• Chris Greer

NetFlow vs Metadata vs Packet Inspection - Which is right for you?




Isolating and rooting out network problems all comes down to having good visibility into the network. Without it, engineers just end up finger pointing and chasing problems around the enterprise.


At this stage of the network game, there are three major methods of getting insight into the network infrastructure and the traffic that traverses it: NetFlow, Metadata, and Packet Capture.


All three have their strengths in providing engineers with the right data in the right place at the right time - however they all have their weaknesses too. As you consider your visibility method in your environment, which one is right for you, and when?


With the security intrusions and pesky performance issues that are clearly here to stay, network engineers should have a solid answer to that question. NetFlow is easy to store, but can be limited in detail. Metadata shows pain points in a mountain of data, but can lead us in the wrong direction at times. Packets are the gold analysis standard on networks, but digging through them can be very confusing.


This whitepaper by ProfiTap discusses the strengths of each of these analysis methods and how and when each should be used.


https://www.profitap.com/wp-content/uploads/NetFlow-vs-Metadata-vs-Packet-Inspection.pdf


Check it out to get better insight into these three visibility methods and how to use them to troubleshoot and secure your network.



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