Configuring peer-to-peer statistics
The IXP Manager sflow peer-to-peer graphing system depends on the MAC address database system so that point to point traffic flows can be identified. Before proceeding further, this should be configured so that when you click on
MAC Addresses | Discovered Addresses from the admin portal, you should see a MAC address associated with each port. If you cannot see any Discovered MAC address, then the sflow peer-to-peer graphing mechanism will not work. This needs to be working properly before any attempt is made to configure sflow peer-to-peer graphing.
As sflow can put a reasonably high load on a server due to disk I/O for RRD file updates - it is recommended practice to use a separate server (or virtual server) to handle the IXP's sflow system. The sflow server will need:
- Apache (or any other web server)
- rrdtool + rrdcached
- perl 5.10.2 or later
- mrtg (for Net_SNMP_util)
- a filesystem partition mounted with the
nodiratimeoptions, and which has enough disk space. You may also want to consider disabling filesystem journaling.
pkg install apache24 sflowtool git databases/rrdtool mrtg
apt-get install apache2 git rrdtool rrdcached mrtg
sflowtool is not part of the Ubuntu / Debian package archive and must be compiled from source if running on these systems. The source code can be found on Github: https://github.com/sflow/sflowtool.
Once the required packages are installed, the IXP Manager peer-to-peer graphing system can be configured as follows:
- Clone the IXP Manager installation using
git clone https://github.com/inex/IXP-Manager /srv/ixpmanager.
- Check what perl libraries need to be installed using the
tools/runtime/check-perl-dependencies.plcommand. These libraries will need to be manually installed.
- Install the IXP Manager perl library in the
perl Makefile.PL; make install)
- configure and start
rrdcached. We recommend using journaled mode with the
-P FLUSH,UPDATE -m 0666 -l unix:/var/run/rrdcached.sockoptions enabled. Note that these options allow uncontrolled write access to the RRD files from anyone on the sflow machine, so precautions should be taken to limit access to this server to ensure that this cannot be abused.
On FreeBSD it is advisable to set
/etc/sysctl.conf, to stop the kernel from replying to unknown sflow packets with an ICMP unreachable reply.
The following sflow parameters must be set in the
sflow_rrdcached: set to 0 or 1, depending on whether you want to use rrdcached or not.
sflowtool: the location of the sflowtool binary.
sflowtool_opts: command-line options to pass to sflowtool
sflow_rrddir: the directory where all the sflow .rrd files will be stored.
apikey: a valid API key. Instructions for configuring this can be found in the API configuration documentation.
apibaseurl: the base URL of the IXP Manager API. E.g. if you log into IXP Manager using
Note that the
ixpmanager.conf will need to be configured either if you are running
update-l2database.pl or the sflow BGP peering matrix system on the same server as the p2p sflow system.
An example ixpmanager.conf might look like this:
<sql> dbase_type = mysql dbase_database = ixpmanager dbase_username = ixpmanager_user dbase_password = blahblah dbase_hostname = sql.example.com </sql> <ixp> sflowtool = /usr/bin/sflowtool sflowtool_opts = -4 -p 6343 -l sflow_rrdcached = 1 sflow_rrddir = /data/ixpmatrix apikey = APIKeyFromIXPManager apibaseurl = http://www.example.com/ixp/api/v4 </ixp>
This file should be placed in
tools/runtime/sflow/sflow-to-rrd-handler command processes the output from sflowtool and injects it into the RRD archive. This command should be configured to start on system bootup.
If you are running on FreeBSD, this command can be started on system bootup by copying the
tools/runtime/sflow/sflow_rrd_handler script into
/usr/local/etc/rc.d and modifying the
/etc/rc.conf command to include:
Displaying the Graphs
The IXP Manager web GUI requires access to the sflow p2p .rrd files over http or https. This means that the sflow server must run a web server (e.g. Apache), and the IXP Manager GUI must be configured with the URL of the RRD archive on the sflow server.
ixpmanager.conf is configured to use
/data/ixpmatrix for the RRD directory, these files can be server over HTTP using the following Apache configuration:
Alias /grapher-sflow /data/ixpmatrix <Directory "/data/ixpmatrix"> Options None AllowOverride None </Directory>
The IXP Manager
.env file must be configured with parameters both to enable sflow and to provide the front-end with the HTTP URL of the back-end server. Assuming that the sflow p2p server has IP address 10.0.0.1, then the following lines should be added to
GRAPHER_BACKENDS="mrtg|sflow|smokeping" GRAPHER_BACKEND_SFLOW_ENABLED=true GRAPHER_BACKEND_SFLOW_ROOT="http://10.0.0.1/grapher-sflow"
Each IXP edge port will have 4 separate RRD files for recording traffic to each other participant on the same VLAN on the IXP fabric: ipv4 bytes, ipv6 bytes, ipv4 packets and ipv6 packets. This means that the number of RRD files grows very quickly as the number of IXP participants increases. Roughly speaking, for every N participants at the IXP, there will be about 4*N^2 RRD files. As this number can create extremely high I/O requirements on even medium sized exchanges, IXP Manager requires that
rrdcached is used.
There are plenty of things which could go wrong in a way which would stop the sflow mechanism from working properly.
- the Mac Address table in IXP manager is populated correctly with all customer MAC addresses using the
- ensuring that all switch ports are set up correctly in IXP Manager, i.e. Core ports and Peering ports are configured as such
- ensuring that sflow accounting is configured on peering ports and is disabled on all core ports
- ensuring that sflow accounting is as ingress-only
- Using Arista / Cisco / Dell F10 kit with LAGs? Make sure you configure the port channel name in the Advanced Options section of the customer's virtual interface port configuration.
- if the
sflow-to-rrd-handlerscript crashes, this may indicate that the back-end filesystem is overloaded. Installing rrdcached is a first step here. If it crashes with rrdcached enabled, then you need more disk I/O (SSDs, etc).
- it is normal to see about 5% difference between sflow stats and mrtg stats. These differences are hardware and software implementation dependent. Every switch manufacturer does things slightly differently.
- if there is too much of a difference between the sflow p2p individual aggregate stats and the port stats from the main graphing system, it might be that the switch is throttling sflow samples. It will be necessary to check the maximum sflow pps rate on the switch processor, compare that with the pps rate in the Switch Statistics graphs and work out the switch process pps throughput on the basis of the sflow sample rate. Increasing the sflow sampling ration may help, at the cost of less accurate graphs for peering sessions with low traffic levels.
No. All of this runs perfectly well on Ubuntu (or your favourite Linux distribution).
INEX runs its sflow back-end on FreeBSD because we found that the UFS filesystem performs better than the Linux ext3 filesystem when handling large RRD archives. If you run
rrdcached, it's unlikely that you will run into performance problems. If you do, you can engineer around them by running the RRD archive on a PCIe SSD.