Colorado Springs, Colo. -- A startup working on test generation for the networking industry, Fanfare Inc., is using XML models to eliminate the need for TCL, Perl and other scripting languages in preparing tests.
At the same time, a company with complementary goals is updating a key lab-automation suite for Layer 1 device- under-test automation, and exploring a possible relationship with Fanfare. EdenTree Technologies Inc., which has used its Lab Manager tools with scripting languages in the past, claims that Fanfare's shift to XML is a "perfect adjunct" to its own Web-based administration.
Kingston Duffie, chief executive and chief technology officer for Fanfare, said that the original FanfareSVT software for network equipment manufacturers will be followed by suites for vertical markets in medicine, military/aerospace and consumer systems, and even by software for electronic design automation markets.
Duffie founded Fanfare in 2004 along with Turnstone Systems Inc. veterans Denise Savoie and Carl Hubbard. After quietly talking to leading network OEMs such as Cisco, Juniper, Cedar Point and Blue Coat Systems, the company shipped an early development version of its software to key customers in 2005. Later, Fanfare hired Dave Sheaffer of Wind River Systems as vice president of product marketing, to give the company more insight into real-time kernels and the software development community.
Duffie said Fanfare's software resembles an integrated development environment in function, but it generates executables that can be used in specific hardware tests. While traditional tests are written in scripting language, Fanfare uses an XML model for building test descriptions, then uses its own software engine for converting XML schema into executables.
The Fanfare software can work in conjunction with test equipment from vendors such as Agilent, Spirent and Ixia Communications, and can play a key role in setup, configuration, regression testing, and reporting and analysis.
The Web-based interface has frames for a Test Case Explorer, a grid for explicit test steps, a properties grid, a list of execution messages and a similar one for validation messages.
"We addressed this to the communication industry first, because the pain in developing script-based test routines is most obvious here," Duffie said. "But there's nothing to keep this from being used in consumer, military, even chip-level testing."
The company is developing a suite of adjunct tools to fit below its development environment, as well as special versions for vertical markets. Duffie said Fanfare is examining a range of sales and licensing models, some of which follow the seat- and site-license models of EDA and software development tools.
Where the test regime meets the bench engineer is where EdenTree sees using its Lab Manager 5.0 in conjunction with Fanfare. Roberta Gonzalez, vice president of marketing and business development, said EdenTree consciously restricted itself to physical-layer control of devices like network switches and power controllers, seeking to solve particular scheduling and automation problems for test procedures.
"Our move to XML, to Web-based control and to SQL databases maps perfectly with the effort by companies like Fanfare to get beyond scripting," she said. "The success of that model will help us."
EdenTree has expanded its support OS environment to include Windows, Linux and Unix. Its event-based scheduler allows deterministic or queue-based reservations. Security has been given a finer granularity by allowing read/write permissions to be granted on the basis of a device, topology or reservation. The physical interfaces supported include circuit-switched analog, T1/E1, T3/E3, Ethernet of any speed, optical/Sonet, Fibre Channel, and RF or coaxial interfaces.
EdenTree also is placing more emphasis on test integration with power controllers, and can now offer Lab Manager software interfaces to power systems from APC, Cyberswitching, MRV Communications, Server Technology and WTI.
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