Apr 29

Science Meets Art On The Wire

Protocol analysis performs a critical role. While this discipline may not be an absolute requirement for a given organization on a daily basis, and often times there are more efficient ways at arriving at the desired outcome, when it is needed there is no substitute.

Where do I start? What am I looking at? What does it mean?

Beginning the task of learning how to analyze protocols can be as arduous as counting blades of grass. I remember endless hours sitting in front of a Network General Sniffer confused and disheartened as things that we don’t understand appear dry and abstract. However, if an individual is willing to put in the hard work and willing to be open to the idea that it will probably not come overnight, it is highly rewarding and becomes very interesting. It just takes a bit of patience to traverse the metaphorical hump. In my case, it took a lot of reading, re-reading, thinking and conceptualizing before I arrived at any sort of eureka moment.

In this series of blogs, my objective is to present what I have learned about the science (and yes art) of analyzing and understanding exchanges across the wire, as it applies to performance, security and availability management. Specifically, I will seek to demonstrate how wire level information can be used to derive valuable insight regarding behavior of networks, applications, systems and the consumers of these systems. This particular discipline has been a large component of my career over the last 20+ years and something that I desire to share.

Stay tuned!


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