Computer Performance - Health Checks

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Free Real-time NetFlow Analyzer

How to Monitor Your Network with the Free Real-time NetFlow AnalyzerFree Real-time Netflow Traffic Analyzer

The primary reason for monitoring your network is to see at a glance that your servers are online and there is no problem.  However, sooner or later everyone becomes curious, and wants to discover who or what is hogging their precious network's bandwidth.

Thus, if you want to identify the real culprit rather than indiscriminately blaming the 'Psycho user', then Guy recommends SolarWind's Real-time NetFlow Analyzer; amazingly it's free!

Review of NetFlow Analyzer Freeware

The Benefits of Monitoring Network TrafficNetwork traffic analyzer freeware

Most administrators soon give up on network monitoring.  This is because they find collecting network traffic complicated.  Even if they manage to capture network conversations they find it challenging to analyze the raw data in a meaningful way.  Hopefully my NetFlow Analyzer review will persuade you to take the plunge and learn a valuable computer skill.

We live in a hectic world, thus it's probably one of two extremes that causes you turn to a Traffic Analyzer.  Either you are swamped by a network crisis that you must solve, or else you have that rare 5 minutes slack before your next appointment, so you fire-up the free traffic analyzer and quickly check what's occurring in your computer 'empire'.

Invest time learning to interpret the Real-time NetFlow analyser and you will be rewarded with the knowledge of which servers, and which users, are devouring the bandwidth.  Without this tool your network performance may seem mysterious and random, with the NetFlow analyser you get the satisfaction from not only understanding the daily network ebbs and flows, but also being able to control them.

Crisis Mode
In crisis mode you want to indentify the root cause as quickly as possible.  You need to know if a server is down, or where resources are exhausted.  By using the Real-time NetFlow Traffic Analyzer you can make certain your important network applications have priority over users who maybe downloading videos.

Just Browsing Mode
When you are just surfing with the NetFlow GUI you might contemplate which are the main outbound routes? Where is the inbound traffic going?  Are there any servers which are idle? Which network protocols are they using?

Other Roles for Network Monitoring
As you learn more about network monitoring, you will discover other roles for this style of analysis, for example capacity planning, load-balancing the servers on your network(s), and preparing duplicate routes to eliminate the single point of failure.

A Free UtilitySolarwinds Netflow Monitor Freeware

SolarWinds' Real-time NetFlow Traffic Analyzer is freeware.  It is hard to believe that you get all these interesting and wonderful features at no cost.  One reason that SolarWinds can supply such a fine utility for free is because they produce a bigger and even better tool.  The big brother (Orion NetFlow Traffic Analyzer) monitors multiple routers and records data not for just 1 hr, but stores historical data for weeks.  Incidentally, with the paid-for utilities you get the most marvellous technical support, SolarWinds live up to their catchphrase 'built by network engineers, for network engineers'.

Because SolarWinds produce so many NetFlow tools, I have a hard job keeping up with the all their names, the key to remembering the name of this free traffic analyzer is the word 'Real-time'.  All its bigger brothers all have the word 'Orion' in their NetFlow name.

Review NetFlow Analyzer Free

The Basics of Network Protocol Analysis for Newbies

Network protocol analyzers (packet sniffers) intercept traffic passing over your network and store the results in a log.  These protocol analyzers are mainly used to troubleshoot network problems, and detect security breaches.

If traffic analysis was easy then everybody would be doing it.  For those who have never done any network monitoring before, then certain settings in the utility may seem mysterious at first.  What I can say is that Real-time NetFlow Analyzer is easier than other packet analyzers that I have tried.  As with all products, carrying out the pre-requisites saves frustration down the line.  One strange matter of psychology is that once you admit that something will be difficult, then problems seem to melt away, and learning seems easy.

If you are NOT a network engineer, then using this network protocol analyzer  will also give you on-the-job training for this role.  Another paradox is that to get up-and-running quickly, you have to take the time to read the instructions carefully.  For example, you need to know the names of your: network cards, TCP/ IP addresses and router.  It will Also help if you have a working knowledge of these concepts: data capture, nodes and interface.  Furthermore, an understanding of CPU, memory utilization, SNMP and other network protocols will help you get the most from real-time network monitoring.

Outcomes From Analyzing Network Traffic

With SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer installed and configured, you can view what's occurring on your network.  If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, then a chart is worth a zillion pieces of raw data.

  • The Real-time NetFlow Analyzer lists your network's utilization by user or application.  This helps you to analyze traffic from different perspectives for example, router or server.  Naturally, you can also fine-tune the reports.
  • Realtime network monitoring ideal for troubleshooting connectivity problems, and also for detecting network bottlenecks.
  • Examining the results will help you understand the effect of a server's workload on resources.  Consequently, you may get ideas to optimise resources by moving servers and printers to the subnets with the most users.
  • In your more reflective times, reviewing which Windows NetFlow charts will highlight which sub-systems need upgrading.  It can also help you predict network traffic if you employ more users or open new offices.

Guy's Crazy Bet

I bet that if you install SolarWinds' NetFlow Traffic Analyzer that you will find a server, or workstation on your network that you did not know was there.  Perhaps your predecessor installed a backup server and forgot to document it?  If you want to try for yourself - for free - here is the Free Real-time NetFlow Analyzer.

Solarwinds Netflow Freeware

Summary of Solarwinds Netflow Analyzer Freeware

Shows you which users, devices, and applications are using the bandwidth.  It has the facility to isolate network traffic by app, endpoint, and protocol.  What I like is the ability to view network traffic at various time intervals.

See the Real-time NetFlow Analyzer Video

Additional Free and Trial Network Software

Here are my reviews of tried and tested applications to monitor your network.  Most of these utilities are free, while the others are the full program, but time restricted.  SolarWinds are a great source of free specialist tools.  A constant theme is a free gadget for testing, backed-up with a comprehensive suite for programs for larger organizations.  I like the way that big companies subsidise their smaller brethren... until they become large companies!

Network Traffic Analyzer Freeware  • Free Log Viewer  • Review of Log & Event Management

SolarWinds NPM Review  • Network Device Manager Review  • SolarWinds Product Review

Free Network Config Generator  • Review of WOL Gadget  • Review of Web Transaction Watcher

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Guy Recommends: SolarWinds' NPM - Review of Orion NPM
Network Performance Monitor

SolarWinds' performance monitor is designed for detecting network outages, making it easy to see what's working, and what needs your attention.

This utility guides you through creating network maps; it also helps identifying whether the root cause is faulty equipment, or resource overload. Give NPM a try.

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Author: Guy Thomas Copyright © 1999-2017 Computer Performance LTD All rights reserved.

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