NetFlow vs IPFIX

We recently introduced our solution for NetFlow/IPFIX export using a Xilinx Alveo Accelerator Card. But some astute observers might ask, what is the difference between NetFlow and IPFIX? The simple answer is that NetFlow is a Cisco proprietary protocol introduced around 1996 and IPFIX is its standards body approved brother.

Both protocols serve the same purpose: enabling network engineers and administrators to collect and analyze network level IP traffic flows. Cisco developed NetFlow so that its switches and routers could output this valuable information. Given the dominance of Cisco gear, NetFlow quickly became the de-facto standard for network traffic analysis. However, industry competitors realized that using a proprietary protocol controlled by its chief rival was not a good idea and hence the IETF led an effort to standardize an open protocol for traffic analysis, which is IPFIX.

IPFIX is based on NetFlow version 9 and was originally introduced around 2005 but took some number of years to gain industry adoption. At this point, the two protocols are essentially the same and though the term NetFlow is still more prevalent most implementations (though not all) are compatible with the IPFIX standard.

To learn more about how Xilinx Alveo can be used as a Flow Exporter please read this description.

Host CPU Offload Product Features Summary
wdt_ID Speed 1G 10G 10G 10G 10G/40G 10G/40G 100G 100G 100G 100G
1 Model ANIC-4Ku ANIC-20Ku ANIC-40Ku ANIC-40Kq ANIC-80Ku ATLAS-1000
ANIC-100Kq ANIC-200Ku ANIC-200K
2 Port/Type 4 X 1G SFP 2 X 10GSFP+ 4 X 10GSFP+ 1 X 40G4
2 X
40G8 X
2 X
1 X
2 X
2 X
40G2 X
2 X
3 PCIe Interface Gen3 x8 Gen3 x8 Gen3 x8 Gen3 x8 Gen3 x8 Gen3 x8 Gen3 x16 Gen3 x16 Gen3 x16 Gen3 x16
4 Dimensions
(H x L inches)
4.25 x 6.5   4.25 x 6.25 4.25 x 6.25 4.25 x 6.25 4.25 x 6.25 1.75 x12.28x14 4.25 x 10.5 4.25 x 10.5 4.25 x 6.5 4.25 x 10.5
5 Memory 32MB 4G 4G 4G 4G 16/32G 12G 12G 8G 12G
6 Timestamp 5.7 nS 5.7 nS 5.7 nS 5.7 nS 5.7 nS 5.7 nS 4 nS 4 nS 4 nS 4 nS
7 100% Packet
8 Gigamon, Arista
9 Packet Merging
10 Packet Parsing

About Accolade

Accolade is the technology leader in FPGA-based Host CPU Offload and 100% Packet Capture PCIe NIC’s and Scalable 1U Platforms. Accolade’s line of 1-100GE products enable 100% packet capture, flow classification, flow shunting, deduplication, packet filtering and more. Our customers are global leaders in network monitoring & cybersecurity applications as well as in the network test and measurement, telecom and video stream monitoring markets.

FPGA Acceleration Features

100% Packet Capture | Flow Classification | Flow Shunting | Precise Time Stamping | Packet Merging | Packet Slicing | Packet Parsing | Packet Filtering | Deduplication | Host Packet Buffer | Packet Steering | Direct Memory Access (DMA) | Statistics (RMON1)

Free Product Evaluation

Resolve all your host CPU offload bottlenecks. Share Your Technical Requirements with our FPGA and software experts to tailor the optimal solution. Accolade offers a 60 day free product evaluation for qualified customers to fully test and evaluate our products.