What is the difference between NetFlow and sFlow?

NetFlow and sFlow are both network monitoring protocols that collect and export flow data. However, they have some key differences, such as:

  • Sampling method: NetFlow collects data on every packet that enters or exits an interface, while sFlow samples a subset of packets at the switch level¹.
  • Amount of data collected: NetFlow generates more data than sFlow, as it captures every packet².
  • Impact on network performance: NetFlow can cause more network overhead and packet loss than sFlow, as it processes every packet².
  • Protocol support: NetFlow is a Cisco protocol that is supported by most Cisco devices and some other vendors, while sFlow is a multi-vendor protocol that is supported by a wider range of network devices².
  • Configuration: NetFlow requires configuring each interface to be monitored, while sFlow requires configuring only the switch².

(1) NetFlow vs. sFlow: What’s the Difference? | Kentik Blog. https://www.kentik.com/blog/netflow-vs-sflow/.
(2) Key Differences Between NetFlow and sFlow – Baeldung. https://www.baeldung.com/cs/cisco-netflow-vs-inmon-sflow.
(3) sFlow vs NetFlow: Which Is Better? | Auvik. https://www.auvik.com/franklyit/blog/sflow-vs-netflow/.
(4) What are Netflow and sFlow? | sFlow vs Netflow | InfluxData. https://www.influxdata.com/what-are-netflow-and-sflow/.

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