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Successful Testing of Complex Data Storage Solution Faster Than In-House

Success Story: Infopulse Performs Remote Hardware and Software Testing for Leading Provider of Data Storage Systems

Hardware and software testing is crucial for anyone if you want to deliver high quality products. If you can’t do testing in-house with your own resources, you may want to look for Quality Assurance service elsewhere.

Sometimes, as contractors, we at Infopulse need to work with customers’ products that are not physically available in our premises. There might be even more complex cases, when our engineers have never seen or worked with such products or hardware before. That was exactly the case with one of our client’s products – a data storage system the size of a fridge, consisting out of dozens of different components and storing petabytes of data.

Read on our story how Infopulse specialists successfully tested hardware and software of a specific and very complex product.

A few words about NPM and Windows

Our customer is a leading international supplier of data storage and protection solutions, offering enterprise-level scalable data storage solutions, as well as backup and recovery solutions to large corporations (e.g., Amazon). Most of the products are based on the complex and highly reliable Data Storage Systems of various scales that serve multiple purposes, allowing to store tremendous amounts of data. These data storages are typically used by corporations and companies of all sizes as well as various institutions: universities, hospitals, airports, banks, legal and professional services firms, etc. For many organizations, solutions of the company have become an ultimate and indispensable approach to data storage.

Business Challenge

Infopulse provides a wide range of services to our client – from developing firmware and applications to testing our client’s hardware and its components. Due to the new release, the customer approached Infopulse with a request to conduct testing of an important product, containing a suite of both equipment and firmware. As the solution has its own embedded operating system, the device allows a user to connect to the Data Storage, execute read/write operations and manage files, displaying the data as traditional folders with files – just like if it was a regular USB-drive or a Network-attached Storage.

Technical Details

In the new releases of the product, a number of new features were implemented: in particular, support for Samba 4 protocol and improved file management experience, increased copy speed of large volumes of small files.

Support of the Samba 4 data processing protocols allowed users to utilize almost any network management tool supplied with any OS they are working with, except for non-standard file managers. Non-standard file managers have their own bells and whistles allowing them to work with data protocols and file systems. Unfortunately, custom file managers do not always work as intended with such Data Storage Systems, resulting in noticeable performance issues or data corruption.

Our task was to ensure that all features worked as intended and that the operational speed corresponded to the initial specifications.

Performing the Testing

Manual testing of the core functions was conducted in all available environments. In parallel, an automated performance testing was executed using test scripts written in Perl along with soak testing to ensure the system stability. Here are some of the software test scenarios that we had:

  • Data was read and written for a duration of a whole week. The positive result would be reading/writing data for a week without any issues, errors or data losses.
  • When there was no free space left, in some cases another data storage system should’ve been automatically and seamlessly used to store data.
  • Another core feature was user authentication and authorization through OpenLDAP and Active Directory. We had to setup both functions, manage user rights and groups, ACL, etc.
  • The most important and complicated task was to test hardware that we couldn’t actually see, i.e. remotely. Data Storage Systems of our client can be controlled in two ways: directly via physical panel-mounted switches or through a WEB-control panel. This web-based application lets operator to click buttons virtually, emulating actions of physical buttons. As it’s too complicated and expensive to bring these systems physically, we had to work remotely according to the specifications provided by the client. We analyzed logs, checked reports and created test scenarios that included interaction with overseas colleagues who had direct access to hardware: they could perform physical actions with the Data Storage Systems, e.g., to extract a data drive or switch the power off.

Business Value

The testing, conducted by Infopulse, allowed our client to ensure the high quality of the new product release. Moreover, we completed both hardware and software testing long before the deadline, allowing the updated product to roll out even earlier.

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