Virtual Instruments has visibility and testing tools for FibreChannel networks.
Analyse the network traffic to determine the performance of the storage traffic – file protocols and object protocols
It can analyse storage protocols captured from the network and then replay these patterns against various storage equipment. This allows for testing and analysis of the vendor equipment.
Why is this important ? An inspirational cynicisist view is that storage vendors are unable to make products that work properly or as advertised so there is need to test and validate the operational capability. Or perhaps customers expect to see bugs in the product and testing will help to find them. Another use case is that product upgrades are expected to be unreliable so testing of new software is needed to ensure that the vendor got it right.
A less cynical view is hard to find. Storage products are not made to fit every use case and customers are not able to easily pick out the product that is good for them. Testing helps here.
Anyway the idea of load testing is well established, capture data from the network and software can then analyse the captured data and then create a replay. You don’t need to see the payload here. You can collect the storage protocol requests and then build a test that simulates.
I saw demonstrations of the software interface that showed a wide range of analysis and showed the visibility. The ability to conduct a test workload and then vary the storage query parameters.
There are similar products in the networking space – look at Ixia Systems and Spirent who do similar things for networking with the protocol inspection. Virtual Instruments offers a version of this that is specific to storage industry, seems to have deeper capabilities.
- the larger part of the the storage market believes that they are special snowflakes with unique requirements and specific conditions that only storage specific solutions can solve.
- The value of storage is different, remember that a data loss is a permanent and potentially catastrophic event. A network outage has less impact and there is less we can do for true availability.
- For customers with critical dependencies on the storage engine, the ability to test and analyse storage traffic to validate storage products is key. And Virtual Instruments is a solution in this space.