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Network Flowetry!

Product Manager

Hi! I’m Joe Reves, and I’m a Flow Nerd.

I’m the Product Manager for our NetFlow Traffic Analyzer, and I’ve been working at SolarWinds for a little over a year. I’m excited about flow analytics and the problems we can solve by examining and visualizing network flow information. I’m awfully enthusiastic about all types of flow technologies, particularly traffic sampling.

I spend a lot of time talking about flow—asking customers about their challenges, and how they use flow data and tools in their environment. I also talk with my colleagues about flow. Sometimes, until they get tired of hearing about it. Often, even after they get tired…

At a recent trade show, our own “Father of NetPath”—Chris O’Brien—decided he would have a little fun, and he started a rumor that I was compiling a book of flow poetry. Naturally, this prompted me to begin writing flow poetry:

Chris, mischievous

Craves the poetry of flow

Sampled flow, of course


I promptly notified our team that flow poetry, or “Flowetry,” was ON. Shortly after midnight, our intrepid leader responded with this epic:

Woes of Flow

(A poem for Joe)

It uncovers source and destination

without hesitation.

Both port and address

to troubleshoot they will clearly assess.

Beware the bytes and packets

bundled in quintuplet jackets,

for they are accompanied by a wild hog

that will drown your network in a bog.

The hero boldly proclaims thrice,

sampling is not sacrifice!

He brings data to fight

but progress is slow in this plight.


This just goes to show I shouldn’t be tossing out literary challenges in email after midnight.

Sometime after that—yes, after midnight, but before daylight—our Product Marketing Manager finished her daily email backlog and offered this:

BAP emails abound

Find the bandwidth bandit now

Joy! Now I have alerts


So far, Chris hasn’t coughed up any examples of Flowetry. We’re calling on him next.

In terms of rumors, I hear that our resident beat poet and Head Geek™ Leon Adato is shopping for a black turtleneck sweater and a beret. And some shades. I can’t wait to see this.

We’d like to invite you now to our first-ever Flowetry event!

Post your best network flow-themed poetry below—odes, ballads, sonnets, limericks, haiku… whatever your style, we’d like to hear from you. Anything goes, but keep those limericks clean.

Looking for more?  Complete the network-themed poem for a chance to win here:


As you look at that blank sheet of staff paper, consider one of the many inexpensive apps for transferring musical performance from played notes to paper.  I've enjoyed Master Tracks and Band In A Box and their peers from the mid 1990's, all the way up to the state of the art products like Finale.

If you can hear it or imagine it, and you can learn to play it on an instrument that has a MIDI OUT port, and you have a computer that accepts MIDI IN, Finale can transfer it to a digital staff page that can be saved, edited, shared, and printed.  It's a sweet tool, and last I looked it was under a grand for the fully version with all technical support.  It might be much less than that if you are a student or are purchasing it for a student to use.  I recall it was half off of list or more back in the day.

Try it for 30 days free here:

Oh, I'm very familiar with Finalé...I actually still have a very old copy from my college days!  If it's any indication as to how old it is, the required O/S is Windows 3.1!  Back then (30 years ago) it was a $3,000 plus product so I'm glad to hear they finalé [sic] brought the price down.  I also used ProComposer on Mac but I think that's long been defunct.  There was another one that was popular back in the early Mac days but the name escapes me now (been a few minutes since then...;-).

And while I appreciate the words of encouragement, I know what my gifts are and composition is really not one of them.  Now and then, I'll have a savant moment (as I mentioned, my one poem) and quick scribble something on a page, but those times are few and far between.  And, to be honest, I'm perfectly content listening to - and seeing and playing - the works of others.  I appreciate art in most all of its forms, however there are two notable exceptions: Opera and twang country music. I'm sorry but those two art forms just don't gel with me.  Other than that, even some of the more avant gardé and pop art, I'm good.

Long ago, on a network far, far, away (which shall remain un-named) I was in charge of our proxy filter.  It would alert me anytime someone tried to hit a site that was denied by policy.

You may be aware that certain sites spawn multiple browsers or open new links in the background or foreground as pop-ups, just to generate more income to the original site as an advertiser.  If someone attempted to access a specific site that was blocked, I'd get an alert. 

But if they visited a very-similar type of site that was NOT blocked, often that site would open multiple browsers or links as popups to other sites that WERE blocked--and I'd get a flood of a dozen or more notices saying which users/computer IP address had tried to get to these sites that were blocked for a certain reason.

As I walk on eggs here, I'll simply say that it was my job to configure the system to automatically notify the supervisor of any user hitting blocked sites (or very similar sites that should have been blocked) and let that supervisor deal with the issue.  The business was one of very public scrutiny and trust. 

Suffice it to say that our proxy filter and firewall and automated notification may have had a negative impact on the longevity of some employees' tenure due as they assumed browsing activities were impossible to trace back to a specific user.


And we all know what happens when people @$$-u-me, right Rick? 😉  Very Orwell-ian for sure; "BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU"!

Level 12

In the unending river of data, there are packets and flows.

May the flows be with you.

Nobody knows the flows I've seen, nobody knows but NTA.

Level 7

Detect, diagnose, and devolve

Network flow to help resolve

And track down the bandwidth hogs

To help reduce network clogs

Since St. Patrick's Day is coming up, I'll offer this in honor of SolarWinds and St. Paddy himself:

There ain't many net's that 're lucky enough t' have an admin like me.

Though I'm rarely compensated like I wish I could be

Many's th' time that I was afraid they'd worked me to th' brink

But then upon closer scrutiny, m' network was in the pink!

I treat m' network carefully, of that there is no doubt.

Implicit ACLs aren't m' friends, but I never leave 'em out!

And power that runs m' routing gear is always 208

'Cause P-O-E for VoIP's new phones demands that voltage weight.

Ooooh, I-love-m’-NETwork . . .

I've worked on it f'r nearly all me life

Ooooh, I-love-m’-NETwork . . .

And if ya don't believe me ask me wife!

Now Solarwinds came callin’ one day to ask if I had heard

That NTA could help me—and I didn’t believe a word!

So I built the records and exporters and waited for it to sing.

I couldn’t believe it when I saw--‘twas really a beautiful thing!

Whenever I might catch up on my work, at Thwack I'll spend me hours

Doing good turns for me network, stretchin' me wee brain's powers.

I've worked late in December on a WAN so far away

And NTA then told me "Improved throughput today!"

Ooooh, I-love-m’-NETwork . . .

How the Help Desk loves my new technique.

Ooooh, I-love-m’-NETwork . . .

They’re happy every time they take a peek!

Now I  NPM in the mornin’, and I NCM all night.

But I’m willin’ t’ bet on the weekends NTA says it's all right.

I’ve used it on an upgrade on a cold and wintry day.

And I’ve managed a distant network from a hundred miles away!

I must admit that I haven’t logged in to NCM today

But it’s chuggin’ away in the background, with wonderful things to say.

And you can sure be bettin’ Orion’ll handle all yer fears . . . .

For it’s the finest network manager I’ve ever used in years!

I wish I could take credit for this oldie, but I didn't write it.  It's worth sharing here for your enjoyment:

"If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
And the bus is interrupted as a very last resort,
And the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort,
Then the socket packet pocket has an error to report!

If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash,
And the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash,
And your data is corrupted 'cause the index doesn't hash,
Then your situation's hopeless, and your system's gonna crash!

You can't say this?
What a shame sir!
We'll find you
Another game sir.

If the label on the cable on the table at your house,
Says the network is connected to the button on your mouse,
But your packets want to tunnel on another protocol,
That's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall,

And your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss
So your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse,
Then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang,
'Cause as sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang!

When the copy of your floppy's getting sloppy on the disk,
And the microcode instructions cause unnecessary risc,
Then you have to flash your memory and you'll want to RAM your ROM.
Quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your mom!"

I also love the Spanning Tree poem written by Spanning Tree’s creator Radia Perlman.  She’s not only a networking genius from LONG ago, but she’s also ridiculously intelligent in this poetic and graceful description of her discovery and implementation of the Spanning Tree Protocol:


I think that I shall never see
A graph more lovely than a tree.
A tree whose crucial property
Is loop-free connectivity.
A tree that must be sure to span
So packets can reach every LAN.
First, the root must be selected.
By ID, it is elected.
Least-cost paths from root are traced.
In the tree, these paths are placed.
A mesh is made by folks like me,
Then bridges find a spanning tree.

Product Manager
Product Manager

This one was written by Gene Ziegler, in 1994.  It's part of a larger work called, "A Grandchild's Guide to Using Grandpa's Computer" and you can view the complete work here: Grandpa's Guide

Level 10

Here's a small couplet for our Spanish speakers. Extra points for anyone who can translate it and keep a rhyme scheme (AA, BB, CC, DD)!

Maneja tu flujo de red

Debes manejar tu flujo de red

Como un tiburón caza un pez

El tráfico nunca para de ser

De noche hasta el amanecer

Por eso necesitas NTA

Una herramienta super buena

Mejoraras tu ancho de banda

Detectaras bandidos en nada

Debes vigilar tu flujo de red

Es cosa que harás con sencillez

Con SolarWinds todo es posible

Haz alerta personalizable

Aplicaciones alto consumo?

Aplástalas ya como un Sumo

Quieres mejorar tu flujo de red?

Prueba NTA, tu serás el juez!

Manage all your network flow

Just like a shark hunts down below

Traffic must flow on and on

All night long and into dawn

NTA is your flow tool

It sees it all and that's the rule

You'll find the bandwidth hogs at last

Your clients' throughput will be fast

Watching flow with NTA

Takes no effort any day

Solarwinds has no limit

Build alerts in just a minute

If your app makes your head throb

Solarwinds helps fix the job

If your flow is quite impaired

Get NTA and you're prepared!

Level 10

That's pretty damn good, rschroeder!   I think that is pretty close, definitely a solid translation and rhyme scheme.

Level 16

This is the closest I can get (in Venezuelan spanish)

Maneja tu flujo de red – manage your network flow

Debes manejar tu flujo de red – you should manage your network flow

Como un tiburón caza un pez – Like a shark chasing a fish

El tráfico nunca para de ser  – the traffic never stops

De noche hasta el amanecer – From night to morning

Por eso necesitas NTA – that is why you need NTA

Una herramienta super Buena – A VERY GOOD TOOL

Mejoraras tu ancho de banda – It will improve to bandwidth

Detectaras bandidos en nada  – you will detect bandits

Debes vigilar tu flujo de red – you should watch your network flow

Es cosa que harás con sencillez – this is something easy to do

Con SolarWinds todo es possible – with Solarwinds, everything is possible

Haz alerta personalizable – Use personalized alerts

Aplicaciones alto consumo? – high demand applications?

Aplástalas ya como un Sumo – Step on them now like???

Quieres mejorar tu flujo de red?

Prueba NTA, tu serás el juez!

Maneja tu flujo de red – manage your network flow

Debes manejar tu flujo de red – you should manage your network flow

Como un tiburón caza un pez – Like a shark chasing a fish

El tráfico nunca para de ser  – the traffic never stops

De noche hasta el amanecer – From night to morning

Por eso necesitas NTA – that is why you need NTA

Una herramienta super Buena – A VERY GOOD TOOL

Mejoraras tu ancho de banda – It will improve to bandwidth

Detectaras bandidos en nada  – you will detect bandits

Debes vigilar tu flujo de red – you should watch your network flow

Es cosa que harás con sencillez – this is something easy to do

Con SolarWinds todo es possible – with Solarwinds, everything is possible

Haz alerta personalizable – Use personalized alerts

Aplicaciones alto consumo? – high demand applications?

Aplástalas ya como un Sumo – Step on them now like???

Quieres mejorar tu flujo de red?

Prueba NTA, tu serás el juez!

Level 10

Not bad!

Product Manager
Product Manager

The Network Flowetry Video Playlist is now active, for your enjoyment!

If you're curious about what all the excitement is about, visit the video playlist and follow the link to download your own copy of the SolarWinds Network Flowetry e-book!

If you're a contributor, I'll be reaching out to you directly over the next few weeks 😉



Level 8

NTA monitors

Top conversations

But it's the Cloud Team's one

That's causing palpitations.

Level 12

The power is on,

The lights are a blinkin'

My ports have been blocked

And this line doesn't rhyme....

Level 7

When troubleshooting begins

It may be seen as a kick in the shins

It can be quite a blow,

But not in our case thanks to NetFlow.

Level 7

When the Net Flow ,

How can it be slow

in the life of Glow

Only Winds Blow

Thanks to Solarwinds that blow

we get the Net Flow

We get the Net Flow !!

Level 10

This is Fun
Let the Flowetry Begun 😀


Flow is good

Flow is bad

I hope everything keeps working

Otherwise I'll be sad 

Level 8


Never trust a dirty ethernet cable....

Light may have a fixed speed....however the distance can be shortened (around the world)


Phrases I use...


When in panic or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.


Boy with pliers,

Electric (ethernet) wires,

Blue flashes,

Boy ashes....


Level 8


Level 7

Friday test patching

Way too early for thinking

About Flowetry

Level 13

Enabled our remote netflows

Graphs, charts, metrics for us all

Now we see the youtube

Level 8

flowetry flowetry poetry. Fun!

Level 12

Where did bandwidth go?

Did Pam stream her favorite show?

Let's look at Netflow...

Level 8

With Respects to D. T.

Do not go gently into the Windows unknown,
Old circuits smoke and burn with age;
Rage, rage against using Windows alone.

We search for phishing, malware and bemoan.
New circuits and processors fill my pc cage.
Do not go gently into the Windows unknown.

Throttled to max in hopes a circuit is not blown,
The weakened and helpless software cannot page.
Rage, rage against using Windows alone.

And you, who sit there, in awe of what's gone,
Did not have antiviral software you say!
Do not go gently into the Windows unknown
Rage, rage against using Windows alone.

Level 9

I did not write this but it was a poem I always thought was funny:


My computer ate my homework.
Yes, it’s troublesome, but true.
Though it didn’t gnaw or nibble
and it didn’t chomp or chew.

It digested it completely.
It consumed my homework whole,
when I pressed the Shift and Enter keys
instead of Shift-Control.

It devoured my hours of typing,
every picture, chart and graph,
and it left me most unsettled
when I thought I heard it laugh.

I would guess it was a virus,
or it could have been a worm,
that deleted every bit
but didn’t prompt me to confirm.

I suppose I might have pressed Escape
instead of pressing Save,
but, regardless, my computer
now will never misbehave.

For I found a good solution
and I smiled to hear the crash,
when I chucked it out the window
and it landed in the trash.

 — Kenn Nesbitt

Level 14

Packets here

Traffic there

Information Everywhere

But wait .. what is this?

My goodness something is amiss

A thought here,

Conjecture there

In search of a solution I do go.

There's the answer... Thanks Netflow!


(George Sutherland)

Level 11

I was blind

In the dark

Link so slow

Users narked

All maxed out

NetPerfMon said

Thresholds breached

Flashing red.


Flatline graphs

What could it be

Causing grief

For them and me?

Got myself


NetFlow detail

Showed the way


In Protocols

And Conversations

Bandwidth hogs


Culprits caught

By their IPs

I was blind

but now I see


That’s Flowetry!

Level 14

Roses are red, Violets are blue.

There are no false alerts, only true.

Level 8

Flow? Isn't she the Progressive lady?

Level 11

With NTA, I found a Streamer

I poked and prodded amongst the data

with much delight I found a cure

and cleared the clog with a pipe cleaner

Level 7

Not sure this is for me.

Level 10

words flowing over my head,

working too fast to make your head spin,

that stupid packetshaper is dead,

my phone is ringing as I hide under my desk,

quickly looking back at my screen,

I scream it's a backup.

calling out can someone stop that???  

Level 8

An ode to St. Patricks Day coming up with my Flowetry

Here's to a long life and a merry one.
A quick death and an easy one.
A pretty girl and an honest one.
A trouble-free day in IT–and another one!


pings and packets
echos and replies
acks and nacks
tcp and icmp
snmp and soap
all on the Netpath so that data flows.....

IP Address comes
And then it gets collected
Analysed later

Level 9

Made some flowetry
Needed free Internet points
Used in the THWACK store

Level 8

It isn't the Network

That makes your App Not Work

It's the server that's slow

So away please go !!

Level 9

it's too early in the morning

I need more zzz's

maybe some more caffeine

and remember to keep my hands clean


the next few weeks will be challenging with balancing work, checking on the kiddos (3 weeks of on-line classes determined yesterday) and keeping up with thwack... keep healthy everyone.  🙂

Level 9

The poem-generator was a fun way to start the day. For best results, be sure to pick a computer virus. I went with human viral and got some interesting results~ 

Level 10

Alerts come in

Emails go out

The stress of monitoring

Will make you shout


There once was a man from Nantucket

When asked to write a poem

His mind got stuck - ed

Try as he might

Each time he did fight

To find the right words 

Till finally he said . . .

Awww - Never mind this is too much trouble

Level 11

The network is down again,

It almost certainly is not.

That's how it began,

Put us on the spot.

Scramble to check the LAN,

To prove that it is not.

It's about to hit the fan,

A database took a lot.

The CIO wanted to can

The DBA on the spot.


Level 7

Through the web

To the closet

The packets must go

Level 9

Roses are red,

violets are blue,

I dont do comments,


About the Author
Experienced Product Manager and technology pragmatist. Much of my professional background has been IT network operations for large enterprise companies, or for MSPs. I've worked as a tools architect, designing network monitoring systems. I've also worked in software development as a product owner and functional architect. I'm a flow nerd, and my peers have pressured me into writing poetry about network traffic flow. I'm a private pilot, and a drone pilot and builder.