(image from Despicable Me)
In the movie, Despicable Me, a shrink ray features prominently, making it possible to steal the Moon by shrinking it small enough to fit in the villian's pocket.
The ability to handle large, high-speed networks is one of the key benefits of the sFlow standard. The scalability results because sFlow's packet sampling technology acts like a shrink ray, shrinking down network traffic so that it is easier to analyze, reducing even the largest network to a manageable size.
Shrinking an image is another way of illustrating the scaling function that an sFlow monitoring system performs. When shrinking an image, sampling and compression operations reduce the amount of data needed to store the image while preserving the essential features of the original.
Choosing the right sampling rate is the key to a successful sFlow deployment. The sampling rate acts as the network shrink factor, reducing the resources needed to manage the network while preserving the essential features needed for a clear picture of network activity. For example, a sampling rate of 1-in-8192 shrinks even the busiest network down to a manageable size (see AMX-IX).