Network Intensity Calculation and JMeter

Hi There,

I have been asked to calculate network traffic intensity during a certain period of day, 2:00PM.

I don't have access to these devices but have been asked to conduct this in JMeter.

Devices are.

1) Cisco ASA 5508-X Firewall
2) Linux Web Server (serving external)
3) 250 Computers (Desktops) running at 1GB There are a couple of remote sites, only have 10 desktops at each site.
4) Gigabit switches
5) Exchange Server
6) AD Server
7) File Server

What will I need to do to receive these results in JMeter?
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Gary PattersonVP Technology / Senior Consultant Commented:
So someone has given you the task of measuring network performance in a network where you don't have access to any of the core devices and servers?  That's like being asked to measure rainfall without putting out a rain gauge you can check regularly.

That's an unrealistic limitation.  To monitor a network, you need access to the devices in the network - or at least the ability to install your own monitoring devices within the network.

jMeter is a load testing tool.  You don't use it to measure production network performance.  You use it to generate fake traffic so that you can see how a web site responds - for testing purposes.  For example, we use it in a performance testing environment to test changes to web applications before we deploy the changes to production, to make sure that the change didn't hurt the performance of the application.

Read the jMeter home page, in particular the second section "What can I do with it?"

I do network, server, and application performance work for a living.  To monitor network performance, you need access to SOME device or devices in the network where you can take utilization measurements.  In a Cisco network, for example, a great way to capture network utilization data is to use NetFlow - a feature built into ASA's, routers, and switches, which allows them to report network traffic to a NetFlow server.  But you need access to the devices to configure NetFlow.

You can also set up a centralized network monitoring tool like HP Openview, and configure your network devices and servers for SNMP, so that Openview can connect and harvest utilization data from time to time using SNMP commands.

When monitoring traffic over a leased WAN link (MPLS, T1, etc), your provider will often provide utilization statistics, for example Sprint customers can view line utilization stats using Compass from Sprint's web site.  This is the closest you can come to a "hands-off" solution to netowrk monitoring - and it is only because the provider is monitoring traffic for you using tools like Netflow or SNMP.

Likewise, if you are using a third-party web hosting company, they can often provide utilization information and logs that will help you determine bandwith utilization, CPU utilization, etc.  Talk to your hosting provider about monitoring capabilities.

Windows desktops and servers can be configured to capture network performance information using the Performance Monitor tool.  They can also be configured for SNMP, to allow a network monitoring application to harvest utilization data.

I guess you might be able to do some relative performance measurement using a tool like jMeter - build a test set that runs a set of tests over and over during the day, and compare the results at different times.  But first of all that is "intrusive testing" - you're going to be adding more traffic to what I assume is an already-busy network - so your numbers are going to be influenced by the testing itself.  All you're going to be able to measure is increases in response time (web server takes 10ms to respond at 10am, takes 50ms to respond at 2pm; mail server takes 30ms to respond at 10am, 100mm to respond at 2pm).  Not a very reliable way to measure network utilization in a live network, and difficult to interpret results unless you have a lot of experience with this kind of testing.

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