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IAS supports RADIUS accounting, which an administrator can use to track network usage for auditing and billing purposes. RADIUS accounting provides these benefits:
Real-time data collection.
Accounting data can be collected at the centralized place.
Other products can be used to analyze RADIUS accounting data and provide charge-back, performance, and exception reports.
When a client is configured to use RADIUS accounting, it generates an Accounting-Start packet describing the type of service being delivered and the user to whom it is being delivered at the start of service delivery. The packet is sent to the RADIUS accounting server, which returns an acknowledgment verifying that it has been received. At the end of service delivery, the client generates an Accounting-Stop packet describing the type of service that was delivered and some optional statistics, such as elapsed time, input and output octets, and input and output packets. It then sends that data to the RADIUS accounting server, which returns an acknowledgment that the packet has been received.
The Accounting-Request packet (whether for Accounting-Start or Accounting-Stop) is submitted to the RADIUS accounting server through the network. If no response is returned within a specified period of time, the request is resent several times. The client can also forward requests to an alternate server or servers, in the event that the primary server is unavailable. An alternate server can be used either after a number of failed attempts to the primary server or in a round-robin fashion. If the RADIUS accounting server is unable to successfully record the accounting packet, it does not send an Accounting-Response acknowledgment to the client. For example, when the log file is completely filled, IAS starts discarding accounting packets, prompting the NAS to switch to the backup IAS server.
IAS Log File
IAS can create a log file based on the data returned by the network access servers. This information is useful for keeping track of usage and for correlating authentication information with accounting records (for example, to discover missing records).
IAS supports two formats of the log file:
You can use database format to keep track of a predetermined set of attributes. Use the database format if you want to import the data directly into a database.
You can use the IAS format if you want to record more detailed information than the database log format allows. IAS format can contain information about all attributes.
Note: The IAS log file contains all IAS user-related events. IAS service and system-related events are recorded in the Windows 2000 system event log.
For more information on the format of the IAS log files, see Windows 2000 Server Help.