An Overview Of NetFlow

The proprietary Csico NetFlow protocol was invented circa 1990. It was designed to collect network traffic metadata, i.e. data about data. NetFlow, will thus collect network protocols, ports, and other activity, but not collect the actual communication content that is traversing the network. This feat of acquiring network management data that may be used for trouble-shooting and otherwise fine-tuning network performance is accomplished by analyzing network flows.

What Is a Flow?