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Test platform for fibre channel SANs

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AGILENT Technologies has introduced a comprehensive test platform designed to enable the realistic characterisation of fabric performance in fibre channel storage area networks (SANs).

Agilent's new 1730 series SAN test system is an off-the-shelf, high-port-density test platform that provides the controlled environment necessary for efficiently testing complex SANs before deployment, and represents Agilent's first entry into the fabric performance test market.

Previously, SAN test solutions were typically developed in-house, using real servers, storage equipment and internally developed software.

With the increasing scale of SAN infrastructures, fibre channel SAN equipment manufacturers and SAN solution integrators needed a way to perform interoperability and scalability testing that is less resource-intensive and physically challenging.

The Agilent 1730 SAN test system enables fibre channel traffic generation at wire speeds of 1Gb/s or 2Gb/s, with allowances for any combination of data, error, link, fabric control and fabric server traffic.

Engineers can use the test system's parametric control to set a number of variables that simulate specific traffic conditions in the target SAN under test.

These variables include port behaviour, frame level parameters, specific error types, interframe gap size, traffic topology, buffer-to-buffer credit and burst mode traffic.

Agilent's SAN test system allows engineers to monitor "live" measurement results while a test is running and to observe how the fabric handles various traffic conditions and recovers from unexpected disruptions, such as a link down at multiple ports.

Engineers can also change traffic loads while the test is running, which provides insight into network performance.

Customised test suites can be developed using TCL/CK scripting language, and all SAN test system features and capabilities are accessible through APIs (application program interfaces).

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