Automate Power Regression Testing in Lab Applications

In addition to providing powerful tools for managing network devices, remote reboot control and remote console access can also play a vital role in test lab applications. When these two capabilities are combined in a single device, such as WTI’s CPM Series Console + PDU hybrids, this provides test lab professionals with a versatile means to control power switching for test devices and collect any error messages that are generated by the device after a power interruption.

Power regression testing is often used in both product development and quality control as a means to determine how gracefully a device will recover from a power interruption. In a typical regression test application, power to the unit is repeatedly cycled off and back on again, allowing test personnel to capture any error or status message that are generated by the test device after power is restored. The ability to remotely control power also proves useful in software development labs, where engineers working at remote locations often need to reboot a test server when errors in code cause the server to crash.

In this white paper, we will discuss a typical power regression test application and typical software test application and describe how the CPM Series Console + Power Hybrid can help to streamline the test process, reduce engineering downtime and help to keep engineers better informed regarding events that occur during the test process.

Power Regression Test Application

Automate Power Regression Testing in Lab Applications

Power regression testing is a common element in both the preproduction development phase and post production quality assurance. In the example above, Python, Tcl or a similar script is sent to the CPM Series Console + Power Hybrid in order to initiate each reboot cycle, effectively automating the repetitive power reboot test. This both eliminates the need for constant human oversight of the test process and also adds a new level of consistency for test results by ensuring that each reboot is relentlessly performed according to schedule, without interruptions or lapses.

Each time power is switched Off and On, any error messages or status reports that are generated by the test device are captured by the CPM’s buffered serial ports, and then passed on to a test network or data collection device. The data collected during the regression test provides development and QC engineers with vital details regarding problems that might arise during power outages and in other cases where power to the device is switched off and then restored.

The CPM-1600-1 unit used in this example provides sixteen switched power outlets as well as sixteen buffered serial ports, allowing each CPM-1600-1 unit to control the testing of up to sixteen devices. For smaller test applications, the CPM is also available in an eight outlet/port configuration.

A ping response monitor feature allows the CPM to provide instant notification when a test device has ceased to respond to ping commands; allowing test operators to quickly spot devices that have crashed or failed during the process of repetitive reboot testing.

In addition to providing an effective means for automating the regression test procedure and collecting resulting data from each test device, the CPM is also available with current metering, alarm and logging capabilities, which can provide engineers with a log of current consumption during the test procedure and also supply notification when current consumption drops below or exceeds user-defined trigger levels. This capability can be used to detect test devices that are drawing excess power as well as devices that have ceased to draw power and may have experienced a power supply failure.

In cases where two separate networks are used to collect data and control testing, the CPM is also available with dual 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports.

Software Test Lab Application

Rebooting Servers in Software Development Applications

During software development, programmers and test servers are often located miles apart. In some cases, a programming engineer in India might be testing his or her code on a server located in Irvine, California. Normally, the physical distance between the programmer and the server doesn’t cause a problem. But in instances when the code or other factors cause the remote server to crash, this can leave the programmer hanging, wasting time waiting for the server to be restored to normal operation so the programmer can fix the code and proceed.

In the example shown above, a CPM-1600-1 Series Console Server + PDU Hybrid is installed at the test lab, enabling programmers at remote locations to reboot test servers when code problems or other events cause the server the crash. This saves time and money by allowing the programmer to reboot distant test servers on demand, rather than filling out a service ticket and waiting for personnel at test lab to respond.

Since the CPM’s user directory allows administrators to limit each user to specific ports or port groups, this means that each programmer can reboot their own specific server, without the risk of accidently rebooting the wrong server. In addition, the CPM’s ping response monitoring function can also be employed to notify both programmers and administrators when servers are unresponsive, allowing problems with test equipment to be addressed proactively, before outages cause problems or interfere with work flow.

If the CPM unit includes the optional current monitoring function, this provides administrators with another means to detect problems with the test equipment. The optional current monitoring function can provide prompt notification when current usage rises above or drops below user-defined trigger values. Sudden drops in current usage can often indicate that a power supply at a connected test device has failed, while rises in current consumption could indicate that test devices are drawing excess power.

In cases where remote SSH or Web communication with the switched PDU is required, the CPM also includes a formidable assortment of security and authentication features to ensure that command and configuration functions are only available to authorized users.