NetSCARF Release 1.1 Available

William B. Norton wbn at
Tue Jul 23 13:33:10 UTC 1996

N E T S C A R F   R E L E A S E   1.1

Hi all -

In April, Merit received funding from the Resource Allocation Committee
(RAC) to develop and evolve a prototype ISP Network Statistics Collection
And Reporting Facility (NetSCARF) package.  The basic idea is to make it
dead easy for ISPs to collect and report data about their part of the
Internet.  We expect about three more releases during the next 8 months,
based on the feedback we get from the ISP and R&E community.  The end result
will hopefully be widely-available and consistent ISP performance data much
as Merit produced during the operation of the NSFNET.  The 1st public
release of the software is now available at:

A technical overview article is being published in the July Connexions
magazine (Vol. 10 No. 6)  and some on-line docs exist at the above URL as well.

The NetSCARF Code
The NetSCARF code is easy to install, runs automatically, and consists of
four separate programs.  Every fifteen minutes the collections program
queries all network nodes in parallel.  (This is especially important for
large networks where the serial skew can affect the ability to correlate
data.)  Nightly these raw statistics get pre-processed (cooked).  The cooked
data is delivered to CGI scripts using what we think is the first Public
Domain implementation of the OpStats (rfc1856) client/server model. Finally,
ISP performance reports (based on the cooked data) are displayed on the web
via the CGI scripts. The source and pre-compiled executables are available
for each of these on the BSDi and SunOS platforms.

SNMP Version 1 is used to query the network nodes, although the code
includes support for the User Security (USEC) model for SNMPv2. ( The
Routing Arbiter project will use the privacy (DES Encryption) facility, but
this capability is disabled for the public release due to export
restrictions.  You do get the benefits of authenticated management
communications with the released SNMPv2u code though.)

Release 2 is scheduled for October and will include ports to Windows NT,
AIX, and perhaps Solaris and LINUX.  We are primarily customer-driven in
choosing additional features, but our own experience so far leads us to
adding a few features to release 2 including raw network statistics
maintenance functions, raw data file compression, and another report or two.

During the operation of the NSFNET we found there were really only three
graphs that were widely seen as useful.  The first cut of the code includes
only these three most popular graphs: System UpTime, Interface Uptime, and
the McD's chart (total packets served) by the network.

There is a mailing list (netscarf at for community discussion and
guidance.  Details are available at the URL above.

Cheers -

William Norton			<wbn at>		(313) 936-2656

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