Cloud Infrastructure Testing
Leading cloud providers and enterprises are implementing data centers that are purpose-built for the cloud. These data center operators, and their network equipment manufacturer (NEM)
suppliers of high-capacity routers and switches, storage devices, compute platforms, and security devices are facing new testing, assessment and optimization challenges.
Drawing from its expertise in working with the world's largest cloud providers and NEMs, Ixia has found that testing hotspots generally fall into seven key categories:
Virtual switching enables you to spawn whole network topologies as virtual machines (VMs) and interconnect them in software. Because performance varies greatly depending on the overall load of the server, it is critical to test virtual switching scalability to address huge bandwidth requirements in the access switching tier. Multi-tenant clouds need to be validated to ensure service levels agreements can be met under stressful events such as VM mobility. Ixia offers a virtual test solution (IxVM) where test ports can be deployed on the inside of compute platforms to validate virtual topologies, software defined networking, and test storage IO. Ixia flagship user interfaces, IxNetwork and IxLoad control the test ports for a seamless experience between physical and virtual test interfaces.
Storage traffic uses a lot of the available bandwidth on a converged LAN/SAN network and needs preferential treatment. Ixia offers a wide range of offerings depending on the storage network being deployed, including fibre channel over Ethernet (FCoE), FC, iSCSI, NFS, and CIFS. Key metrics, including IO throughput, reads/writes, errors, and latencies, can be used to make vendor selections or for storage tuning. Local- and network-attached storage targets, converged network adaptors (CNAs), and FC/FCoE switches must be tested.
A huge volume of traffic is flowing between applications within the data center on separate physical servers (east to west). With thousands of users simultaneously accessing content/applications from the Internet (north to south), you need switching tiers that can scale. Testing must verify the scalability and resiliency of large layer 2 network domains with the emergence of SPBM, TRILL, and Cisco's FabricPath. Ixia offers a full array of solutions including RFC benchmark canned suites (RFC2544/2889/3918), edge routing emulation, L2MP protocol emulation, VLAN stacking, and multicast and DCBX protocols.
Since data center operators face tough decisions on how to support IPv6 in the data-center, Ixia supports the key transitional mechanisms such as NAT and 6rd, and native schemes such as dual-stack. This can be used to assess the network and application performance, including scalability, of the various scenarios. For private cloud scenarios Ixia supports DHCPv6 emulation to determine the IP assignment performance during peak usage periods.
Virtual security applications are VM-aware implementations of security functions, distributed between components of cloud applications. They serve to protect each component from other traffic on shared networks and other VMs on virtualized servers. To verify your overall security measures, use a test system to send a mix of application protocols between VMs and verify that traffic was blocked or allowed based on the configured security policies. Perimeter security devices such as firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, unified threat management systems, and VPN gateways can be tested using a mix of real application traffic and malware to determine security effectiveness, accuracy, and performance. Connection/transaction/tunnel (IPsec) peak capacities and rates can be assessed for vendor selection and network tuning.
Any multi-tenant public or private cloud requires QoS from the WAN port of entry all the way through to the individual VMs. Tiered service levels ensure QoS across tenants and types of
data. Testing and assessment are critical components of optimizing the whole data center for specific applications and tenants, ensuring the best overall QoS. Congestion can be created on egress ports using Ixia solution to validate L2/3, application, or DCBX (PFC, ETS, CN) QoS schemes.
The ever-increasing use of bandwidth-hogging, media-rich applications has led to more users experiencing poor Quality of Service (QoE) more often. A cloud data center has the best opportunity to
break this cycle because of its bandwidth elasticity. To ensure quality application delivery, you must test the architecture of the compute platform and the applications that can span
many physical and virtualized servers, using a huge volume of east-west internal data center traffic, along with a huge volume of north-south video sessions. Real application servers
can be used in an Ixia-driven test topology using client-side-only emulation. This enables the assessment and optimization of end-to-end application QoE through the data center for protocols such as
video (using protocols like Apple HLS and Microsoft SilverLight), voice, email, FTP, and peer to peer (P2P).
Ixia is uniquely-positioned with the solution breadth and depth to test, assess and optimize the key components of a data center designed for all forms of cloud deployments.
A recent proof-point was the successful use of our solutions in the industry's first comprehensive data center cloud test, which validated Cisco's complete infrastructure, including its data center platform, CloudVerse, and cloud applications. To hear details of the test methodology and breadth required to validate data centers that are cloud-ready, please register for the upcoming Light Reading / Cisco / EANTC webinar.
ONF OpenFlow Interoperability Test Event March 2012
The Open Networking Foundation had its first ever interoperability test event March 5th -9th testing OpenFlow v1.0 hosted at the Ixia iSimCity lab in Santa Clara, CA. Learn more about the event in this introductory video.
YouTube Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pahfZAs0uUM
For further details on this industry-first test and the test results, see:
Light Reading CloudVerse Methodology Webinars
Data Center Cloud Testing Resources
|Ixia's cloud data center products include:
IxNetwork - end-to-end network infrastructure testing and assessment
End-to-end test environment for measuring the performance and impact of switching and routing infrastructures, varying network conditions (latency, jitter, congestion) and evolving data center switching architectures. Provides rapid isolation of network issues and service violations.
IxLoad - real-world traffic generation, performance assessment
Generates real-user traffic for assessing network performance and end-user QoE. Emulates live network conditions and traffic mixes at scale to provide relevant qualitative metrics for validating the performance of voice, video, data and Web applications.
IxVM - complete L2-7 traffic generation and analysis for virtualized environments
A software-based implementation of Ixia's industry-leading test platforms and "virtual chassis." Virtual traffic generation and assessment informs projections for traffic routing, capacity planning, quality policies and data center accessibility.
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