Who’s The Client, Who’s The Server?

Jeff Trawick, WildPackets Professional Services

This month’s tip is based on a question that has been repeatedly asked by our customers over the last few months. Several members of our technical team have provided individual responses to the question, but we wanted to spread the word with this tip. The question is: When the Peek analyzer examines a conversation, how does it determine who is the client and who is the server?

So how does the Peek analyzer make this determination? The server and client are identified using an array of criteria. Yet in very rare cases, the Peek Expert may not accurately distinguish between the client and the server. If this occurs, you can override all other considerations by entering the name and node type for your servers into the Names Table. (Although entering all of your network devices will provide more flexibility, entering only your servers is sufficient for conversation analysis.) Name entry is easily accomplished from several places in the Peek analyzer, including the Nodes view or Peer Map. The Names Table dialog is easy to complete, as shown below:

While the Peek analyzer properly identifies the client and server in most cases, you can ensure an even more accurate interpretation of your traffic by investing the time needed to enter all of your nodes, or at least your key nodes (e.g. servers, routers, etc.) into the Names Table. Then you won’t have to worry about who’s the client and who’s the server!