Tag Archives: ntopng

Using NetFlow with nProbe for ntopng

This blog post is about using NetFlow for sending network traffic statistics to an nProbe collector which forwards the flows to the network analyzer ntopng. It refers to my blog post about installing ntopng on a Linux machine. I am sending the NetFlow packets from a Palo Alto Networks firewall.

My current ntopng installation uses a dedicated monitoring ethernet port (mirror port) in order to “see” everything that happens in that net. This has the major disadvantage that it only gets packets from directly connected layer 2 networks and vlans. NetFlow on the other hand can be used to send traffic statistics from different locations to a NetFlow flow collector, in this case to the tool nProbe. This single flow collector can receive flows from different subnets and routers/firewalls and even VPN tunnel interfaces, etc. However, it turned out that the “real-time” functionalities of NetFlow are limited since it only refreshes flows every few seconds/bytes, but does not give a real-time look at the network. It should be used only for statistics but not for real-time troubleshooting.

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ntopng Installation

Some time ago I published a post introducing ntopng as an out-of-the-box network monitoring tool. I am running it on a Knoppix live Linux notebook with two network cards. However, I have a few customers that wanted a persistent installation of ntopng in their  environment. So this is a step-by-step tutorial on how to install ntopng on a Ubuntu server with at least two NICs.

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Out of the Box Network Analyzer “ntopng”

Some time ago I installed a new firewall at the customer’s site. Meanwhile the customer was interested in the flows that are traversing through the firewall right now. Oh. Good question. Of course it is easy to filter through log messages of firewalls, but theses logs are only for finished sessions. Yes, there are “session browsers” or the like on all firewalls, but they are not nice and handy to analyze the sessions in real-time.

The solution was to bring a network analyzer on a mirror port near to the firewall. I decided to use ntopng running on the live Linux distribution Knoppix. Great choice! An old notebook with two network adapters fits perfectly. A handful commands and you’re done:

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