How to Store Your Network Data with TimeLine

Network performance across one of your 10G backbones just took a nosedive. What you’d really like to know is exactly what was going on before, and exactly when, the performance changed, but those network packets are long gone. Or are they?

Some network engineers, and certainly those who have been bitten by such a problem before, are employing network recorders, like WildPackets TimeLine, to constantly record network data at the packet level. With TimeLine you have a complete recording of the traffic on your network, even highly utilized 10G links, so in-depth analysis of situations that happened a few minutes, a few hours, or maybe even a few days ago is only a click away.

Capture Data without Losing It
With more and more traffic running over 10G links, performing real-time analysis is becoming very difficult, especially when you’re reacting to a nose-dive in performance and even the execs are aware of the problem. Perhaps it’s an intermittent problem – are you going to stick around all night waiting for it to happen again so you can capture and analyze the data? Probably, but you don’t need to. TimeLine records and stores each and every packet traversing a network link, up to 12Gbps, with zero packet loss, creating a complete archive of exactly what is transpiring on the network. No need to wait for the problem to happen again; no need to try to reproduce the problem, and in the process risk reducing network performance even further.

TimeLine is specifically designed to store massive amounts of packet data efficiently and without data loss, and to quickly find the data you need when a problem arises. Simply specify the amount of storage space that you want to allocate to the capture, based on the average data throughput and the amount of time you want data to be preserved, and TimeLine does the rest. Once the allocated space is filled, data will simply roll over, first-in-first-out, so you’ll always have data for the amount of time determined when making the storage allocation. Start a monitoring capture at the same time and TimeLine will send alarms to you based on your configuration, so you can be instantly alerted when the problem happens again.

The Longevity of Storage
Some problems may require relatively long storage periods. With up to 48TB of disk space, TimeLine can store nearly 11 hours of data at 10Gbps steady state (and no one pushes their 10G link that hard) or over 2 days at 2Gbps (much more reasonable). So, when that intermittent problem crops up, don’t worry. Just head home, and if you get an alert you can log into TimeLine from home, scan through the real-time statistics that TimeLine generates, focus in on the time frame (or IP address(es), or protocols, etc.) of interest and perform a forensic search directly on the TimeLine box. No additional strain on the network, and if your first search wasn’t exactly right, the data is still there and available for you to search again. And if you’re confident that you have captured all the data you need, you can stop the data capture to preserve your data for as long as you need to complete the analysis.

Let TimeLine Work for You 24/7
Monitoring, capturing, storing, and analyzing network data is – and should be treated as – a full time job, and TimeLine does that job for you. TimeLine will continue to monitor and document your network data even during downtime. Even when only a handful of users are working on your network, it could still experience a hack or a harmful outside threat, especially with the surge of BYOD. For this reason, keep TimeLine on and working so that the data capture is done and stored for you, in real time, 24×7.

If you need to view a particular timeframe, simply highlight that area on the TimeLine utilization graph, and you will see the remaining stats change to reflect that timeframe. While analyzing this specific selection, TimeLine continues to monitor your network data in real time, always making your job easier.

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