The Network Test Automation Forum (NTAF) has released the first set of specifications to enable multi-vendor interoperability in network test labs.
The specifications define tool registration, discovery and activation functionalities that enable software and hardware from multiple vendors to automatically and seamlessly recognize and communicate with each other.
NTAF was launched in March 2010 and membership includes a mix of companies from across the communications and networking industries.
Interoperability between test tools and the simplification of lab automation efforts will reduce the time, complexity and cost of product test cycles by streamlining development, test setup and testing time.
Integrating testing components include the development and maintenance of custom integrations between in-house tools and suppliers, which often must be updated with the release of new software from any one internal tool or supplier. These integrations are limited in functionality and cannot access all the capabilities of any tool.
The NTAF specification defines mechanisms for network entities, either lab equipment or software automation tool harnesses, to publish information that will allow other entities to integrate with them and control them in a generic manner. The specification also covers how these entities can register themselves and discover what other NTAF entities are available within their environment.
The end result is that customers can now assemble complete test automation solutions using pluggable tool components, ensuring that the best tool is used for a specific job, be it commercial, proprietary or open-source. Since all tools are self-registering and self-describing, everything is built to be transparent and simple.
At the NTAF annual meeting and Board of Director’s meeting earlier this month multiple vendors from the membership demonstrated interoperability based on the final draft specifications of this standard.
Membership of NTAF includes BreakingPoint Systems, Brocade, BT, Cisco, Empirix, Ericsson, EXFO, Ixia, JDSU, Linkbit, MRV, Polystar, Shenick, Spirent Communications, Tata Communications, Tech Mahindra and Verizon.
Network Test Automation Forum (NTAF)