Exposing Server Performance to Network Managers Through Passive Network Measurements

J. Terrell, K. Jeffay, F.D. Smith, J. Gogan, and J. Keller,
Proceedings of the IEEE Workshop on Internet Network Management
Orlando, FL, October 2008

ABSTRACT: We describe a novel approach to managing the application-level performance of servers within an enterprise network given only passively-collected TCP/IP headers of packets from a link connecting clients to servers. The analysis is driven by constructing, in real-time, a source-level model of the requestresponse exchanges between each server and all of its clients. By continuously monitoring traffic, we generate a statistical profile of numerous application-layer measures of server performance. Given these measures, and their distributions over time, a network manager can quickly triage server performance problems in generic terms without any knowledge of the servers operation or a priori interaction with the server's operators. This approach is illustrated by using a continuous, 2-month dataset taken from a border router on the UNC campus to diagnose an actual problem with a UNC web portal.

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