A system is provided for the high-speed and high-fidelity collection of network traffic. The system can collect traffic at gigabit-per-second (Gbps) speeds, scale to terabit-per-second (Tbps) speeds, and support additional functions such as real-time network intrusion detection. The present system uses a dedicated operating system for traffic collection to maximize efficiency, scalability, and performance. A scalable infrastructure and apparatus for the present system is provided by splitting the work performed on one host onto multiple hosts. The present system simultaneously addresses the issues of scalability, performance, cost, and adaptability with respect to network monitoring, collection, and other network tasks. In addition to high-speed and high-fidelity network collection, the present system provides a flexible infrastructure to perform virtually any function at high speeds such as real-time network intrusion detection and wide-area network emulation for research purposes.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the management and operation of Los Alamos National Laboratory.