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IxANVL Dockers for Protocol Conformance Testing

2021-05-26  |  4 min read 

If you are one of the network equipment manufacturer (NEM) or protocol stack vendors using Keysight’s IxANVL protocol conformance test solution, you may have noticed a shift in our approach to testing. I have been receiving requests from many of our customers to bring the power of IxANVL test suites into an automated and quickly deployable test environment. We have been releasing support for ova and qcow2 images for IxANVL over the past few releases. However, the journey of a flexible deployment model for IxANVL reached a milestone last week with the IxANVL 9.30 release supporting docker container images.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons this is important to users.

Fast and Easily Deployable Testing Pipeline

NEMs around the world, competing to be first to market, must adopt a fast-developing environment. The CI/CD pipeline plays a great role in ensuring changes in code go through automated conformance testing before going to production. A container-based environment and containerized test tools enable a fast and easily deployable testing pipeline. A set of scripts can quickly deploy a conformance test environment using the IxANVL container image.

Secured and Clean Test Environment

With globally collaborative software development and parallel code contribution by global team members, it’s extremely important to ensure a clean testing environment for each test so that there are no residual effects of the previous test runs. Many times we have seen a stack overflow exposed by an IxANVL conformance test corrupt the software environment that hosts the protocol stack under test. This unknowingly introduces unpredictable behavior in the subsequent tests. An ideal approach is to use a temporary environment for each user that can be discarded immediately or periodically after the failed test - before the next batch run.

A container-based test environment prevents any residual side effects of a test to propagate to the subsequent runs or between users, hence reducing the influence of any previous testing activities.

Testing Strategy for Open-Source Projects

Conformance testing is extremely important in open-source development projects. Contrary to the popular belief that open-source projects can be tested using open-source scripts and ad hoc methods, the reality is that a well-managed open-source project needs a well-structured conformance testing approach. There are a lot of examples like this where IxANVL was used for conformance benchmarking before every protocol stack release.

The partners contributing in an open-source code base need to have access to a testbed that’s easily deployable in their company environment. IxANVL containers can help the cause with a script-based deployment approach.

Quick Tips to Get Started

  1. Visit our and download the IxANVL 9.30 application
  2. Run the IxANVL docker with “–privileged” option so that the test tool binary can write packets on physical NIC
  3. Find the IxANVL installation inside the /opt/Ixia/IxANVL directory inside the container
  4. Basic steps to load, run, and execute IxANVL docker:


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