What is a flow collector?
In Entuity, a flow collector receives flow records sent from devices that are configured to send it flow data. You can activate flow collectors on Entuity servers that are also managing and polling devices (all-in-one servers).
An Entuity server can receive and display flow data from the flow collectors that are assigned to it. A flow collector can only be assigned to one Entuity server at a time, although with IFA Premium, you can assign as many flow collectors to an Entuity server as its license permits. You can also use an all-in-one server as a dedicated flow collector, where the server only collects flow data and a separate Entuity server polls and manages the device.
If you reassign a flow collector from one server to another, all the data collected and retained by that flow collector when it was managed by the original server is lost.
The role of flow collector is the same whether it is on the same server as the polling engine, or on a separate machine (one acting as a dedicated flow collector).
Standard Entuity server:
When configured as a standard Entuity server, Entuity acts as a polling engine, e.g. managing inventory, monitoring faults, performance and availability, with multi-server consolidation, reports, event management.
Flow collectors on all-in-one servers:
You can configure Entuity as an all-in-one server, where a server can act as both a polling engine and a flow collector. When a single server both polls and collects flow data, you can do the following:
- start and stop the collection of flow data from the device's Flow dashboard.
- view the status of flow collection. The flow collector accepts all valid flow data from devices that are configured to forward it data.
- configure custom dashboards with charts that detail flow data, so you can see changes in network performance as they happen.
- configure exclusion filters and map port to applications.
- access all Entuity functionality, e.g. view flow data within the context of device polled data, track related events, manage user accounts, run reports.
With IFA Premium, you can do the following:
- assign to the server other flow collectors, as well as remote all-in-one servers.
- use the full flexibility of an all-in-one server to build the structure of Entuity servers that best meets your requirements:
- polling only.
- flow collector only.
- polling and flow collector enabled.
- polling and flow collectors disabled. This consolidation role allows you to assign to the server other all-in-one servers, e.g. to use a server as a reporting server.
IFA Premium and remote flow collectors:
With IFA Premium, you can use an all-in-one Entuity server as a dedicated flow collector (where the server only acts as a flow collector). You must then assign this flow collector to an Entuity polling server. It is from the polling server that you instigate flow collection on its devices (althouhg the flow data is collected, processed and stored on the dedicated flow collector server. When you log in to a dedicated flow collector, you can do the following:
- view the status of flow collection. The flow colelctor accepts all valid flow data from devices that are configured to forward data to it. The flow collector does not manage the device, i.e. any polling of that device is undertaken on a separate Entuity polling server.
- stop the collection of flow data from a device. You can also stop the collection of flow data from the server to which the flow collector is assigned.
- configure user accounts.
On the dedicated flow collector you can also configure exclusion filters and map port to applications. The data collected by a flow collector is available from the Entuity polling server (the master flow collector) to which it is assigned. For the Entuity polling server to display this data, it must manage the device, and the receiving of flow data from that device on the polling server must be enabled.
Flow collector setup:
Entuity flow collectors are shipped with a setup that is suitable for most network enviornments. This configuration is replicated in entuity_home/etc/flowcfg-template.properties. Please see this article for further help and information on the configuration options available for this file.
When you want to amend the flow collection configuration, you should not make changes to the template file, but instead create a copy in entuity_home/etc and rename the copy to flowcfg.properties (please see this article for further help and information regarding this file). Changes to this file are automatically discovered by Entuity and maintained during system upgrades.
Configurations specified in entuity_home/etc/flowcfg.properties have the highest priority; it overrides values set for the same parameter through configure. These options are not applicable to Entuity support of the IPFIX and sFlow technologies.
Flow collection and Entuity zones:
Entuity Flow is zone-aware. When using different Entuity servers to manage and collect flow data, then the servers must have the same zone setup. Zones on separate Entuity servers are independent of each other. However, if you configure them with the same setup, then the Entuity servers can assign flow data to the correct zones.
To assign a flow collector to an Entuity server:
- In the Main Menu, click Administration.
- Click Multi-Server Configuration.
- Ensure that you are on the Multi-Server Configuration page. If you are not (and instead are on the Central Entuity Servers page), click Manage Remote Entuity Servers in the top right of the browser.
- Under the Assigned Flow Collectors section, click Add....
- This opens the Add Flow Collector page.
- Enter the resolved name or IP address of the remote flow collector in the Server field.
- Enter the web port used by the Entuity remote flow collector in the Web Port field.
- Tick the SSL box when it is to be used by the remote Entuity server.
- Enter a valid Username and Password for a member of the Administrators group.
- Click Submit, otherwise click Cancel.
Upon a successful connection, Entuity displays the Remote Entuity Servers page, complete with the assigned flow collectors. If it fails, an appropriate warning message will be given, e.g. the validation details are incorrect, or communication with the server cannot be established. Entuity also warns when connecting to a flow collector that is already assigned to another Entuity server, because this reassignment would lose all the data maintained on the flow collector for the original Entuity server.
To delete a flow collector from an Entuity server:
- Navigate to the Assigned Flow Collectors section of the Multi-Server Configuration page.
- Select the flow collector you want to delete and click Delete.
- Note, the flow collector will be immediately deleted without a deletion confirmation window.