Setting up a multi-machine network configuration is a critical step in the creation of a software test environment. As an example, consider the topology shown below. The setup shows two private networks 192.168.0.X and 192.168.1.X, a public network 10.5.X.X, 3 servers and 2 router roles. The ping and reachability between the machines is shown in the blue lines. This mix of private and public networks, including multiple NICs and NATing is a standard configuration in several test environment setups. You’re able to relate to such a test setup? I thought so.
Prior to the advent of virtualization, these configurations would have been created on physical machines and would have taken significant resource time for setting up the configuration. And recreating it would have taken an equal amount of time. Hypervisor technologies like VMware ESX, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer eased the burden on physical machine configuration and they do allow multiple virtual machines to run on a single physical box. However, the flexibility offered to network these virtual machines together is limited, time-consuming and error prone while using only a hypervisor.
Virtual Lab Automation solutions like VMLogix LabManager allow users to easily create multi-virtual machine network configurations like the one described above. Users can create a multi-virtual machine configuration in VMLogix LabManager as shown in the figure below. This configuration can be created and deployed on a single physical machine running virtualization software like ESX. The beauty of this solution is that with minimal effort, users can create and subsequently deploy over and over again such a network configuration (the deployment of routers & IP address allocation are automatically done by VMLogix LabManager – you only need to specify the NICs on the 3 Internal Server VMs and mention the public/private nature of these).
Now, to make things even more flexible – in addition to all of this above, the virtual lab automation products allow users to “network zone” the entire configuration, i.e., multiple instances of this multi-virtual machine setup can be deployed simultaneously from LabManager, without worrying about any IP or MAC conflicts in the network.
Impressed? I certainly am. How often have you wanted to deploy a clean base configuration for your tests? And how often have you wanted to run multiple instances in parallel (like when the developer is fixing a bug and a tester is executing further tests)? We believe that this is powerful capability in a lab automation solution that you will love. You can request for a free 30 day evaluation of VMLogix LabManager to test things out for yourself.
I would love to hear on the importance of network configurations during your software testing processes and how you go about getting these setup and used.
I’ll dedicate some future posts to other similar powerful functionality in lab automation solutions.
– Srihari Palangala