perfSONAR is an infrastructure for network performance monitoring, making it easier to solve end-to-end performance problems on paths crossing several networks. It contains a set of services delivering performance measurements in a federated environment. perfSONAR has been developed through an international collaboration led by Internet2, ESnet, RNP, and GEANT.
ESnet has deployed perfSONAR services at over 45 locations, and recommends that all sites deploy at least one perfSONAR host as well. See the fasterdata perfSONAR HOWTO for more information.
The primary value of perfSONAR for network engineers is to detect packet loss in unexpected places. Of course, packet loss can be caused by congestion and the only way to eliminate it when this occurs is to increase capacity. In our experience, there are also many paths with non-congestive packet loss, due to bad fibers/optics, misconfigured switch buffers, and so on, and this loss goes unnoticed. perfSONAR is also very useful to quantify the performance impact of a site border firewall. Read More »