Home » Blog » How Nodegrid Serial Console / Nodegrid Services Router can improve the Test Lab with Automation

Are you in a test lab that needs automation? Are you in a test lab that has automation, but you need to get more out of it? We can help.

This situation seems to be quite common from what we’ve seen. Lab managers either have an “automation” solution that’s limited in abilities or they don’t have automation at all. Here’s how it breaks down:

Test Lab Environments (without Automation)

Companies that still perform manual testing may face the following obstacles:

  • The testing process takes much longer to complete versus that of an automated solution (time is money, without automation in place, each test must be initiated manually, requiring staff on hand to execute)
  • Requires a highly technical staff to complete testing on time (Not just any staff can run testing, staff on hand has to be knowledgeable.)
  • Human Error – Human error is not a myth, it exists.. ex: Amazon AWS Outage of 2017 – A simple slip of the finger can result in a catastrophic situation. Testers may miss steps and are prone to committing errors or not catching configuration issues
  • Lack of analysis – Data stored for analysis in case of errors needs to be logged manually

Test Lab Environments (with Basic Automation)

A basic automation solution can speed up the process of testing, but it is not without its gripes. Here’s some of the issues that have been brought to our attention.

  • Legacy console servers do not handle multiple concurrent sessions – This reduces the # of devices and connections supported in testing
  • Serial ports cannot use high baud rate (such as 115200bps) in all ports. Users tend to experience slowdown in the console server as it starts to hang or freeze up as more and more sessions are established – You are limited in the amount of sessions before the solution ultimately crashes
  • Not full automation – Scripts need to be tweaked to accommodate to devices (Delays and pauses are necessary in order to see the command all the way through, if supported).
  • Script limitations – Some popular scripting languages are not supported in some offerings

Even though you have an automation solution in place, if it requires you to be there monitoring the execution of scripts and commands, is it really automation?

Test Lab Environments with ZPE’s Nodegrid Advanced Automation Solutions

What ZPE’s Nodegrid family of products brings you is automation without compromise. Nodegrid addresses the pain points common to test labs. Nodegrid’s value is in the ability to automate, test, and collect data without limits. Queue commands and scripts from beginning to end. If an automation solution doesn’t work the way you need it to, then is it really an automation solution?

  • Intel x86-64 bit server-like Linux OS allows for faster processing, docker applications, and new automation and DevOps tools.
  • Time savings – With ZPE you can push configurations, software/firmware upgrades, and tests in bulk
  • Supported scripting languages and protocols: python, javascript (node.js), bash, ruby, or perl.
  • Fully automate your test and configuration processes
  • 48 Ports @ 115200 – 20 concurrent ssh/telnet sessions per port in all 48 ports
  • 96 Ports @ 115200 – 10 concurrent ssh/telnet sessions per port in all 96 ports
  • Increased processing power = get more done faster + improved boot times
  • Hook to Reservation system so serial ports are not available for other users to access during the reserved period
  • Serial ports settings can be customized to have simple connection (no additional text information, no authentication)
  • Serial Data Logs captured and saved into local file or NFS file, and to Syslog servers, for testing auditing
  • Specific groups to access their own devices via group authorization permissions
  • Boot up times significantly faster (Average Nodegrid Boot Time: < 1:40min | Competition Boot Time: Over 3:00min)
  • Automate the entire process, from ZTP and initial setup to end configuration.

For more information regarding the Nodegrid family of products and how they can benefit your Test Lab environment with Automation, give us a call or send us an email – We’d love to hear from you.