In this interview, Hen Haras, Xena Networks General Manager USA, provides an overview on Xena’s L2-7 test solutions for NEMs, service providers, enterprises and government agencies. Xena Networks develops easy-to-use and innovative Gigabit Ethernet test solutions that leverage the latest technology.
Tolly: While we are familiar with Xena Networks from our work on testing projects including a recent LAN Switch benchmark can you share with our readers more information on Xena and your solutions?
Haras: Xena believes there are smarter ways to generate and analyze Ethernet traffic than those being offered by the market leaders. Since being founded in 2007, Xena has focused on delivering innovative, user-friendly and cost-efficient test equipment that takes the task of generating and analyzing Ethernet traffic to a whole new level – both for Layer 2-3 and Layer 4-7.
Tolly: With regards to Layer 2-3 what does Xena offer from customers from a test chassis, module and software perspective?
Haras: Xena offers Layer 2-3 test platform can generate wire-speed Ethernet traffic at all speeds up to 100Gbps, and makes it easy for users to configure the traffic with a high level of accuracy and granularity – and then analyze how network devices and services perform in response. There are 2 chassis – the large modular XenaBay or the small and easy-to-transport XenaCompact. Both can be equipped an extensive range of copper and optical Gigabit Ethernet test modules supporting all Ethernet speeds up to 100GE including the new 2.5GE, 5GE, 25GE and 50GE speeds.
The chassis and test modules are controlled via Xena Manager-2G, a free Windows GUI client provided for ad-hoc test execution, and remote management of test equipment located in multiple locations. Also included are standalone applications for automated RFC 2544, Y.1564, RFC 2889 and RFC 3918 testing.
Finally, an open TCP/IP-based text API lets users automate testing from any software environment, using Tcl, Python, Perl, VBA and Java wrappers to convert to/from the generic Xena Command Line Interface (CLI) format.
Xena’s L2-3 test platform is used by hundreds of customers worldwide who value its range of features, ease-of-use, cost efficiency, interoperability, and scalability.
Tolly: While Gigabit Ethernet interface is still the most prevalent speed what additional interfaces does Xena currently offer and/or is planning to support in the near future?
Haras: Xena supports all Ethernet speeds up to 100GE and is planning to release its first 400GE test module later this year.
Tolly: We noticed in our recent LAN Switch test the ease of the graphical user interfaces (GUI). Can you go into greater detail on the GUI and the web-based access to the platforms?
Haras: There is a huge range of user scenarios and hundreds of different parameters and indices that can be tweaked when generating Ethernet traffic. To make it easy for everyone to use our software has required thousands of design hours. We now offer one main application – XenaManager-2G – for configuring Layer 2-3 traffic generation. There is also a suite of standalone applications for testing RFC 2544, RFC 2889, RFC 3918 and Y.1564. And we offer the world’s best scripting tool to help users automate their testing – XenaScripting.
For Layer 3-4 we offer XenaConnect for setting up, generating and analyzing traffic. This application includes XenaAppMix, a piece of software which just won a Lightwave Innovation Award for 2016. Customers can use XenaAppMix which is a library of application traffic and protocols in pcap format that makes it easy to set up large-scale realistic traffic from various applications, using pre-defined and customizable mix templates – and then replay them against a device or network to see how it handles the traffic.
All of Xena’s software is Windows-based and can be installed on any post-XP PC fresh from Xena’s website. All that’s needed after that is an IP address and a password to access the Xena test chassis. Multiple users can be logged in simultaneously from different location with port-level access. Finally, users can also access the whole system via any HTML5 web-browser using XenaWeb, a small add-on solution.
Tolly: Beyond Layer 2-3, Xena also offers a Layer 4-7 test platform. What features/benefits does that product offer potential users?
Haras: Xena launched its first Layer 4-7 platform 3 years ago. Again there are is a choice of two chassis – the larger XenaScale which deliver massive performance, and the small, portable XenaAppliance, which can also be equipped with either a 2-port 10GE or a 6-port 1GE Layer 2-3 test module. Xena’s Layer 4-7 platform is targeted at the large number of customers who need to evaluate and verify the performance of devices and networks that need to handle stateful TCP/UDP traffic such as firewalls, switches, routers, NAT routers, proxies, load-balancers, bandwidth shapers and more. It is also ready for virtualization so that in the future Xena can offer stateful TCP/UDP testing as a cloud-based service.
Tolly: Can you share with us any upcoming plans on new and/or updated products and services?
Haras: Xena is preparing to expand its range of L2-3 solutions with high-density 100GE units, and our first 400GE test modules. Many of these will be multi-speed i.e. capable of testing as many as 5 different GE speeds from 100M through to 100GE. Similarly, Xena’s software is being expanded with new features and improvements, including virtualization as mentioned above.