NetFlow is a network analysis tool that you can use to watch network monitoring and virtual machine traffic.

About this task

NetFlow is available on a vSphere Distributed Switch version 5.0.0 and later. Version 5.1 and later of the switch supports IPFIX (NetFlow version 10).


  1. In the vSphere Web Client, navigate to the distributed switch.
  2. Right-click the distributed switch in the navigator and select All vCenter Actions > Edit Netflow.
  3. Type the IP address and Port of the NetFlow collector.
  4. Type the Switch IP address.

    With an IP address to the vSphere distributed switch, the NetFlow collector can interact with the vSphere distributed switch as a single switch, rather than interacting with a separate, unrelated switch for each associated host.

  5. (Optional) Set the Active flow export timeout and Idle flow export timeout in seconds.
  6. (Optional) Set the Sampling Rate.

    The sampling rate represents the number of packets that NetFlow drops after every collected packet. A sampling rate of x instructs NetFlow to drop packets in a collected packets:dropped packets ratio 1:x. If the rate is 0, NetFlow samples every packet, that is, collect one packet and drop none. If the rate is 1, NetFlow samples a packet and drops the next one, and so on.

  7. (Optional) Enable or disable Process internal flows only with the drop-down menu.

    When enabled, only data on network activity between virtual machines on the same host is collected.

  8. Click OK.