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Overview

Use NetFlow Monitoring in Datadog to visualize and monitor your flow records from your NetFlow-enabled devices.

Installation

To use NetFlow Monitoring with Network Device Monitoring, ensure you are using the Agent version 7.45 or newer.

Note: Configuring metric collection from Network Device Monitoring is not a requirement for sending NetFlow data, although it is strongly recommended as this extra data can be used to enrich your flow records with information such as the device name, model, and vendor, as well as the inbound/outbound interface name.

Configuration

To configure your devices to send NetFlow, jFlow, sFlow, or IPFIX traffic to the Agent NetFlow server, your devices must be configured to send traffic to the IP address that the Datadog Agent is installed on, specifically the flow_type and port.

Edit your datadog.yaml Agent configuration file to enable NetFlow:

network_devices:
  netflow:
    enabled: true
    listeners:
      - flow_type: netflow9   # choices: netflow5, netflow9, ipfix, sflow5
        port: 2055            # devices must send traffic to this port
      - flow_type: netflow5
        port: 2056
      - flow_type: ipfix
        port: 4739
      - flow_type: sflow5
        port: 6343

After saving your changes, restart the Agent.

Aggregation

The Datadog Agent automatically aggregates the received NetFlow data in order to limit the number of records sent to the platform while maintaining most of the information. By default there is a five-minute aggregation interval, during which flow recordings which share the same identifying information (source and destination address and port, protocol, and so forth) are aggregated together. Additionally, the Datadog Agent can detect ephemeral ports and remove them. As a result, you may see Flows with port:*.

Enrichment

Your NetFlow data is processed by the Datadog backend and enriched with the available metadata from your devices and interfaces. Enrichment is based on the NetFlow exporter IP and the interface indexes. To disambiguate possible collisions between reused private IPs, you can configure a different namespace for each Agent configuration file (with the setting network_devices.namespace).

If the NetFlow exporter IP is one of the device IPs, but not the one configured on the SNMP integration, Datadog attempts to locate the device that the exporter IP belongs to, and enriches your NetFlow data with it is as long as the match is unique.

Cloud provider IP enrichment

Datadog enriches IPs with public cloud provider service and region for IPv4 addresses, so you can filter for flow records from a specific service and region.

Netflow IPs enriched with cloud provider name, region, and service

Port enrichment

Datadog enriches ports in NetFlow with IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) data to resolve well known port mappings (such as Postgres on 5432 and HTTPS on 443). This can be seen when searching for source or destination application names on NetFlow.

The NetFlow page filtered by @destination.application_name and displaying names for ports such as HTTPS

Custom port enrichment

You can also add your own custom enrichments to map ports and protocols to specific applications (for example, if a custom service runs on a specific port). This makes it easier for network engineers and their teams to interpret and query NetFlow data with human-readable names.

From the Configuration tab in NetFlow, click Add Enrichment to upload the CSV file containing your custom enrichments.

The New Enrichment Mapping modal in the Netflow configuration tab

Visualization

You can find the NetFlow page on the Network Devices page.

NetFlow Page

This data is also available in Dashboards, Notebooks, and more for more precise queries and for correlating with other sources of data.

Notebook

Retention

NetFlow data is retained for 30 days by default.

Further Reading