China Mobile selects Spirent for fibre channel switch testing

China Mobile, China's largest mobile operator, has selected Spirent Communications to evaluate the performance of high density Fibre Channel Director Switches from major vendors in its evaluation lab. China Mobile will use Sprient's testing solution to ensure scalability, performance and reliability of storage area networks (SAN) for data centers in the selection of Fibre Channel switches.

Sunnyvale, CA-based Spirent Communications globally provides testing and measurement solutions for data centers, cloud computing environments, high speed Ethernet networks and services, 3G/4G wireless networks and devices, network security, and global navigation satellite systems.

Spirent's testing solution supports the latest RFC benchmarking standards and new draft specification from the IETF, according to Jurrie van den Breekel, senior product marketing manager of data center solutions at Spirent. Spirent's solution is unique, said van den Breekel, in that "nobody else can measure latency down to 10 nanoseconds. Many can measure in the millsecond range but those aren't very useful when you're dealing with Fibre Channel." van den Breekel said in a phone interview that Spirent puts a Fibre Channel switch through a full capacity test by generating line rate traffic on all ports to determine its performance. "Essentially if you pass the test with our solution, you've seen the worst."

According to its press release, Spirent will help the Chinese mobile operator evaluate multiple leading vendors' switches with 128 ports of 8 Gigabit Fibre Channel. Following the initial round of testing, China Mobile plans to standardize on Spirent for subsequent Fibre Channel switch testing.

van den Breekel said that from Spirent's perspective, China Mobile is a great case for demonstrating load requirements because it is the largest operator by number of users. "If you think of China's rapid growth in mobile subscribers, it's not a surprise they use Fibre Channel and have stringent requirements for testing," he said.

"As China's largest mobile operator, China Mobile always stays ahead of new technologies and applications," said Mr. Lijun Zhao, Director of Testing Technology Research Institute, China Mobile Research Institute, as cited in Spirent's press release. "With rich and new applications pushing the need for greater and faster storage, we realize it is vital to test performance of Fibre Channel switches, and are pleased to leverage Spirent's leadership and expertise in Fibre Channel testing in our vendor evaluation process."

Spirent's data center solution delivers layer 2-7 converged performance benchmarking test system, including Spirent TestCenter 2/4/8 Gigabit HyperMetrics Fibre Channel test module and the Spirent TestCenter HyperMetrics 10 Gigabit Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) test module.

van den Breekel said Spirent is putting a lot of emphasis on FCoE. "One of the key reasons we developed such a large scale testing solution is to augment our Ethernet testing solution, where we're a market leader," van den Breekel said. He pointed out the trend in delivering Fibre channel over Ethernet because the technologies are beginning to converge in the data center. "You are mixing a lossy technology as Ethernet with a lossless technology as Fibre Channel, so it's very important that you test that. They need a lot of testing before they get massive deployment. It's part of an overall cloud testing portfolio."

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