A Blog from QualiTest

Constructing Test Environments in NFV Software Testing

NFV Software Testing Services

NFV will allow far greater flexibility with environments, allowing a vast variety of environments to be spun up quickly. While this will entail its own challenges with ensuring that the environment is baselined correctly and reflective of the required environment, the gains will be immense.

As the date of NFV World Congress in San Jose, CA, approaches on May 5, we are performing a series on NFV topics and how it will shape the future of network testing.

Our first blog post in the series was about the required “skills pivot” for network testers. Our next discussion in the series is about the impact on test environments for NFV testing.

More test environments will be required, but it will also be easier to set up and manage them. When building a test environment for NFV, the solution should be comprehensive to include including Control plane and Data plane workload simulation tools, network analytics, and QoS and QoE monitoring probes.

Flexibility in Test Environments

NFV provides great flexibility when building Test Environments. Using NFV, the end user can:

  • Build parallel test environments to address different needs
  • Scale up and down computer resources
  • Copy any existing environment, whether that be a live, development or preproduction system

These flexibilities will be of immense importance in order to account for the layers of virtual machines running different software and processes, on top of high volume servers, switches and storage, and even cloud computing infrastructure.

Guidelines for Building Test Environments

When building Test Environments for NFV, the following guidelines should be kept:

  • Management and Orchestration should be similar to the production, including all elements of NFV (MANO, VNFM, VIM, NFVI)
  • NS and VNF Instantiation should be similar to the production environment, including hypervisors, computing, storage and network resources
  • The same level of resources should be allocated
  • A load environment should be established when running performance and scalability testing

Utilizing Test Emulators

When performing NFV Testing, Test Emulators are required in order to:

  • Simulate valid workload traffic on the client and server
  • Simulate both data plane and control plane traffic
  • Measure key metrics, including data plane metrics and control plane metrics

Physical test appliances may be used, but most test equipment vendors have developed virtual test appliances that work on separated VMs in the NFV Test Environment. While virtual test appliances are generally more cost effective, physical test appliances are mainly recommended for the testing virtual environments that require the highest levels of data-plane performance.

NFV will allow far greater flexibility with environments, allowing a vast variety of environments to be spun up quickly. While this will entail its own challenges with ensuring that the environment is baselined correctly and reflective of the required environment, the gains will be immense.