Close monitoring of exchange traffic is critical to operations:
- Ensure that there is sufficient capacity to accommodate new and existing members.
- Ensure that all traffic sources are accounted for and that there are no unauthorized connections.
- Ensure that only allowed traffic types are present.
- Ensure that non-unicast traffic is strictly controlled.
- Ensure that packet size policies are controlled to avoid loss due to MTU mismatches.
The measurements from the exchange infrastructure are useful to members since it allows them to easily see how much traffic they are exchanging with other members through their peering relationships. This information is easy to collect using the exchange infrastructure, but much harder for members to determine independently.
The sFlow standard has long been a popular method of monitoring exchanges for a number of reasons:
- sFlow instrumentation is built into high capacity data center switches used in exchanges.
- Exchanges handle large amounts of traffic, many Terabits/second in large exchanges and sFlow instrumentation has the scaleability to monitor the entire infrastructure.
- Exchanges typically operate at layer 2 (i.e. traffic is switched, not routed between members) and sFlow provides detailed visibility into layer two traffic, including: packet sizes, Ethernet protocols, MAC addresses, VLANs, etc.
IX Metrics is open source software that can easily be modified to integrate with other tools and additional applications can be installed on the sFlow-RT platform alongside the IX Metrics application, for example: