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Implementing IPFIX. Luca Deri <> NETikos S.p.A. Implementation Overview. This work evaluated the effort required to implement IPFIX starting from NetFlow v9 because: NetFlow is the leading protocol for flow-based measurements.

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Implementing ipfix

Implementing IPFIX

Luca Deri <>

NETikos S.p.A.

Implementation overview
Implementation Overview

  • This work evaluated the effort required to implement IPFIX starting from NetFlow v9 because:

    • NetFlow is the leading protocol for flow-based measurements.

    • This is a reasonable scenario at least for the early days of IPFIX.

  • Implementing IPFIX basically means:

    • Provide support for vendor-specific (I.e. non IETF) field types.

    • Add SCTP support.

Vendor specific extensions
Vendor-Specific Extensions

  • Vendor-specific fields are defined using a PEN (IANA enterprise number) and a numeric field.

  • As templates and flows are slightly different from IETF-defined fields this requires the implementation of additional logic inside the IPFIX applications.

  • Suggestion: IETF should unify the template format using an unique format for both IETF and vendor-specific fields.

Sctp support
SCTP Support

  • It is a shift from connection-less to connection-oriented protocols.

  • Little coding is necessary for supporting the protocol ‘per-se’.

  • Reduce template traffic: they are sent at the beginning or in case of reconnection.

  • Major code changes the probe supports multiple collectors: it is necessary to resend the templates per-connection (i.e. only when it’s necessary).

Sctp issues
SCTP Issues

  • Flows are (often) acknowledged (almost) immediately increasing significantly the network traffic. This amplifies problems in some situations (e.g. in case of DoS attacks).

  • SCTP is supported only on a few platforms and there are no plans to support it in Windows or network equipment. This could limit the usage of IPFIX at least in its early days.

  • Unclear how reliable/robust is SCTP and how it behaves in production environments (network attacks?).

Ipfix evaluation
IPFIX Evaluation

IPFIX Evaluation:

  • It’s basically a “standard” NetFlow (that’s both good and bad).

  • Very little innovation after 10 years of flow-based measurement.

    Major IPFIX limitations are:

  • No dynamic templates: static templates push people to define a “super-template” that contains everything even if only a few fields are used.

  • Ability to define flows but not flow headers.

  • Still based on the concept of flow-packet even with SCTP.

  • One-way protocol (probe->collector): no support for configuration, monitoring, and error reporting (e.g. via SNMP like sFlow does).

  • Too tight to NetFlow: will IPFIX be able to grow and evolve without Cisco’s blessing?

Ipfix feedback
IPFIX Feedback

  • Written Internet Draft about IPFIX implementation experience.

  • Implemented IPFIX support in both probe and collector (ntop).

  • Availability: