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Launching New Services and Products at the Speed of Cloud: Automating Your Hardware Test Lab

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Whether the concept behind a new product is evolutionary or revolutionary, launching new technology and services isn’t for the faint hearted in this hyper-connected and increasingly cloud-based world. For those enterprises or service providers whose businesses depend on hardware components as part of their service offerings, moving fast must be balanced against risk. Introducing a product without proper regression testing can result in service outages that impact thousands of customers. No company wants its reputation tarnished by a mis-configured service or a technology glitch.

However, introducing services later than competitors can also be costly, as first movers in the market gain brand awareness, increase their status within their industry, and attract early adopter customers.

To minimize risk, leading organisations build a lab environment where they can test new applications, operating systems, and hardware before they’re placed into production. However, the requirement to manually route the connections between test generators and devices under test (DUT) inside a single lab or across labs can be daunting, time consuming, and expensive. Furthermore, having to set-up each new test environment means that the lab administrator must be available on-site to make these changes before each test cycle can begin. And in a time when DevOps practices are accelerating across many organisations, with its shorter development and release cycles and continuous integration and continuous delivery processes, the potential for human error in the manual and mundane steps of re-routing connections is a risk. All of these factors are leading many businesses to ask, “how do we simplify and make more productive the lab environment?”

Pluribus Test Lab Automation

This is exactly where Pluribus Networks’ VirtualWire technology for test lab automation can help. 

Pluribus VirtualWire is a software-defined, highly flexible, highly scalable non-blocking Layer 1 switching matrix powered by the Pluribus Netvisor OS.

Using very cost-effective, high-performance open networking Ethernet switches, VirtualWire provides a dynamic, high-performance lab connectivity fabric supporting 10G, 25G, 100G and 400G* with packet/application/link layer visibility, at a fraction of the cost of expensive proprietary Layer 1 switches.

Setting up VirtualWire is straightforward and with all DUTs and test tools connected to the fabric, the Layer 1 topology can now be dynamically reconfigured in software via CLI, the Pluribus UNUM management platform, or with a customer’s own management and orchestration tools using VirtualWire’s powerful REST API.

Wire-once, re-wire in software!

Launching New Services and Products at the Speed of Cloud: Automating Your Hardware Test Lab

Wiring once and then re-wiring in software with VirtualWire reduces the delay associated with a lab administrator having to manually re-route cables to produce a specific test set-up, and the delays introduced through manual cabling errors and cable breakages, allowing test teams to conserve time and maximize productivity. 

Increase utilization and share expensive test equipment

Launching New Services and Products at the Speed of Cloud: Automating Your Hardware Test Lab

IT budgets are constantly under pressure. With VirtualWire organisations can maximize the utilization and sharing of expensive test equipment across teams, projects, and geographically dispersed locations, unifying disparate lab sites and processes. Providing an organization with the opportunity to test devices, applications, and services faster, 24/7 from anywhere in the world. 

Connect Any Source to Any Destination

Launching New Services and Products at the Speed of Cloud: Automating Your Hardware Test Lab

Unlike rigid and expensive proprietary Layer 1 switches, with VirtualWire’s highly scalable non-blocking Layer 1 switching matrix, media and port speed conversion provides lab administrators with total flexibility. 

While the ability to store well-known or previous physical configurations and reproduce these configurations on-demand for subsequent testing can greatly accelerate test procedures and deliver efficiencies within both DevOps and agile development environments.

To learn more about VirtualWire visit our Test Lab Automation solution webpage, contact us here, or watch this webinar replay to get an overview and demo of our highly innovative approach to test lab automation.

*400G available in Q1 2022

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About the Author

Neil Walker