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March 2012

Combining NetFlow and packet analysis boosts network visibility

Now that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota relies on Software as a Service (SaaS) for core business processes like administering claims, network performance engineer Barry Pieper relies on deep packet analysis to tap inbound and outbound Internet traffic in order to ensure his providers are delivering on their service-level agreements (SLAs). But it wouldn’t be worth using costly deep packet inspection for all of his network monitoring needs, so Pieper still turns to good old fashioned NetFlow analysis for a broader view of what’s happening on the network. Combined, Pieper uses a Network Instruments Gigastor appliance for packet capture, Compuware’s Van­tage network monitoring product— recently rebranded as Gomez Net­work Performance Monitoring—for analysis of that packet information, and then Fluke Networks’ Optiview NetFlow Tracker for NetFlow. “I use NetFlow a lot on our wide area network mainly because it works so well there,” he said. “Our branch offices are T1 and T3 links, so we would do software distributions with ...

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