Is testing communications evolving before our eyes? By the way have you noticed everywhere you turn there is a 2.0 being added to all things? I say in many cases this is with good reason as the world is changing in - dare I say Internet time 2.0? ;) Last week while in Sunnyvale, CA in the offices of Mu Dynamics I sat down with Dave Kresse, CEO and Ajit Sancheti, Founder to discuss how the testing market has evolved.
The company focuses on testing of IPTV, VoIP and IMS networks primarily focused on network operators, equipment providers and the government. They explained they can really test any IP network but they excel in environments where there is lots of flexibility needed and complexity to deal with.
They emphasized the point that load testing is not enough and instead you must do negative and unexpected testing. Think of negative testing as exploring the nearly infinite space of invalid inputs. In addition the company uses a protocol mutation engine which aids in sending malformed packets designed to confuse the targeted equipment.
They point out that test vendors have to free up companies so they can pursue testing of protocols the test vendors is unaware of. LTE, IMS and SIP for example are areas where they say this is essential as time to market is a crucial factor in many businesses today and testing should not be a bottleneck.
Using the company's newly released Mu Studio you input a packet capture file and shortly thereafter thousands of test cases are created. I watched a laptop take in a capture file of the Cisco Skinny protocol and within about 20 seconds it created 378 test groups and 30,000 test cases. Ten seconds later the cases were verified and saved.
One point made in the meeting - my apologies as I can't recall if Kresse or Sancheti said it, is that canned tests are for static networks. This was followed up with, "The way the test industry works doesn't work in this new age."
They tell me business is good and for a four-year old company their referenceable customer list is impressive. One reason for their success they say is they consider themselves to be a software company - even though they sell some hardware.
But the reality is timing is sometimes just as important as ingenuity or marketshare. You see a four-year old testing company competing against entrenched leaders had to do things differently to be a viable option. In addition, it is apparent the last four years have seen incredible complexity with so many flavors of SIP and variations of IMS framework protocols.
As long as networks keep getting more complex and equipment manufacturers and carriers need to test them it seems the need for testing 2.0 will only grow.