Oracle validates their application-aware storage products using WorkloadWisdom


In need of additional load testing capacity on its Axiom storage system, Oracle found that Virtual Instruments provided all the traffic and test configuration flexibility they needed to put their efficient, high capacity system to the test.

About Oracle

Oracle’s Axiom storage product is an application-aware system, enabling multiple tiers of storage on a single platform – each with a unique level of service.  It delivers an ultra-high capacity storage system which consolidates assets, modularly scales capacity, and reduces management complexity.

Before deploying Virtual Instruments solutions, their test environment included racks of mid-range white boxes, switches, and tape libraries – a large complement of hardware needed to adequately stress the product before going to market.  The team now needed to test both the performance and functionality, using high volume SMB and NFS traffic.

“Aggregation of results is our enemy. We want to see those results from individual components as they all have differing effects and interactions on a storage array. With WorkloadWisdom, we can trace, track, and compare anything — all the protocol-level details we want.”
– Steve Downer, Director of Test Engineering, ORACLE

Additionally, Oracle runs a virtual server farm to generate load and run test scenarios. A fleet of virtual machines would be deployed to run each test case – easy to run but hard to clean up and hard to repeat consistently.  Every test case required a client and disparate application layer test suite.

Challenges at Oracle

Oracle’s test environment hardware was tapped out and their virtual environment was problematic, including:  

  • Limited load testing capacity. Performance is insufficient to adequately test Axiom systems.
  • Desire greater granularity and test sophistication. Testing the unique features of the application-aware Axiom requires extremely detailed and flexible tests.
  • Difficult, time-consuming virtual server management. Rampant VM client sprawl.

The Virtual Instruments Solution

Oracle discovered that WorkloadWisdom had the performance, depth, and breadth of features they were seeking.

The WorkloadWisdom Workload Generator 1G series quickly enabled increase testing productivity in the Axiom storage environment. The high volume of SMB and NFS traffic is now putting realistic stress on the Oracle Axiom product with no more server of VM housekeeping headaches.  Having the product’s 8 ports on different networks allows for a more representative picture of how production clients would address a storage device.  Simulating connection scaling no longer requires adding in sets of client, which had been impossible before with their VM client set up.

Oracle has easy access to stats that were only available via network traces and client OS data.  And they get real-time results as part of the scenario instead of requiring extra triage cycles.  Even customer log scenarios are easily reverse engineered for targeted tests.

With WorkloadWisdom, Oracle performs tests that exceed the demands their customers put on the Axiom system.  And they can do it with greater control, in less time, and using fewer resources.

The WorkloadWisdom Workload Generator 1G Series

The Workload Generator 1G series is a high-performance load-generating system designed for comprehensive storage network testing. More than a simple load generator, the system provides protocol-level control and semantic definition that enables the broadest possible range of test cases.

The product features 8 singly configurable 1G ports and an additional 1G management port. It supports multiple authentication types and originates both NFS and CIFS traffic, simulating a great number of clients and scenarios at once. It easily handles multiple scenarios with varying lists of commands within each of 5 protocols (CIFS v1, v2, and NFS v2, v3, v4) — all running at the same time without operational overhead.

The WorkloadWisdom product is the clear choice for companies in the storage industry, because Virtual Instruments knows storage better than any other test tool vendor. It is the industry’s elite testing tool due to the product focus on storage-specific features; high-volume traffic handling, customer-centric graphic interface, and prebuilt tests and wizards.

“To truly understand Axiom’s performance, we have to simulate customer client machines that are always getting faster and more aggressive.  WorkloadWisdom can simulate the faster and badder client — it’s great, like turning on a firehose.”
– Colin Hutcheson, Test Architect, ORACLE

WorkloadWisdom Benefits

  • Unparalleled load testing. Can validate the extreme performance of the Axiom.
  • Comprehensive, flexible tests. Able to fully test the features that make the Pillar Axiom unique.
  • No virtual machine sprawl. One appliance replaced all of the virtual machine clients, and more.

Why WorkloadWisdom

  • Time savings in executing multiple test suites. Single-screen, graphical control of test tools enables fast settings changes.
  • Ease of test case creation and control at the protocol level. Granular visibility and results are available for individual components.
  • Consistent, repeatable results. Test clean-up is automatic. Start tests at the same point with a clean slate.