Storing Network Fabric Analytics for Long-Term Performance Analysis & Compliance

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Pluribus UNUM™ stores a rich set of switch, traffic, fabric health, and Insight Analytics(™) flow-data for up to 30-days in our standard solution offering. This rich set of data enables rapid analysis and drill down to simplify troubleshooting, perform network monitoring, analyze switch health, and understand traffic patterns. The information is maintained in a First-In/First-Out format and is deprecated over time to make room for more recent data.

There are two areas of inquiry we consistently receive from customers in regards to fabric analytics:

  • What about issues that were not identified within the 30-day window?
  • What about the many countries and organizations that require regulatory compliance around the storage of information?

UNUM Archiver

In UNUM 6.0, the new UNUM Archiver feature was developed in response to these customer requests and introduces the ability to store and share switch analytics, flow-based network analytics topology information, and fabric health metadata on a Network File Share (NFS). Once stored, this information can be accessed by a second “Viewer UNUM” that is provided at no cost.

Once UNUM Archiver is licensed and configured, administrators will turn on daily snapshots, which are written to the NFS share. UNUM will store the daily snapshots up to a number of days set by the administrator.

Archiver files can be large. UNUM requires that the NFS share be located on a solid-state drive or SSD to speed up the file transfers.

Figure 1 – The Active UNUM manages the Adaptive Cloud Fabric and stores fabric analytics information onto an NFS share, for later analysis via the Viewer UNUM.

Accessing the Archived Information

Once the archive data is loaded, the Viewer UNUM can be used to analyze the data for network performance monitoring and troubleshooting the fabric. The same analytics dashboards and widgets provide a high-level, graphical overview of the fabric switch and flow analytics information. Administrators can sort through, refine and isolate related and/or specific events down to the individual record.

Figure 2 – The UNUM Insight Analytics connections dashboard. Administrators can use UNUM Insight Analytics dashboards to drill down to specific issues.

Storing Archiver Information for the Long Term Compliance

A key use of UNUM Archiver is to save fabric analytics information for compliance reasons.

A simple way to accomplish this is to create a folder in the NFS share where the snapshots will be stored. Periodically, this folder can be copy/pasted to another storage location and renamed.  For example, if our snapshot folder was named “Primary,” at the end of the month we could do a simple file copy of the folder to other, less expensive storage and rename it to the current month, “August2020.”

If the records need to be accessed at a later time, there are two options:

  1. Copy the “August2020” folder back into the current NFS share. This requires sufficient storage space be available. Once the copy completes, change the viewer UNUM repository to the “August 2020” folder, and the snapshot files become available.
  2. Create an NFS share of the “August2020” folder on the long-term storage and mount it on the viewer UNUM.

The first option has the benefit of simplicity and speed if the long-term storage is not an SSD, but requires that enough storage is available in the default NFS share.

To Learn More…

A short video demonstration of UNUM Archiver can be found here.

For detailed instructions on setting up and configuring UNUM Archiver, please refer to the Archiver section of the UNUM User Guide.

The UNUM data sheet contains more information on UNUM in general and is located on the UNUM home page.  We’ve also prepared a short Introduction to UNUM video if you would like an overview.

Note that both Insight Analytics and UNUM Archiver are add-on licenses.

If you want to learn more about Pluribus Networks’ approach to modern data center network architectures reach out to us for a demo.

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About the Author

Garry Lemasa

Garry Lemasa pulls double-duty as a product manager and technical marketing engineer on the Pluribus Networks UNUM platform. His twenty-plus year technical career began in storage subsystems, which led to storage networking and then IP based networks. Now he focuses on fabric management and automation, as well as translating technical jargon into language most everyone can understand.Garry lives with his wife, daughter, and three cats in sunny California where he ponders technology and reads science fiction in his spare time.