Equipment essentials

Asked to name what lab equipment they considered essential, many Lab Alliance members mentioned tools from test equipment vendors such as Empirix, Fluke, Ixia and Spirent. But we also got some creative answers, including these.

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Joel Snyder, Opus One:

  • Microsoft Developer Network subscription, for access to Microsoft products.
  • Cisco SmartNET support service, vital in the network business.
  • A good networked KVM system, enabling control of many computers from a single console.
  • VMware virtual machine software, enabling one server to emulate up to 10 servers.
  • Symantec Ghost, to distribute a single PC image to many machines.
  • Color-coded patch cables, with the length marked on each end.

David Newman, Network Test:

  • Web Polygraph: mimics a large number of clients making requests of a Web server through a cache, for testing proxy caches.
  • Tcpdump: a tool for capturing network traffic.
  • Ethereal: a graphical protocol analyzer.

Greg Goddard, EDS

  • Iperf: for measuring TCP and UDP bandwidth performance.
  • NIST Net: IP network emulation software from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Mandy Andress, ArcSec Technologies:

  • For security tests, you need lots of different operating systems and applications that are full of vulnerabilities, along with a packet generator.

Thomas Powell, PINT:

  • A variety of TCP and HTTP inspection tools come in handy for monitoring Web application traffic. "I find HTTP level monitors like [Simtec's] HttpWatch that plug into Internet Explorer particularly useful. Similar tools for Mozilla are also helpful."
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