Fanfare (News - Alert) has come out with a new release of its automated testing tool, which equipment outfits and network operators use to ensure the performance of their gear.
Release 4.0 of iTest delivers a variety of important new features, said David Gehringer, vice president of marketing at the Mountain View, Calif.-based company, who explains that Fanfare is trying to change the way testing traditionally has been done, which involved heavy scripting, to a test environment with more visualization and ease of use.
Important features in this new release include a graphical topology view, which helps testers see what devices they're testing and how they're connected, said Gehringer.
"Fanfare has made a huge step forward with the new topology feature in 4.0," said Bill Baker, DVT engineer for Enterprise Networks at ADTRAN (News - Alert). "At a glance, I can now easily understand the set-up requirements for even our most complex system tests. The ability to right click on a device icon and connect immediately by Web, Telnet or other means is very powerful. We're also seeing a big benefit from the fact that our tests can now access key device data from the topology without having an active connection to the device."
Fanfare with iTest 4.0 also has added what it calls the "Activity-Based User Interface." Gehringer said Fanfare customers have asked for a solution to offer more help to those users not familiar with scripting language. So, like TurboTax offers prompts to help a person complete a tax form, iTest 4.0 can walk a person through the test process by offering helpful aids along the way, he said.
Meanwhile, a centralized reporting database offered with release 4.0 allows organizations to pinpoint the source of problems. For example, it can reveal whether a less than ideal test outcome is the result of a faulty network element or because of some inconsistency in the testing process, Gehringer explained.
Fanfare customers with current maintenance or subscription licenses are able to upgrade to iTest 4.0, which is now generally available. Annual subscription rates start at $1,700.
As discussed in the April issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine, Fanfare has about 110 customers, including big service providers like AT&T, BT (News - Alert), NTT and Verizon; leading vendors like Cisco, F5, Force10 and HP; and others.
Fanfare's automated test software can allow those companies to assess packet processing, compare what each device in the network saw and how that relates to what the traffic generator created, determine packet loss, and then reset the lab to its predetermined state.
Edited by Marisa Torrieri