Welcome!

Machine Learning Authors: William Schmarzo, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Corey Roth, Jnan Dash

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Microsoft Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal, FinTech Journal

Microservices Expo: Blog Feed Post

Bare Metal Blog: Testing for Numbers or Performance?

What you test can say a lot about you

Along the lines of the first blog in the testing portion of the Bare Metal Blog series, I’d like to talk a bit more about how the testing environment, the device configuration, and the payloads translate into test results.

One of the problems most advanced mass education systems run into is the question of standardized testing. While it is true that you cannot fix what you have not determined is broken, like most things involving people, testing students for specific areas of knowledge does kind of guarantee that those doing the teaching will err on the side of preparing students to take the test rather than to succeed in life. The mere fact that there IS a test changes what is taught. It is of course possible to a make this into a massively positive proposition by targeting the standardized tests at the most important things students need to  learn, but for our discussion purposes, the result is the same – the students will be taught to whatever is on that test first, and all else secondarily.

This is far too often true of vendor product testing also. The mere fact that there will be a test of the equipment, and most high-tech markets being highly competitive, makes things lean toward tweaking the device (or the test) to maximize test performance, in spite of what the real world performance will be.

The current most flagrant problem with testing is a variant on an old theme. Way back when testing the throughput of network switches made sense, there was a lot of “packets per second” testing with no payload. Well, you test the ability of the switch to send packets to the right place, but do not at all test the device in a manner consistent with the real world usage of switches. Today we have a whole slew of similar tests for ADCs. The purpose of an ADC is to load balance, optimize, and if needed secure the passage of packets. Primarily this is for application traffic because they’re Application Delivery Controllers. Yet, application traffic being layer seven kind of means that you need to do some layer seven decision-making if the device is to be tested in the real world. If the packet is a layer seven packet, but layer four switching is all that is performed on it, the test is completely useless to determining the actual capabilities of the device. And yet there is a lot of that type of testing going on out there right now.  It’s time – way past time – to drive testing into the real world for ADCs. Layer seven decision making is much more complex and requires a deep look at the packets in question, meaning that the results will not be nearly as pretty as simple layer four switching packets are. While you cannot do a direct comparison of all of the optional features of two different ADCs simply because the level of optional functionality support is so broad once a solid ADC platform is deployed, but you can test the basic capabilities and responsiveness of the core products.

And that is what we, as an industry must begin to insist on. I use one single oddity in ADC testing here, but every branch of high-tech testing I’ve been involved in over the years – security, network gear, storage, application – all have similar “this is not good enough” testing that we need to demand is dropped in favor of solid testing that reflects a real-world device. Not your real-world device unless you are running the test lab, but a real-world device that is seeing – and more importantly acting upon – data that the device will encounter in an actual network, doing the job it was designed for.

As I mentioned in the last testing installment, you can make an ADC look astounding if your tests don’t actually force it to do anything. For our public testing, we have standards, and offer up our configuration and testing goals on DevCentral. Whether you use it to validate the test results F5 uses, or to set up the tests in your own environment, publicly talking about how testing is performed is a big deal. Ask your vendor for configuration files and testing plan when numbers are tossed at you, make certain you know what they’re testing when they try to impress you with over-the-top performance numbers. In my career, I have seen cases where “double the performance of our nearest competitor” was used publicly and was as close to an outright lie as possible, since the test and configuration were different between the two products the test claimed to compare.

When you buy any form of datacenter equipment, you’re going to be stuck with it for a good long while. Make certain you know how testing that is informing your decision was performed, no matter who did the testing. Independent third party testing sometimes isn’t so independent, and knowing that can make you more cautious when hooking your company with gear you’ll have to live with.

Bare Metal Blog Series:

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Don MacVittie

Don MacVittie is founder of Ingrained Technology, A technical advocacy and software development consultancy. He has experience in application development, architecture, infrastructure, technical writing,DevOps, and IT management. MacVittie holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Northern Michigan University, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@CloudExpo Stories
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, provided a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to oper...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, James Henry, Co-CEO/CTO of Calgary Scientific Inc., introduced you to the challenges, solutions and benefits of training AI systems to solve visual problems with an emphasis on improving AIs with continuous training in the field. He explored applications in several industries and discussed technologies that allow the deployment of advanced visualization solutions to the cloud.
"ZeroStack is a startup in Silicon Valley. We're solving a very interesting problem around bringing public cloud convenience with private cloud control for enterprises and mid-size companies," explained Kamesh Pemmaraju, VP of Product Management at ZeroStack, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
"Infoblox does DNS, DHCP and IP address management for not only enterprise networks but cloud networks as well. Customers are looking for a single platform that can extend not only in their private enterprise environment but private cloud, public cloud, tracking all the IP space and everything that is going on in that environment," explained Steve Salo, Principal Systems Engineer at Infoblox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventio...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
Vulnerability management is vital for large companies that need to secure containers across thousands of hosts, but many struggle to understand how exposed they are when they discover a new high security vulnerability. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, John Morello, CTO of Twistlock, addressed this pressing concern by introducing the concept of the “Vulnerability Risk Tree API,” which brings all the data together in a simple REST endpoint, allowing companies to easily grasp the severity of the ...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
"NetApp is known as a data management leader but we do a lot more than just data management on-prem with the data centers of our customers. We're also big in the hybrid cloud," explained Wes Talbert, Principal Architect at NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...