Why should you read this book? The objective is to set the foundation for understanding performance and accounting principles, provide guidance on how to do accounting and performance management, and to illustrate these with real-world examples and scenarios so that you can apply this knowledge in your own network.

This book can be a reference for experts as well as a "read it all" book for beginners. Its objectives are as follows:

  • To help you understand the relationship between accounting and performance and to teach you how to use them in conjunction with each other.

  • To address both enterprises and service providers. Basically, both groups can collect similar types of data with potentially the same accounting features, while targeting different goals. An example is gathering NetFlow data for monitoring purposes for an enterprise customer while a service provider collects similar NetFlow records for billing purposes.

  • To offer guidance in choosing the "right" features and applying them using best practices.

  • To provide an in-depth description and comparison of the various accounting and performance methods. This helps you clearly distinguish the various methods and choose the right method for your network and the problems you need to solve.

  • To briefly describe accounting and performance scenarios and examples, such as IP telephony, security, traffic engineering, and billing.

To get the most out of this book, you should have a basic understanding of NMS and OSS concepts and be familiar with the command-line interface of Cisco devices. The primary audience for this book includes the following:

  • NMS/OSS architects and network designers, operations people, service designers, network management administrators, accounting and billing operations/IT department, capacity planning department, security department

  • Students with a general interest in network management and a special interest in accounting and performance strategies

When developing the outline for this book, we had two different groups of readers in mind: beginners and experts. You can read this book from cover to cover and get a good understanding of accounting and performance management. You also will learn how to implement the described solutions in your network. The chapter structure follows a logical path for newcomers to accounting and performance management. If you are already familiar with the basic technologies and are more interested in the implementation details and how to apply them, you can jump directly to the chapter of your main interest. Last but not least, we would like this book to become a reference and "dictionary" for performance and accounting techniques, allowing an easy comparison of features.

Figure I-1 provides a map to help you quickly make your way through the large amount of information provided.

Figure I-1. How to Read This Book

[View full size image]

This book's overall structure is as follows:

  • Part I, "Data Collection and Methodology Standards," addresses the generic concepts of data collection for accounting and performance purposes. It also describes some typical scenarios and discusses related standards.

    - Chapter 1, "Understanding the Need for Accounting and Performance Management," discusses the basic concepts of accounting and performance management, distinguishes the two areas, and applies the relevant parts of both technologies to network design and applications.

    - Chapter 2, "Data Collection Methodology," discusses relevant questions for any accounting or performance management project: What type of information should you collect? What level of detail is required in the data records? How should you meter, collect, and process the data records?

    - Chapter 3, "Accounting and Performance Standards and Definitions," covers details about architectures, standards definitions, and protocols related to performance and accounting. It also provides an overview of the different standards bodies and architectures, along with the concepts and principles of each protocol.

  • Part II, "Implementations on the Cisco Devices," drills into the implementation specifics of accounting and performance features of Cisco network elements. Each chapter describes the principles first, followed by implementation details, and concludes with command-line examples, including MIB examples where appropriate.

    - Chapter 4, "SNMP and MIBs," describes the capabilities of the different SNMP protocol versions on Cisco network elements. SNMP and MIB configuration examples as well as feature comparison tables help you understand and apply the information. The chapter also summarizes the most relevant accounting and performance MIBs.

    - Chapter 5, "RMON," describes the capabilities of the Remote Monitoring (RMON) series of MIBs. A command-line reference plus SNMP MIB details and configuration examples make the chapter content quickly applicable.

    - Chapter 6, "IP Accounting," describes IP accounting features in Cisco IOS. It covers the different IP accounting functions and includes a command-line reference as well as SNMP MIB details.

    - Chapter 7, "NetFlow," describes NetFlow features in Cisco IOS. It covers the different NetFlow versions, the latest NetFlow features, and the natural NetFlow evolution toward IPFIX. Platform-specific details also are discussed, along with some command-line references, examples, and SNMP MIB details.

    - Chapter 8, "BGP Policy Accounting," describes BGP Policy Accounting features in Cisco IOS. You'll see how to apply the features for a source- and destination-sensitive billing scheme, as well as the practical configuration details on the routers. Furthermore, you will understand the similarities between BGP Policy Accounting and the "Destination-Sensitive Billing" feature.

    - Chapter 9, "AAA Accounting," describes Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA), with an emphasis on accounting. The chapter starts with a general introduction to AAA, RADIUS, and Diameter. The various standards are discussed, and a dedicated section covers voice-specific extensions. You will be able to identify which AAA functions to use for which requirements and what Cisco has implemented.

    - Chapter 10, "NBAR," provides an overview of the Network-Based Application Recognition (NBAR) feature in Cisco IOS. This will enable you to decide in which situations NBAR is the appropriate mechanism for accounting and performance management. Based on concrete examples, you will be able to identify the appropriate CLI commands and MIB functions and quickly get NBAR setups operational.

    - Chapter 11, "IP SLA," describes Cisco IP SLA. This is an embedded feature set in Cisco IOS Software that allows you to analyze service-level agreements for protocols, applications, and services.

    - Chapter 12, "Summary of Data Collection Methodology," summarizes the high-level technical characteristics of the features covered in Chapters 1 through 11. It provides a way to structure, categorize, and compare the features. In addition, this chapter offers an entry point into the accounting and performance features. It can be used as an introduction to the features of interest.

  • Part III, "Assigning Technologies to Solutions," applies the details from Part II to real-world scenarios, such as monitoring, capacity planning, voice, security, and billing.

    - Chapter 13, "Monitoring Scenarios," is based on a series of questions that network operators ask themselves: "How should I check the device's health in the network?", "How do I evaluate the link capacity?", "When should links be upgraded?", "How should I verify network connectivity?", "How can I evaluate the response time between the locations?", "How can I ensure VoIP quality?", "How can I determine the application types in the network?", and "How do I discover the traffic sent to and received from the Internet?"

    - Chapter 14, "Capacity Planning Scenarios," covers link capacity planning and network-wide capacity planning. It describes the requirements and relationships with network performance monitoring, peering agreements, and traffic engineering.

    - Chapter 15, "Voice Scenarios," illustrates scenarios in the area of the Cisco voice accounting and performance measurement. It describes the technical background of voice accounting and performance management, which combines the device instrumentation features from Part II with management applications, such as Cisco CallManager and others.

    - Chapter 16, "Security Scenarios," provides a security scenario that is closely related to accounting and performance measurement. It describes how to leverage metering information to identify and block security attacks and to use performance management to proactively secure the network.

    - Chapter 17, "Billing Scenarios," highlights how accounting and performance management technologies can be used for billing. It applies technologies and products associated with accounting and performance management.

Part II: Implementations on the Cisco Devices