all,

we have 2 3750's and 16 2950's.

I don't know much about Netflow, so firstly i was wondering which operating systems would need to be on the switches that support Netflow and what does netflow actually tell you?

Secondly, does anyone know of how to/what will acheive the following monitoring goals?

• Ability to at a glance view the health of the network

• Identify hot spots, areas of stress

• Maximise performance, is the configuration optimised?

• General reports (errors, packet loss, bandwidth etc)

• Keep software up-to-date

I am looking at Solar Winds and various free bee packages...

any advice much appreciated.

I have this problem too.
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Collin Clark Thu, 10/30/2008 - 08:14

• Ability to at a glance view the health of the network

Solarwinds works great for this

• Identify hot spots, areas of stress

Solarwinds works great for this

• Maximise performance, is the configuration optimised?

I don't know of any product that can do this. I think that's the engineers job.

• General reports (errors, packet loss, bandwidth etc)

Solarwinds works great for this

• Keep software up-to-date

Solarwinds (NCM) works great for this

We use Solarwinds and it works well.

marioderosa2008 Thu, 10/30/2008 - 09:18

do you know what cisco net flow is?

is it a peice of software like Cisco Works? or is it some kind of cisco propriatry monitoring protocol?

Thanks again for your advice.

Collin Clark Thu, 10/30/2008 - 09:23

Netflow runs on a router and sends it's data to a Netflow collector (ie Solarwinds Netflow Monitor). With that data you can view who talked to who, with what applications, and how much bandwidth they used (among other things). It's very useful, but only available on routers, not switches, nor layer 3 switches. Cisco developed Netflow, but other manufactures have jumped onboard and created their own (ie JFlow on Juniper routers).

marioderosa2008 Thu, 10/30/2008 - 09:31

nice one, thanks colin for the speedy reply.

I notice that there are a wide variety of tools available as part of the solar winds suite.

Would you recommend the full engineers toolkit? Or do you use a variety of their products to monitor your cisco network?

Collin Clark Thu, 10/30/2008 - 09:39

Here's what we have-

+Orion (now called NPM-Network Performance Manager)

+NCM (Network Configuration Manager)

+Engineers Toolset

(I have customers that also have VoIP, Netflow, and APM)

If you can't get NPM, then get the Toolset. If you can get NPM, you can live w/o the Toolset but there are some great tools in the Toolset as well. NCM is very nice to have especially in larger networks. If you have <25 devices you could probably find other ways of doing what NCM does. In order of purchasing, here's the way I would go-

1. NPM

2. NCM

3. Toolset

The APM is also great especially if you'll be monitoring servers (I don't have too).

Sushil Kumar Katre Fri, 10/31/2008 - 02:43

Hi Mario,

NetFlow is not supported on 3750 and 2950 switches. Being an IOS feature there is no IOS on these switches which can provide the IOS NetFlow feature.

Its supported on almost all routers and on 4500 and 6500 switches.

You can check the feature availability through Cisco's Feature Navigator -


-> Sushil

ashirel Mon, 11/17/2008 - 06:00

cisco tells me that netflow is not supported on the 4500-e supervisor 6 engine.

does anyone know of a solution for netflow

on the above equipment.

seems like a strange feature degradation for a really souped up switch.



winnthu Fri, 10/31/2008 - 15:29

Try www.cacti.net. It is free GPL. You can monitor bandwidth usage. Network weathermap plugin show you link usage in percentage.


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