NetFlow Traffic Analyzer Getting Started Guide

Welcome to the SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer (NTA) Getting Started Guide.

Ensure your long term success with SolarWinds NTA by following the guidelines described in this guide. Depending on your workload, getting started with SolarWinds NTA should take you one day or less.

To get started with SolarWinds NTA, complete the following tasks.

Install SolarWinds NTA.

Use the SolarWinds Orion Installer to prepare the environment and install SolarWinds NTA.

Populate NTA with devices.

For NTA to analyze your bandwidth utilization, you need to discover the devices and add them to Orion for monitoring.

Set up your flow environment.

Understand what protocols NTA supports, review flow environment best practices, and enable a device to send flow data to SolarWinds NTA.

Identify consumers of interface bandwidth.

Change the threshold for Top Talker alerts, identify top talkers after the bandwidth utilization alert is triggered, and use the Flow Navigator for forensic analysis.

Plan for interface bandwidth capacity.

Use SolarWinds NTA to monitor interface-level network bandwidth and traffic patterns over the course of months, days, or minutes.

Existing customers: Follow the recommendations in this guide to ensure your system capabilities are appropriate and your production environment is sized correctly. Minimum system requirements used during evaluation are not sufficient for a production environment. Access your licensed software from the SolarWinds Customer Portal. If you need implementation help, contact our Support team.

Evaluators: To evaluate SolarWinds NTA, download a free 30-day evaluation. The evaluation version of SolarWinds NTA is a full version of the product, functional for 30 days. If you evaluate SolarWinds NTA on a Windows Server operating system, you can easily convert your evaluation license to a production license by obtaining and applying a license key. If you need assistance with your evaluation, contact sales@solarwinds.com.

Prerequisites

This getting started guide assumes that you have:

  • Purchased or are evaluating SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM) and SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer (NTA).
  • Installed SolarWinds NPM and are adding SolarWinds NTA to your SolarWinds Orion Platform deployment.
  • Completed the SolarWinds NPM Getting Started Guide. There are some very important principles and skills that you learn in the SolarWinds NPM Getting Started Guide, so SolarWinds highly encourages you to work through that content.
  • Collected the details for accessing the SolarWinds Orion Database. The following are prerequisites for installing the SolarWinds NTA Flow Storage Database:
    • Valid host name or IP address of the server where the SolarWinds Orion SQL database is installed
    • SQL database credentials

Product terminology

Orion Platform: The common backend platform used by the SolarWinds Orion suite of products, including Network Performance Monitor (NPM), Server & Application Monitor (SAM), Network Configuration Manager (NCM), NetFlow Traffic Analyzer (NTA), and more. The platform provides the backbone for navigation, settings, and common features like alerts and reports. It also provides a consistent look-and-feel across products, giving you a “single pane of glass” for your SolarWinds Orion monitoring tools.

Orion Web Console: The web interface you see when you log in to SolarWinds Orion that is used to view, configure, and manage all of your monitored objects.

Orion Application Server: A Microsoft Windows® server that runs the Orion Web Console and collects data from monitored objects. Also called the Orion Main Poller.

Orion Database Server: A Windows SQL server that should be hosted on a dedicated server in a production environment, separately from the Orion Application Server. It stores SolarWinds Orion configuration data and all collected performance and syslog data.

Polling Engine: A polling engine controls polling job scheduling, data processing, and queries your monitored devices for performance metrics, such as CPU, memory, and up or down status. Additional Polling Engines can be licensed to provide additional scalability and capacity. By default, the Orion Server provides one polling engine (often referred to as the Main Polling Engine).

NTA Flow Storage Database: A Microsoft SQL server for storing flow data.

  • In NTA versions 4.0 through 4.2.3, the NTA Flow Storage database runs on the FastBit database engine and must be installed before installing SolarWinds NTA.
  • NTA 4.4 through 2019.4 uses a Microsoft SQL server for the Flow Storage database. In production environments, you can co-locate the NTA Flow Storage database and the Orion database on one SQL server. For more information on deploying the NTA Flow Storage database, see NTA Flow Storage database deployment options in the NTA Administrator Guide.

NetFlow collector: A server responsible for receiving, storage, and processing of flow data.

CBQoS: Class-Based Quality of Service (CBQoS) is an SNMP-based, proprietary Cisco® technology available on selected Cisco devices that gives you the ability to prioritize and manage traffic on your network. For more information about configuring class maps for your CBQoS-enabled network devices, search CBQoS at www.cisco.com.