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April 28, 2009

Mu Analyzer Supporting Integration with a Wide Variety of Test Lab Environments

By Tim Gray, TMCnet Web Editor

From its very inception, Mu Dynamic’s analyzer was designed to support integration with a wide variety of test lab environments including load generation, functional testing, open and proprietary standards.
And as the extensive environments it operates in have grown, the Mu analyzer has advanced controls of other testing devices over serial console, Telnet or SSH channels and uses regular expressions to detect "events of interest" that are used to trigger fault isolation.
The Mu analyzer is controlled via a Web-browser-based GUI with ease-of-use and is designed to be integrated into larger lab automation frameworks where they exist.
As TMCnet recently 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 its part, the Mu analyzer exposes its functionality via a Web Services Description Language (WSDL) document so it can integrate into Software Testing Automation Framework (STAF) and other similar WSDL-based environments.
In addition, the Mu analyzer can be controlled via a Representational State Transfer (REST) API and Mu provides a Tcl wrapper for that API so that the Mu analyzer can be easily integrated into Tcl-based lab automation environments.
The REST API can also be used to directly control the Mu analyzer, e.g., from a Yahoo! widget or similar applet, according to the company.
The Sunnyvale-based Mu Dynamics recently released its these recommended practices or test methodologies to show specific working examples, complete with relevant configuration files, of how the Mu analyzer can be integrated with other lab equipment or give guidance on the wide variety of ways that the Mu analyzer can be used to test the reliability, availability and security of various types of IP-based devices.
One particular case study focused on how the Mu Service Analyzer controls an Ixia (News - Alert) Ix-400T load generator and triggers fault isolation on the Mu analyzer based on a throughput failure (as detected by the Ixia device), according to the companies.

In this example, the Ixia is programmed to flag a failure condition if the traffic throughput drops below 10 Mbps. The Mu analyzer also performs fault isolation using protocol Instrumentation failures for DHCP.
As with all of these test methodology papers, this paper is meant to serve as an example from which other test setups may be derived, for instance using Service-Level Traffic Variations (SLTV) to test a routing protocol (e.g., BGP, OSPF, IS-IS, etc.) or a management protocol (e.g., SSH, HTTPs, etc.) instead of DHCP.
The results? “Surprisingly, SLTV attacks against a particular home gateway's embedded DHCP server actually do cause reproducible throughput dropouts that can be detected by the Ixia Ix-400T,” the company wrote in the paper.

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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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