Sunday, August 21, 2011

Viz : Akamai's Real-Time Web Monitor

With this monitoring tool, Akamai generates real-time visualizations of the world's internet traffic and identifies regions prone to attacks, regions having very high volume of traffic and regions experiencing latency.Each region could either be a country or a state. By monitoring these three parameters continuously,the quality of service can be maintained.

As mentioned by Akamai in the 'Methodology and Data Collection' section , the attack traffic is identified by collecting the source and destination ID addresses along with the number of attempted connections. The packets generated by malicious trojans and worms are traced and the number of attacks per day are measured. The amount of network traffic is analysed by the volume of data being requested and delivered.Connection speeds are measured by running automated tests and take into account the number of downloads, ICMP pings and number of existing connections. Real-time Web Monitor displays two kinds of latency: Absolute latency which is the measurement of all networks in the area and Relative latency which is the differential between the region's current latency and its average latency.

The regions with highest volume of attacks or traffic are called out in the visualization with either orange or pink depending on which mode the tool is running in. Absolute latency is represented in blue and relative latency is represented in green.

I found these visualizations very helpful and intuitive because at any given time, the current top ten worst performing cities or top ten cities with the highest traffic volume or the number of attacks in the last 24 hours in any region can be identified. Based on the results,appropriate measures can be taken to balance the network load or to defend against security attacks.

The visualizations can be found here.