Saturday, March 20, 2010

Host sFlow

Virtualization extends networking into servers through virtual switches, virtual routers and virtual firewalls. The sFlow standard, already built into most vendor's switches, provides visibility and control of traffic on the physical network. As virtual device vendors implement sFlow (e.g. Open vSwitch and Vyatta), visibility is extended into the virtual network on the server. The implementation of sFlow monitoring on servers offers an opportunity to extend visibility into server performance.

Monitoring physical and virtual server performance is a challenging task. Consider that the number of virtual machines per server is going up, currently 20-40 virtual machines per physical machine is not unusual. Monitoring a data center with 10,000 physical switch ports might involve monitoring as many as 5,000 physical servers, 10,000 virtual switches, 200,000 virtual switch ports and 100,000 virtual servers.

The proven scalability of sFlow's counter polling mechanism offers an efficient way to monitor the large number physical and virtual servers in a data center. The Host sFlow extension, currently being developed on, offers a standard way to export physical and virtual server performance statistics (i.e. CPU, memory and I/O metrics).

Host sFlow integrates with sFlow in physical and virtual switches to unify network and system visibility, helping to break down management silos and provide the end-to-end visibility into data center resources needed for effective management and control.

Feb. 15, 2011 Update: To find more recent articles on using sFlow to monitor servers, click on the server label below.

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