DiFMon: Distributed flow Monitor

A fast, distributed, multipurpose IP flow monitor.

An IP flow is defined as a sequence of packets sharing some properties.
The monitor is in charge of updating a record containing flow-related metrics as soon as a packet is sniffed and collecting all the information of no-more-active flows.
When performing such task, the main issue is represented by the fact that on high speed links the number of active flows is very high (up to hundreds of thousands) and the packet inter-arrival time is very short.
This implies that the time interval spent to search the record associated with a captured packet can be longer than the packet interarrival time, in case of a huge number of flow records.
For this reason we decided to adopt a distribuited approach, the architecture we are developing is composed of three components:

The main challenge is the development of a fast, effective flow cache. In particular it is necessary to implement a suitable data structure and ordering mechanism to maintain the information about active flows. We apply an LRU (Least Recently Used) ordering as it is the main solution used in caching algorithms.

The software provides the following capabilties:

The whole project is done in C language. We will use the standard libraries, the socket libraries and the libpcap libraries to carry out packet sniffing.
We are developing the software for Linux OS, but we can later provide a Windows version too.

The supported protocols are IP version 4, TCP and UDP. The communication beetween the modules composing the application is carried out by using UDP protocol. However, TCP communications will be implemented too.

Resources on Sourceforge:
Project's home page on Sourceforge: http://sourceforge.net/projects/difmon
Files download: files
CVS repository: CVS
In English:
A paper about DiFMon, presented at IPS MoMe 2005
The presentation of the paper above
A small description of the project
In Italian:
A small (and old) description of the project
Some slides about the project

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