Enterprises are re-evaluating their data center infrastructure in unprecedented numbers, as hybrid cloud makes its way into real-world applications and early adopters display the benefits of moving to more flexible SDN architectures. The ability to rapidly reconfigure a network, or recreate network scenarios under software control is essential to thoroughly test the options available from multiple vendors or provide continuous delivery where applications move from development to test to production on a daily or even more frequent basis. One key element of this fluid approach to IT is test automation and the ability to recreate network, server and storage scenarios as required.
Layer 1 switching is set to become a highly useful tool for test labs and QA teams by eliminating the largely manual process of reconfiguring entire network cabling plans. By bringing transparency and flexible software control to the physical layer, Fiber Mountain’s Optical Path Exchange (OPX) brings test automation to a new level, allowing operators to reconfigure the entire test network on demand, in a fraction of a second.
Scenarios such as proof of concept testing and benchmarking or software quality assurance testing may require that network ports associated with servers, networking equipment and network analyzers be reconfigured frequently according to preset profiles or wiring plans. Sophisticated test equipment is often used to generate, capture and analyze high-bandwidth packet streams, but due to the high cost of such equipment it often needs to be shared across groups for a range of purposes, complicating test set-up and scheduling.
Here is an example of how Fiber Mountain can help streamline testing during the vendor selection process:
We are currently working with several enterprise customers that are testing next-generation data center private cloud architectures from multiple vendors. In this case our clients needed a way to reprovision the test network from one system to another on demand. Fiber Mountain’s solution makes use of OPX and AllPath Connect equipment with the AllPath Director orchestration system to provide real-time visibility, any-port-to-any-port connectivity and software control of the physical layer connections in the network.
The operator uses a flexible graphical interface to create whole systems of network port configurations and save them as profiles. At any time, the operator may re-invoke a previous profile and return the network to a known state. In other words, rather than manually recreating the configuration, an automated patching system consisting of one or more OPX nodes can rebuild any required network configuration with little or no manual intervention. Likewise, test equipment with limited ports can be dynamically connected via software to any port in the network.
The OPX provides any-port-to-any-port connectivity for point-to-point and point-to-multipoint applications in a slim 1 RU form factor. Each OPX can cross connect 160 ports (320 fibers) with on-board optics to allow much higher density than other optical switching solutions. Layer 1 transparency allows all network protocols to be carried with 100% accuracy, and an industry-leading low latency of approximately 5 nanoseconds port-to-port allows OPX to operate with minimal impact on the network itself.
Fiber Mountain’s test automation solution provides:
- Fast, efficient reconfiguration of connection profiles
- Protocol agnostic Layer 1 switching with 100% accuracy and ultra-low latency
- Software control and visibility of the physical layer
Interested in other OPX use cases?CrossCage Plus – Automated Cross Connects for Colocation Data Centers
Network Monitoring – TAP, SPAN or Something Better