(image from Traffic Statistics >> AMS-IX)
An Internet Exchange (IX) is a specialized location where Internet Service Providers (ISPs) exchange traffic between their networks. Internet exchanges use high performance Ethernet switch fabrics to handle traffic volumes that far exceed anything seen in a typical corporate data center.
The Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) is one of the worlds largest Internet Exchanges (see List of Internet exchange points by size) with peak throughput exceeding 900Gbit/s. Providing network visibility in this environment requires a highly scalable measurement system.
The challenge facing AMX-IX is described in the paper, sFlow: I can feel your traffic. "The explosion of internet traffic is leading to higher bandwidths and an increased need for high speed networks. To analyze and optimize such networks an efficient monitoring system is required." The paper goes on to describe their selection of sFlow as a measurement technology, "To give the AMS-IX members more insight into their peering traffic and provide information to optimize the network structure, AMS-IX is using sFlow for its traffic analysis."
The scalability of sFlow makes it a popular choice for traffic monitoring in Internet exchanges and in other high performance networking environments (see CERN). While most data center networks don't yet handle the traffic levels of an Internet exchange, virtualization and LAN/SAN convergence are dramatically increasing data center traffic.
Most switch vendors support the sFlow standard. Selecting a high-speed Ethernet switch fabric with sFlow offers a proven, scalable monitoring solution that delivers the data center visibility and control needed to manage costs and fully realize the benefits of virtualization.