Difference between a polling engine and a collector in SolarWinds NTA

To understand the way SolarWinds NTA processes flow data, you first need to understand the methods of capturing these data.

What is a flow collector?

Devices with flow enabled generate and export flow records. These records are collected using the flow collector. The flow collector then processes and analyzes the data. Flow collectors can be either hardware based, such as probes, or software based, such as the SolarWinds NTA collector. After processing and analyzing data, the NTA collector presents these data in the web-based user interface of the Orion Web Console.

What is a polling engine?

A polling engine is also used for monitoring and collecting data. While a collector gathers data that are being sent to it by the particular device, a polling engine pings the device and requests the data to be sent.

NTA is a collector, not a polling engine. You must set up your devices, such as routers or firewalls, to send flow data to the collector.