L A Bridge customers sometimes hire us to do bandwidth monitoring for the purpose of managing their internal networks. Co-location customers (companies that have a server at one of the L A Bridge data centers) get access to this detailed bandwidth tracking system for their machine(s) as part of the service. For them, this means that transfer statistics for the last year are always just one browser click away. Inbound and outbound traffic are independently tracked and show up as different colors on each graph. You can use this information in any number of ways. Here are just a few examples:
1. Track advertising impact. If you run an advertisement in a local newspaper you can use the server statistics page to track and demonstrate the increase in traffic that were a result of your marketing campaign. The information we collect gives you a very different perspective than just website statistics alone. All traffic to and from your computer is measured with our statistics program. Website statistics can't tell you that there was an increase in your streaming video, FTP or e-mail traffic to your servers.
2. Detect attempted denial of service or intrusions and secure your server against new vulnerabilities. Hackers are always trying new techniques to break into computers on the Internet. If you see a sudden and steady increase in traffic coming to or from your server it may prompt you to investigate the latest security patches for your operating system.
3. Root out network issues in minutes. Bandwidth monitoring allows you to quickly identify bottlenecks, malfunctioning network equipment, or bandwidth hogs on your LAN. Bit Torrent, YouTube and streaming Netflix applications use lots of bandwidth and someone in your home or office may be causing bandwidth overload with these turned on. MRTG monitoring allows us to pinpoint the source down to the specific port on your ethernet switch.
How do I access it?
You will be sent a hyperlink to your password protected bandwidth statistics after your server is plugged into a managed switch and we have configured our system to walk it. Bookmark the link we send and save the password.
What do the graphs mean?
This is best answered by way of example. Let's take a look at the image above that shows real-world details of the server: www.LABridge.com. You can see that this machine was pushing roughly 30 Kbits per second but spikes much higher sometimes. If that server were to have trouble we'd be able to see when it started amongst other things.
How is the traffic that our server generates measured and plotted?
All of these statistics are gathered using an industry standard mechanism called "95th percentile metering" Read this short document by the author of our 95th percentile metering software to get an overview of how this system tracks bandwidth: http://www.seanadams.com/95/
Can I set this up myself?
Possibly. L A Bridge uses a software called MRTG. and another called RTG. Setting up SNMP monitoring software like MRTG has a significant learning curve. It takes most Unix system administrators several days of solid trial and error to get this software working and secure. Additionally, MRTG writes hundreds of images to disk every five minutes. We have had to replace approximately one drive every six months because it was destroyed by the 24/7 disk writes. We now have a separate machine that is used for this purpose exclusively. It has several firewire drives and requires nightly backups. It's a bit of a headache to manage and most people don't want to deal with it. That's why we offer the service. We have to monitor all the machines on our network so that we can attempt to track where problems originate when they occur anyway.
Contact L A Bridge through I.M. e-mail or phone 310.228.3626