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Virtualisation Field Day 6 Preview: Spirent

Virtualisation Field Day 6 is happening in Silicon Valley, California from 18th-20th November and I’m very lucky to be invited as a delegate.

I’ve been previewing the companies attending, have a look at my introductory post:I’m heading to Virtualisation Field Day 6.

Spirent Communications.svgSpirent is a company I’ve never dealt with. It’s heavily on the networking side of virtualisation which is not my area of expertise but luckily at Virtualisation Field Day we have experts in all the things so networking is well covered!

Spirent is a publicly traded telecoms testing company which has its corporate headquarters just south of London, about an hour from where I live. It employs 1700 people and had £457m in revenue in 2014 so a fairly

It’s been going since 1936, was originally called Goodliffe Electric Supplies then Bowthorpe. In 2000 it changed its name to Spirent which is apparently from “inspired innovation”.

Spirent traditionally has been all about network infrastructure testing. Think performance, security and functional testing with automated orchestration. The internet+cloud means networks are getting larger and they all need to work as designed so testing is critical. Think of how SDN/NFV complicates the visibility of possible network paths from an underlying infrastructure point of view.

Spirent has made some acquisitions to bolster its wireless technologies so is able to bring its smarts to 4G & 3G mobile networks as well as satellite positioning devices. Think voice over 4G, device performance and GPS location, all needing testing.

Interestingly nearly half (46%) of its profit comes from the wireless division compared to 15% on the more traditional network infrastructure testing.

If user experience is key, think of the networks involved in a mobile + cloud world. Being able to test end to end network experience from a client mobile device to cloud infrastructure will be very important as workloads migrate.

Spirent also has a Service Assurance division which helps service providers to test and run their networks. It also has a mobile device management part which is interesting as this is not just device and network testing but actual end device management.

There is so much testing that needs to happen at a network level, knowing responsiveness of web sites, impact of security vulnerabilities, bandwidth optimisation, impact of BYOD, how big can I scale, etc.  Test automation is also very important part of DevOps so will be interesting to know how DevOps and network testing work with Spirent products.

Testing often isn’t glamorous but is critical in understanding where you are and where you can go. I don’t actually know what part of its product portfolio Spirent will be showing us as it does a huge amount. All I hope is we’re not going to be just delving into speeds and feeds and how many different things it can measure and report on but an interesting presentation on how all this testing helps companies provide a better experience to customers with concrete examples. Showing us how Spirent mitigates issues and helps us do more will be great.

Gestalt IT is paying for travel, accommodation and things to eat to attend Virtualisation Field Day but aren’t paying a penny for me to write anything good or bad about anyone.

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