Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Create Post

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:

Level 14

Sounds like fun!

Wow, crazy man, CA-RAZY!  We used to call them "Beatnicks" back in the day but I think they're called "Hipsters" now.  I'll be waiting with bated breath to see the pics of adatole​ dressed up in garb!

As for "flowetry", well here's my shot in the dark:

Over the wire

Bits flow like drops of water

Never to be seen

Hey, a Haiku master I am not but maybe that will prime the pump!

And thanks for all the work you (ind. & coll.) have done on NetFlow, jreves bloody well ROCKS!

Flow alerts show SMTP from a client,


It's the mail server on which we are reliant.

Launch the investigation,

Time to reimage that workstation.


Level 11

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

Joe loves Netflow,

How about you?

Level 14

Idk why but the idea of writing poetry like this is rather intimidating to me. 

With a nod of appreciation to Robert Frost's classic, I offer you this:

“Whose bits are these?” I’d like to know.

“What is their source?  Where do they go?”

“Why are they filling up the WAN

And causing many users woe?”

I start up NTA to see

What type of packets they might be

That take the place of data streams

And rob me of my pleasant dreams.

NTA does quickly show

The cause of all those users’ woe:

Someone's streaming Netflix through

The pipe that folks report as “slow”.

It shows the source address and when

I use my corporate AD zen

The user’s name is clear to see.

Their Manager will contact them.

Soon the pipe is free and clear,

The users have no more to fear

The Internet is fast again

They click and offer silent cheer.

Swift Packets to you all!

Rick Schroeder

jreves​, here's something I offered for Thwack members' enjoyment in 2015.  It references NTA; I'll offer it again for those who aren't ready to dig through the archives to see my tribute to Donna Summer, "Thwack Style".

The inspiration for this was an unannounced Friday night Thwack maintenance period that I ran into when I should have been off enjoying life instead of remoting into work.

Rick Schroeder

At first I was afraid, I was petrified
Kept thinkin' I could never live without Thwack by my side
But then I spent so many nights sippin' on my coffee cup
The network's up!
And I learned NPM close-up

Now Thwack is back from its upgrade
I just hit Refresh on my browser, and the bits will all parade
I know I used the right password
I  know I have the Crypto key
So don't you ever have an upgrade without simply telling me!

Your upgrade's done, it's History.
So I'll start surfing
'Cause I know you'll welcome me
Weren't you the one who took away my precious Thwack?
Did you think I'd crumble?
Did you think I'd lay down on my back?

Oh no not I, I will survive
Oh, as long as I've got SSH, I know I'll stay alive
I've got all night long to surf
And NTM sure knows my turf
And I'll survive
I will survive
Hey, hey

It took all the strength I had not to start up Tools
And send a D-O-S attack--I know WAN Killer is for fools
And I spent oh so many packets trying simply to upload
I used to cry, but now I know I can reload

And you see me, somebody new
I'm not that helpless SysAdmin who must rely on you
And so you took my Thwack away, some typo's just to fix
But now I'm savin' my Configs with NCM--they're simple tricks!

Go on now, go!  Complete your chore
But let me know now
So I don't surf there anymore
Weren't you the one who didn't warn me in advance?
Did you think I'd crumble
In a big hypnotic trance?

Oh no not I, I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to ping, I know it's all alive
I've got NTA to show
Where my users' packets flow!
And I'll survive
I will survive

Level 13




May I present the kung fu of flowetry.

Your Flow is strong!


wèi liú

zì jié liú

hùliánwǎng liú

wǎngluò liú

zhī liú


A hacker in tweed flannel jacket

Attempted to pre-fix a racket.

He sent his e-mail

And wound up in jail

When NTA displayed his packet

As a Tech you may think you are able

To work with your feet on the table.

But mess up my net

And there's one thing you'll get:

A noose made of CAT6A cable.

The Collector

Flow exporter sends records towards me,

Constantly packets arrive on my listening port,

The analysis application wants what I have,

Data neatly organized in my database,

To make the reports the two legged ones want,

I am The Collector!

​Exporter Haiku

Bad flow exporter

Transmitting Records Towards

Collectors Unknown

A collector expecting v9,

Was sent records that were not well defined,

It struggled to parse,

But it was such a farce,

The exporter's version was so far behind!

There Once was a Flow from Nantucket,

Whose records went to the bit bucket,

The collector ignored,

So its records weren't stored,

It finally said, "Oh %&#* IT!"

Product Manager
Product Manager

packets on the wire

threats intertwined like ivy

there go your passwords

Level 11

Haikus are easy

But sometimes they make no sense

Flow generator

Level 13

Nice rschroeder​!  Frost is my favorite poet.

Level 13

Packets arrive

a bit at a time

the watcher sees them pass

     first quickly, then slowly

     like sparks from a flame

and tracks

     where are they bound

     and whence did they come

gathering data

     that the admin will use

to cast the incantation

bringing order again

from chaos

Two packets split in cables blue

Two destinations had they both

But with my NTA I knew

Their destinations both were true

And simply demonstrated growth.

They traveled over networks fair

To sites for work or IRS.

Our filters did not block them there

Because their content wasn't rare;

Their packets we would not suppress.

But when we heard the Help Desk speak

Of slowness and congestion great

To SolarWinds we turned to seek

The Flow Exporter's info peak

In graphs the data did translate.

From countries there were many pings

From sources distributed far

Away from our home network's things

All faking snmp strings

DDOS-ing us from Zanzibar!

An ACL NCM deployed

To blacklist traffic from that place.

Remediated to the void

Were those packets that annoyed

And left their author in disgrace.

The network runs, it ebbs and flows

And sometimes makes its Admins feel

As if their lives were filled with woes

But Neflow's data always grows

And helps us keep that righteous zeal.

WOW! You folks gave this stuff a lot of thought! Kudos to all. Impressive stuff. Okay... here goes my attempt!

There once was a router from Nantucket...

On second thought, never mind...  🙂

When Nantucket seems such a popular place for rhymers, it's time to conjure the muse for more variety:

A Nantucket router was sending

Great packets of Jumbos unending.

What Netflow displayed

Revealed that its RAID

Had utilization ascending

Correcting Nantucket derisions

All sourced from some terrible visions

Of WAN pipes containing

Flow packets just straining

To handle the packet collisions

To troubleshoot Nantucket slowness

Don't pray for a Rowling Patronus.

You know where to go

To see the Netflow:

NTA can earn you a bonus.

I Netflowed some packets through Cisco

And found they were cooking in Crisco

My Netflow denied

They were tasty when fried

Despite being made by Nabisco

A new Flow Exporter named "Fred"

Sent all of it packets to "Ted".

The Ted server died

But the packets still tried

To make it from Fred out to Ted

To monitor flows that were odd

He e-mailed the Networking squad

They quickly replied

"Your packets collide,

They're running at 300 baud!"

Level 16

Thanks for the Netflowetry. Good reading today.

Level 13

Thanks for the flowetry.

rschroeder I am pleased and impressed to see the cap doffed to the great Robert Frost..."Road Not Taken" is one of my all-time favorite poems.  And I doff mine cap to thee, good sir, for such magnificent work as this.  Well done!

And, clearly, you missed your calling as a Bard!

Level 12

Oh!  Something's amiss on the LAN!

Could it be a faulty cable?

Or a poorly calculated subnet mask?

"Find it now!  Find it fast!"  they shout.

When did it start?  When did it hit the fan?

Is there a problem in the routing table?

Or could it be user error, you ask?

"No, it wasn't us!" returns their whining pout.

Ingest caffeine, as quickly as you can,

Lest the quest become a fable.

You have aplenty there, in that shiny flask.

Drink it down, drink it down, and fuel your network clout.

There's the issue, a haughty, naughty man.

Whose shadow IT has made the network unstable.

Unplug that barking hub, deny the fool his mask.

It was not your network, you never had a doubt.

The answer was out there, as soon as trouble began.

With the right tools at hand, quickly you are able

To summarily complete this troubleshooting task

And that's what network mastery is truly all about!

Level 14

Well done.

Level 9


Bit stream

Byte stream

Internet flow

Network flow

Knowledge flow



I like some of these... I wish I had more time.

Level 13

With apologies to Eminem

You better lose yourself in the traffic, the packets

You own it, you better never let it go

You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to save dough

This TCP session terminates the router expires the flow

The sFlow sampling, through UDP packets its collecting

Combination of network and applications correcting

Make you king, as we move toward an SDN world order

A normal life is borin', but super stardom's close to the fabric border

The controller grants the flow

And goes to the table

The policies drop the DoS attacks

Security to performance to capacity, NetFlow provides veracity

VoIP, e-Commerce and CRM over YouTube and BitTorrent take priority

NetFlow, J-Flow, sFlow, NetStream and IPFIX give up their tricks

Port 80 port 443 show you the HTTP and traffic identity pipe density

Alerts about application propensity

So the flow show goes you knows despite my bad prose

Da da dumb da dumb da da

You better lose yourself in the traffic, the packets

You own it, you better never let it go

You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to save dough

This TCP session terminates the router expires the flow


That's pretty good Kellie dang!

Product Manager
Product Manager

I can't read this without singing in my head!

But, dude: Know your Disco!  This is Gloria Gaynor 😉

I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor (1978) - YouTube

It just goes to show I can't trust the Internet, jreves . Someone on Youtube credited that same recording to Donna Summer:

Donna Summer . I will survive.mp4 - YouTube - YouTube

Level 14

rschroeder​ this rocks!  You're setting the standard quite high!

Product Manager
Product Manager

Haiku is easy

Doesn’t take much time to write

Contemplate NetFlow

The Ballad of Jenny and Fred

The packets were many ‘tween Frederick and Jenny

As two people fell into love.

But network fails had derailed their e-mails

Like a storm sent from up above.

Wireshark caps revealed the flaps

That made for their indigestion.

And the worst there was, happened because

Of horrible network congestion.

“Oh Freddy” she wrote in a serious quote

“I fear that you’ve found another.

And if this is true, I’ll be so blue

I’ll tell my Marine brother!”

Her brother’s claim to unfortunate fame

Was being a powerful fighter.

No matter their size Bruce took home the prize

He did it for Jen to delight her.

Now Frederick’s e-mail was another sad tale

He never had emptied it out.

When corporate migrated, his e-mail was fated

To folders he couldn’t find out.

Without even blinking he e-mailed her, thinking:

“Why doesn’t she answer me back?”

He hadn’t a clue of the missing mail due

To Azure becoming so slack.

Their love letters crossed and then became lost

‘Til each felt quite alone.

And that’s when the net delivered the Vet

To Freddy by way of his phone.

Brucey dialed Freddy and then said “I’m ready

To remedy love’s vengeance lost!”

But Frederick (quite vexed) sent Bruce a new text that said:
“Have you considered the cost?”

This confused Bruce and his pallor turned puce

And he pondered it all in his head.

“Fred if you’re lyin’ you soon will be dyin’,

And after it all you’ll be dead!”

Fred knew his best racket was proving the packet

To Jenny had gone to Nantucket.

He saw from the get-go that only his Netflow

Could verify mail to that bucket.

He put Bruce on hold and then graphs he polled

Until he stepped back with applause

To the One Supreme Being because he’d been seeing

His body all covered in gauze.

He felt a pure rapture when he made a capture

Of NetPath just proving his worth.

The definite showing of Jenny’s mail going

To Nantucket not to Perth.

For Fred was an Aussie, and though Jen was bossy,

He loved her for time never ending.

And although he adored her his netflow Exporter

Showed far too much traffic contending

For bandwidth she needed to write unimpeded

And tell him about her new carriage.

By which she was hinting and winking and squinting

All the while thinking of marriage.

So Frederick asked Bruce if he'd be the Best Moose

And stand by his side at a wedding.

Bruce said he would, and Fred knew that he should

If he wanted to stop a beheading.

Fred got on his knees and said “Jenny, please

Would you be my onliest female?”

Then Jen said “Yes, Fred” and they quickly were wed—

It happened in person, not e-mail!

The hat is tossed into the ring.  Can you improve on it?  I love to read creative network fiction!

Wow, Rick!  I am beyond amazed at your poetry composing prowess.  You REALLY missed your calling!  And to keep it germaine to the topic at hand is, well, impressive to say the least.

Hello bandwidth hog.

I see you streaming those shows.

Netflow is watching.

Thank you for the kind words, asheppard970​.  If only there were a way to consistently and reliably employ one's self through bardic output, I'd give it a shot (AFTER I'd found the statistics and track record of success achieved by others).

You know--baselining and then comparing my expected results with others'.

I know there'd be a way to track it with NPM and NTA and Netflow!

Funny you should mention that, Nick...several years back, we had an employee who was streaming NetFlix at night and it was bringing down comms with remote meter sites.  Well, I fired up NTA, found the NetBIOS name of the machine that was doing the streaming (all: a word to the wise, if you're going to steal your company's internet, change your computername to something other than "BOBS LAPTOP"!), and contacted their supervisor.  Shortly thereafter, I learned that HR had freed up "BOB"'s future for them.  SolarWinds FTW!!

I hear what you're saying, Rick, but I'm not sure that that sort of success is quantifiable.  Can Maya Angelou quantify her success?  Does she know how many people she has touched throughout the world?  Even "The Bard" himself couldn't really quantify his success at the time.  I think, if my memory serves, Big Bad Bill was only modestly "successful" - if one counts remuneration only - in his day but not nearly as much so as he was posthumously.

And the arts are so subjective, aren't they?  What is trash to one is treasure to's just a matter of finding more people who think your work is a treasure than do not.  I know you walk the fine line of left/right brain-edness, Rick, but I can tell through your posts that you have a huge heart, and I encourage you to pursue this media outlet.  You have a tremendous gift and the world would be much better off for you sharing it, even if you were to receive little compensation...or would you?

Remember: Harlan "Colonel" Sanders was over 65 before he achieved success with KFC; and Ray Kroc was over 50 when he bought his first McDonald's franchise.  Doesn't matter how old you are or what you have or have not done in the past, if you want something badly enough, you will find a way of getting it.  When you have a strong enough "WHY" you can overcome any "HOW"!

I look forward to purchasing and reading your first compliation!


And I know you have one!!! 😉

Level 9

Not knowing what's on our network is frightful

But Netflow is so delightful

And since other tools are just so-so

Let if Flow let if Flow let it Flow!

Ah, such kind thoughts.  Thank you for them!

The poetry and prose flow to print without much effort on my part--merely a simple idea and I'm off to the dreams it inspires.  Occasionally I have a goal and am often surprised when the characters of whom I write take the story in directions I'd not planned.  They make it interesting!  I'd no idea Frederick lived in Australia until it showed up on the screen.  What a fun guy he turns out to be, when I give him control of my thoughts jumping from keyboard to screen!


Unbelievable!!! Love it!!


There’s some polymorphic
In our Summit
I wonder how it got in there?
It’s hijacked the network
It’s ordering laundry
With its hooks in the firmware
Wreaking data sorceries

It’s scanning all the ports
On IOT devices
Its propagating everywhere
Creating financial crisis

But we see it in the network flows
The fan-out makes it show
It’s probing ports like Willow trees
But flow-nerds find it with great ease

Alas, I confirm I’m not mistaken
This fridge’s code is not benign
Canceling orders for excess Tacos
I take the Summit offline

I have long admired those folks who have the creative talent to compose music, poetry, prose, visual and graphic art and the like.  I, myself, am a performer: you put a sheet of music in front of me and I can play it, even emote on it a little.  But I can stare at a blank page or staff sheet for hours and nothing will come.  I have written only one poem/prose piece in my life and I still have it emblazoned in my memory, even though I wrote it some 30 years ago.  I can't draw a stick figure but I can play The Stick.  So I guess we are all gifted in different ways and in different areas.

Thank you for sharing yours with this group!