A major storage vendor adds Load DynamiX to its arsenal of load-generating test tools

Summary

About The ProductWith a product designed for massive scalability and high availability, one major storage vendor has turned to Load DynamiX. Their customers manage multiple petabytes of storage and up to a billion files in a single file system, so testing must match that capacity. With Load DynamiX, this test team can now simulate realistic customer scenarios with as many connections as needed.

Challenges in testing

  • Need exceeds testing capacity. Product supports more clients and connections than can be generated.
  • Must become more efficient. Lab frequently maxes out number of whitebox server ports in use.
  • In-house tools inflexible and lacking in breadth. Difficult to simulate wide enough variety of customer scenarios.

Changes with Load DynamiX

  • Maximum load now possible. Load DynamiX easily delivers all the connections needed to mimic true customer traffic flows.
  • Reduced power consumption. Greater load from fewer ports.
  • Load DynamiX’s Test Development Environment provides array of options across protocols. Exceptional flexibility in test configuration covers all the bases.

The customer profiled in this paper is a major storage equipment vendor offering multi-petabyte scale-out NAS storage systems for information storage and distribution. Designed to store millions to billions of active files in a single namespace, the product offers operational efficiency and administrative savings for large organizations seeking to better manage their growing demand for file-based storage. It combines massive scalability with automated file management to quickly deliver information globally.

The Test Environment

The company’s test environment includes multiple systems for customer simulation. This includes 10-20 physical storage devices under test. There may be as many as 80 whitebox servers simulating clients pointed at the largest of these. The lab’s network mimics the variety of configurations that might be found in customer data centers, needing to anticipate and reproduce those setups. The lab focuses testing efforts on the massive scalability of their product line. They are concerned primarily with number of files and bandwidth, trying to pump as much NFS and CIFS traffic and as many connections as possible through their systems.

Challenges for The Team

Chris Ruhl is the software engineer responsible for optimizing the test environment. He tells us that concurrent load management is a priority, that they need to understand how multiple users interact with the data with maximum scalability. This customer perspective requires and flexibility to easily set up a wide variety of scenarios. Combine this need to change configurations and complete test cycles quickly, with the requirement for millions of TCP connections and GB of traffic per second, and you have a big headache. The team has in-house tools and uses a variety of test methods, with approximately 25% of the growing test team dedicated to test tool development. But their internal tools are often clunky and Chris says that the lab is generally resource constrained.

Enter Load DynamiX

Chris discovered Load DynamiX and quickly determined that their Load DynamiX 1G series product would be a beneficial addition to their environment. He was pleased to get relatively quick approval and had the appliance up and running in short order. Chris says that the out-of-box experience with the product was outstanding. He worked closely with the Load DynamiX team to set up specific configurations and get the box quickly integrated into his environment.

About the Load DynamiX 1G Series

“We’re glad to have another tool in our arsenal to throw at our machines. We need as much concurrent load as we can get, and Load DynamiX  allows us to generate all that’s required to realistically simulate our customer use cases.”
– Chris Ruhl, Software Engineer

IT_GUIappliance-300x174The Load DynamiX 1G series is a high-performance load-generating system designed for comprehensive storage network testing. More than a simple load generator, the system provides protocol-level control and semantic definition that enables the broadest possible range of test cases. The product features 8 singly configurable 1GE ports and an additional 1GE management port. It supports multiple authentication types and originates NFS, CIFS, and iSCSI traffic, simulating a great number of clients and scenarios at once. It easily handles multiple scenarios with varying lists of commands within each of 6 protocols (CIFS v1, v2, and NFS v2, v3, v4 and iSCSI)—all running at the same time.

Load DynamiX is the clear choice for companies in the storage industry, because they know storage better than does any other test tool vendor. It is the industry’s elite testing tool due to Load DynamiX’s focus on storage-specific features; high-volume traffic handling, customer-centric graphic interface, and prebuilt tests and wizards.

Test Development Environment

“I like that with the Load DynamiX product, I can click and walk away. No one has to check back in to see that stress configurations are done correctly.”
– Chris Ruhl, Software Engineer

The Load DynamiX 1G series includes a graphical application, the Test Development Environment, that provides flexible, granular configuration options and test results analysis. Testers can now find problems, modify parameters, and quickly see results using the product’s interface. Problem isolation is fast and accurate, leading to much-appreciated efficiency in working with development engineers.

Results: Five-to-one Port Reduction

Chris Ruhl says that as the stress meter on their systems goes up, having another product—the Load DynamiX 1G series—to add to the load is proving invaluable. The immediate implication of adding the product to lab is the reduction in number of ports required to generate equivalent traffic. Under equal workload, a single Load DynamiX interface is now the same as 5-6 previous interfaces or 5 ports on their old 2U client machines.

Along with power consumption savings and efficiencies created by reducing port numbers, Chris Ruhl realizes increased test productivity in the lab, thanks to Load DynamiX’s Test Development Environment. He finds the product’s test tools intuitive, and simple to manage, with as much or as little control as you’d like. You can use canned configurations out of the box, or opt to configure completely from scratch. Chris says, “you can twist and twiddle with the information in the headers, or you can simply point, click, and run.”

New ability to add variety to the stress runs they need—easily and quickly in the TDE—means the lab can test more scenarios and understand more of what their customers actually do. As the company moves to even larger data center capacities and larger configurations using 10GE interfaces, Chris anticipates being able to leverage the Load DynamiX 10G series to simulate hundreds of clients and even more effectively put their products to the test.

Why Buy the Load DynamiX 1G Series

  • Time savings in executing multi-protocol test suites with consistent test development methodology across all protocols.
  • Ease of test case creation and control at the protocol level. Granular configuration and results are available for individual commands.
  • Consistent, repeatable results. Tests start with the press of a button and deliver repeatable results.