NetFlow and other network metadata generation methods are a simple, effective way to increase visibility into traffic flows and usage patterns across systems. The flow-generated data can be used to build relationships and usage patterns between nodes on the network. Routers and switches that support NetFlow and other network metadata generation can collect IP traffic statistics to be exported as NetFlow and/or metadata (i.e. NetFlow with extensions) records. However the processor and memory load of enabling NetFlow and metadata generation can cause service degradation and affect their ability to pass traffic without introducing latency and packet drops. Due to this processing overhead, sampled NetFlow or metadata is implemented in most of the high-end routers. Sampling one in every “N” packets for NetFlow and metadata processing can severely limit the visibility needed to monitor flows.
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