Monday, April 4, 2011

The s in sFlow

Have you ever wondered what the s in sFlow stands for? While the s is meant to indicate sampling (of counters and packets), the wide range of applications for sFlow suggest additional meanings:
  • s for Standard, the sFlow standard ensures interoperable, multi-vendor performance monitoring.
  • s for Switch, broad support for the sFlow standard by switch vendors allows best-in-class products to be selected while maintaining end-to-end visibility from wireless and wired campus switches to high performance data center switches.
  • s for Storage, sFlow provides visibility into all types of networked storage, including Ethernet Storage Area Network (SAN) technologies, FCoE and AoE
  • s for Server, standard sFlow performance metrics from servers simplifies management by eliminating the need for separate network and server monitoring systems.
  • s for System, sFlow is an integrated measurement system, providing the visibility into switches, storage and servers needed to manage performance in converged, virtualized and cloud environments.
  • s for Service, sFlow embedded in server protocols like HTTP and Memcache provides visibility into application transactions and response times. Linking application, server and network performance allows sFlow to deliver end-to-end visibility into services, mapping services and the resources that they depend on.
  • s for Security, sFlow provides the visibility needed to detect unauthorized activity and enforce security policies.
  • s for Simplify, sFlow eliminates complexity. Simplifying management reduces costs, increases flexibility and improves scalability.
  • s for Scalability, sFlow has the scalability needed to manage the performance of even the largest data center. 
The requirement for scalability brings us back to sampling: sFlow's distributed packet and counter sampling mechanisms are fundamental building blocks that give sFlow the scalability to deliver data center wide visibility and control.

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