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There's a lot of network monitoring recommendations in other questions, but none are what I'm looking for.

I'm looking for a distro specifically targeted to doing passive network monitoring (either inline or via port mirroring). Ideally it'll come mostly pre-configured with snort/base/ntop/bandwidthd/etc and hopefully some "glue".

I only need network data (bandwidth usage, snort alerting, and such), monitoring the health of items on the network is not the goal.

Any suggestions?

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4 Answers 4

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OSSIM has these features and more. It can be a bit difficult to figure out how to manage events, but once you've worked with it for a while it gets more intuitive.

Strata Guard is a great product on the snort side of things and very easy to manage events in, but the free-as-in-beer Lite version is limited to 10Mbps, meaning some activity will not be monitored if the bandwidth exceeds this threshold.

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never heard of strata guard, looks reasonably swanky. OSSIM seems to meet my requirements, so I'm going to attempt to roll that out this week ... –  user53810 Sep 12 '10 at 19:04

I've been wanting to poke around with Honeywall for a while now, but haven't had the chance to. It looks as good as anything else out there for this purpose.

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interesting ... it's now on my 'experiment with this' list .. thanks –  user53810 Sep 12 '10 at 19:03

Not a full-blown distro, but OSSEC seems to fit the bill. Personally I'd rather have a tool that builds & works well in $MyFavoriteDistro rather than having to adapt to somebody else's idea of what the OS should look like just so I can use the software.

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its more about the "glue" and there being something documented end to end ... its the only non doze box in this location and im mostly concerned about me and a bus having a disagreement –  user53810 Sep 12 '10 at 19:02

I'm pretty happy with pfSense (FreeBSD) and in a port mirroring situation would be trivial to implement.

pfSense 1.2.3 has snort/ntop/RRD Graphs/Darkstat graphs/SNMP/nmap ready to use nearly out of the box.

This is designed to be more of an appliance, but a 10 minute install, plus 10 minutes to pick the packages you want to install, and you've got a pretty usable management/monitoring station.

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