Level 7 Technology Group

order from chaos

Projects - SpamLion QA Network

One of the major challenges that is presented in Testing and Quality Assurance of a network-based product is the creation of a network of servers that models the real-world. Since SpamLion protects e-mail Post Offices it is imperative to create a controlled network environment that encompasses both server platforms and various mail server products.

In a privately funded start-up company, like SpamLion, the major budgetary constraints are knowledge workers and hardware resources. It becomes an expensive undertaking to create a laboratory network consisting of multiple servers. The hardware for such an environment requires many computers - unless, one is imaginative and replaces multiple computers with a single workstation that has the capability of supporting physical servers in software.

The product I selected for this project is called VMWare. It is published by VMWare, Inc. The product allow you to use virtual machines to support the workloads of multiple servers. We were able to test the entire network deployment across multiple virtual machines on a single Workstation. Visit their web site at www.vmware.com for more information and a 30 day evaluation copy available for download.

Click here to view a representation of the test environment.

The test bed consists of 4 e-mail platforms:

  • Exchange 2000 on Windows 2000 Active Directory,
  • Exchange 5.5 on NT4.0 Domain, and
  • 2 IMail5.0 PostOffices from IPSwitch on Windows 2000 Servers.

The 5 SpamLion servers are deployed on:

  • WIndows 2000 Server,
  • Windows 2000 Professional,
  • Windows XP Professional, and
  • Windows .NET Web Server (RC1).

This test environment can be replicated to other licensed workstations to create multiple test scenarios. We are able to create a customized network that can be placed on DVD and given to a potential customer for evaluation purposes. The evaluation network consists of a network environment matching the specifications of the potential customer. In this way the customer can model the deployment on a single workstation.

This network environment also allowed us to create interfaces from the mail servers to our SpamLion product. This allowed us to create an Address Synchronization feature that is a hit with customers.