Click here to close now.



Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Nicole Bryan, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Greg Schulz

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Microsoft Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal, OpenStack Journal

Microservices Expo: Blog Feed Post

Bare Metal Blog: Testing for Numbers or Performance?

What you test can say a lot about you

Along the lines of the first blog in the testing portion of the Bare Metal Blog series, I’d like to talk a bit more about how the testing environment, the device configuration, and the payloads translate into test results.

One of the problems most advanced mass education systems run into is the question of standardized testing. While it is true that you cannot fix what you have not determined is broken, like most things involving people, testing students for specific areas of knowledge does kind of guarantee that those doing the teaching will err on the side of preparing students to take the test rather than to succeed in life. The mere fact that there IS a test changes what is taught. It is of course possible to a make this into a massively positive proposition by targeting the standardized tests at the most important things students need to  learn, but for our discussion purposes, the result is the same – the students will be taught to whatever is on that test first, and all else secondarily.

This is far too often true of vendor product testing also. The mere fact that there will be a test of the equipment, and most high-tech markets being highly competitive, makes things lean toward tweaking the device (or the test) to maximize test performance, in spite of what the real world performance will be.

The current most flagrant problem with testing is a variant on an old theme. Way back when testing the throughput of network switches made sense, there was a lot of “packets per second” testing with no payload. Well, you test the ability of the switch to send packets to the right place, but do not at all test the device in a manner consistent with the real world usage of switches. Today we have a whole slew of similar tests for ADCs. The purpose of an ADC is to load balance, optimize, and if needed secure the passage of packets. Primarily this is for application traffic because they’re Application Delivery Controllers. Yet, application traffic being layer seven kind of means that you need to do some layer seven decision-making if the device is to be tested in the real world. If the packet is a layer seven packet, but layer four switching is all that is performed on it, the test is completely useless to determining the actual capabilities of the device. And yet there is a lot of that type of testing going on out there right now.  It’s time – way past time – to drive testing into the real world for ADCs. Layer seven decision making is much more complex and requires a deep look at the packets in question, meaning that the results will not be nearly as pretty as simple layer four switching packets are. While you cannot do a direct comparison of all of the optional features of two different ADCs simply because the level of optional functionality support is so broad once a solid ADC platform is deployed, but you can test the basic capabilities and responsiveness of the core products.

And that is what we, as an industry must begin to insist on. I use one single oddity in ADC testing here, but every branch of high-tech testing I’ve been involved in over the years – security, network gear, storage, application – all have similar “this is not good enough” testing that we need to demand is dropped in favor of solid testing that reflects a real-world device. Not your real-world device unless you are running the test lab, but a real-world device that is seeing – and more importantly acting upon – data that the device will encounter in an actual network, doing the job it was designed for.

As I mentioned in the last testing installment, you can make an ADC look astounding if your tests don’t actually force it to do anything. For our public testing, we have standards, and offer up our configuration and testing goals on DevCentral. Whether you use it to validate the test results F5 uses, or to set up the tests in your own environment, publicly talking about how testing is performed is a big deal. Ask your vendor for configuration files and testing plan when numbers are tossed at you, make certain you know what they’re testing when they try to impress you with over-the-top performance numbers. In my career, I have seen cases where “double the performance of our nearest competitor” was used publicly and was as close to an outright lie as possible, since the test and configuration were different between the two products the test claimed to compare.

When you buy any form of datacenter equipment, you’re going to be stuck with it for a good long while. Make certain you know how testing that is informing your decision was performed, no matter who did the testing. Independent third party testing sometimes isn’t so independent, and knowing that can make you more cautious when hooking your company with gear you’ll have to live with.

Bare Metal Blog Series:

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Don MacVittie

Don MacVittie is currently a Senior Solutions Architect at StackIQ, Inc. He is also working with Mesamundi on D20PRO, and is a member of the Stacki Open Source project. He has experience in application development, architecture, infrastructure, technical writing, and IT management. MacVittie holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Northern Michigan University, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@CloudExpo Stories
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) has awarded BAE Systems a five-year contract worth as much as $75 million to provide enhanced geospatial intelligence technical and analytical support. The award was issued under the INSCOM Global Intelligence indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract.
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effi...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
Predictive analytics tools monitor, report, and troubleshoot in order to make proactive decisions about the health, performance, and utilization of storage. Most enterprises combine cloud and on-premise storage, resulting in blended environments of physical, virtual, cloud, and other platforms, which justifies more sophisticated storage analytics. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Peter McCallum, Vice President of Datacenter Solutions at FalconStor, discussed using predictive analytics to mon...
Dialogic has announced that ZVRS chose Dialogic® PowerMedia™ XMS software media server as part of its latest video relay and translation service offering. ZVRS uses Dialogic’s PowerMedia XMS technology to provide a robust solution that supports a broad range of legacy devices and any-to-any video capabilities with its flagship Z70 videophone. ZVRS selected Dialogic’s solution to facilitate a release of Z70 that met its stringent requirements for legacy device support (H.263 and H.264) with high...
"SpeedyCloud's specialty lies in providing cloud services - we provide IaaS for Internet and enterprises companies," explained Hao Yu, CEO and co-founder of SpeedyCloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Your business relies on your applications and your employees to stay in business. Whether you develop apps or manage business critical apps that help fuel your business, what happens when users experience sluggish performance? You and all technical teams across the organization – application, network, operations, among others, as well as, those outside the organization, like ISPs and third-party providers – are called in to solve the problem.
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes ho...
"Avere Systems is a hybrid cloud solution provider. We have customers that want to use cloud storage and we have customers that want to take advantage of cloud compute," explained Rebecca Thompson, VP of Marketing at Avere Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
Creating replica copies to tolerate a certain number of failures is easy, but very expensive at cloud-scale. Conventional RAID has lower overhead, but it is limited in the number of failures it can tolerate. And the management is like herding cats (overseeing capacity, rebuilds, migrations, and degraded performance). Download Slide Deck: ▸ Here In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing for the HGST Cloud Infrastructure Business Unit, discusse...
University of Colorado Athletics has selected FORTRUST, Colorado’s only Tier III Gold certified data center, as their official data center and colocation services provider, FORTRUST announced today. A nationally recognized and prominent collegiate athletics program, CU provides a high quality and comprehensive student-athlete experience. The program sponsors 17 varsity teams and in their history, the Colorado Buffaloes have collected an impressive 28 national championships. Maintaining uptime...
It's easy to assume that your app will run on a fast and reliable network. The reality for your app's users, though, is often a slow, unreliable network with spotty coverage. What happens when the network doesn't work, or when the device is in airplane mode? You get unhappy, frustrated users. An offline-first app is an app that works, without error, when there is no network connection. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, a Developer Advocate with IBM Cloud Data Services, discussed...
Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
The pace of innovation, vendor lock-in, production sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and managing risk… In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Dan Choquette, Founder of RackN, discussed how CIOs are challenged finding the balance of finding the right tools, technology and operational model that serves the business the best. He also discussed how clouds, open source software and infrastructure solutions have benefits but also drawbacks and how workload and operational portability between vendors ...
The initial debate is over: Any enterprise with a serious commitment to IT is migrating to the cloud. But things are not so simple. There is a complex mix of on-premises, colocated, and public-cloud deployments. In this power panel at 18th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Randy De Meno, Chief Technologist - Windows Products and Microsoft Partnerships at Commvault; Dave Landa, Chief Operating Officer at kintone; William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interou...