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March 16, 2009

Mu Dynamics, Genesys Setting Reliability Bar High

By Tim Gray, TMCnet Web Editor


When it comes to providing highly reliable and available SIP-based call center solutions to the market, being able to fully-integrate the contact center can offer an opportunity to strengthen customer call center interactions, increase revenue and improve operational efficiency.
 
And while many companies strive to increase reliability and success rates, Genesys (News - Alert) Telecommunications Laboratories, an Alcatel-Lucent company, has set the bar high with a goal of achieving a 99.999 percent rate of reliability—that’s right five 9’s.
 
Of course, testing is key.
 
Historically, most types of software testing tend to focus on only standards-compliant traffic, with the independent variable being the load factor or other kinds of valid-traffic stress testing.
 
According to engineers at Genesys, this testing is to ensure that any unusual non-standards-compliant SIP traffic from another vendor’s product would not compromise service availability on the customer’s site.
 
As part of this ongoing effort to enhance the Genesys Quality Assurance Framework, the company has partnered with Mu Dynamics to investigate how the Mu-4000 Service Analyzer can be used to enhance the reliability of Genesys software.
 
The Sunnyvale-based Mu Dynamics is a pioneer in helping vendors eliminate NGN service downtime through proactive service assurance.
 
The Mu-4000 is a test automation system that helps to determine how a service will behave in complex, real world scenarios before it is introduced into a live customer network, according to the company.
 
This proactive service analysis is effective in uncovering potential service failures that could occur in real-world operation, but may not be revealed through traditional QA testing, according to the companies.
 
The test case generated by the Mu analyzer included service-level traffic variations that are scientifically generated packet sequences that intentionally vary the state, structure or semantics of various protocol exchanges, according to Mu.
 
As TMCnet has previously reported, The Mu-4000 Service Analyzer provides a rigorous and streamlined methodology for testing the robustness and security aspects of IP based applications and services by monitoring their behavior in the presence of abnormal traffic, including:
 
• Traffic mutations, also known as protocol fuzzing. The Mu-4000 generates malformed protocol messages with variations of the state, structure and semantics of normal protocol exchanges.
 
• Denial Of Service (DOS). The Mu-4000 can simulate a wide variety of DOS attack scenarios, based on known vulnerability patterns as well as custom scenarios.
 
For SIP, the Mu analyzer supports millions of unique protocol exchanges as formally created stateful variations on valid service-level traffic, across 10 unique transports (UDP (News - Alert), TCP, TCP+SSLv2, TCP+SSLv3, and TCP+TLSv1 over both IPv4 and IPv6). The Mu analyzer also incorporates denial-of-service simulation capabilities that can subject the target to randomized inputs at rates up to 100,000 pps, according to the company.
 
Through the testing process, the service assurance testing makes “it far less likely that Genesys’ SIP implementation will encounter something in the field that it is not prepared to accept,” according to Mu Dynamics.
 
Because the Mu analyzer can monitor critical network elements – including any undesirable behavior that occurs as a result of the test traffic – the test traffic has the ability to correlate these effects with the specific traffic patterns that caused them for expedited remediation.
 
After this proactive service assurance testing was completed, a preliminary service availability figure for SIP Server was calculated at 99.996 percent, according to Mu Dynamics.
 
Now, in a bid to establish a more accurate estimate, Genesys says it will carry out more extensive testing over a longer period of time, and to combine the test results from Proactive Service Testing with those from the existing test cycles.
 
Because the Mu-4000 test sequences are fully reproducible, the Mu-4000 is ideal for automated regression testing following corrections and introduction of new features.
 
To ensure continuous improvement in the reliability of Genesys products, Genesys plans to incorporate the following process improvements into the Quality Assurance Framework described above:
 
• Proactive Service Assurance Analysis, based on the test methodology established by Mu Dynamics and Genesys, will be added the System Test, Regression Test and Large Scale System Test cycles described above. Emphasis on testing of real-world scenarios will result in enhanced and repeatable quality for Genesys software releases.
These process improvements are expected to allow Genesys to estimate the overall service availability for the reference hardware / software configurations, allowing customers to ensure that mission-critical Genesys-based service deployments are able to meet the required service level objectives.
 
Earlier this year, Genesys extended its software capabilities when it announced it acquired SDE Software Development Engineering GmbH, a spin-off of VoicInt Telecommunications.

Tim Gray is a Web Editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Tim’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tim Gray




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