One of the major benefits of virtualization is that it allows operators to decrease the time of product launch and improve quality through better testing prior to launch. An example of this was the announcement this week by Calix (a Viodi video production client) of its AXOS Sandbox, which virtualizes the traditional lab environment onto a PC, allowing developers to test in parallel and not have to vie for physical hardware time. Netrounds, AB complements the virtual lab concept by allowing operators to test layers 2 to 7 in a live network before moving a particular feature or bug fix into a production environment.
Kaela Loffler, Director Marketing and Industry Alliances for Netrounds, AB, explains how their test agents go beyond pre-production testing and can include on-going troubleshooting. Testing through the network can reach end-points that have the Netrounds, AB software agents living as Virtual Network Functions on virtual CPEs. Loffler indicates that the testing can be also initiated via browsers on end-user devices. What sets this virtual approach apart from traditional approaches is that testing occurs over the production network without affecting its underlying performance.
Application Programming Interfaces allow the operator to automate processes, creating triggers that could in turn invoke processes to allow the network to self-heal or, at the minimum, alert network technicians as to the source of a problem. She points out that automation will be increasingly important, as the network will continue to grow in complexity as functions are virtualized.