Allion has produced a series of special articles for the server industry and related application scenarios. We will analyze in detail, assisting businesses and cloud service brands with the procurement process in addition to server testing.
Allion Labs | James Ou
For enterprises and cloud service brands, the server is undoubtedly the most important hardware infrastructure for businesses. Senior procurement specialists state that servers come with high unit prices and a complex procurement process. Enterprises must ensure server specifications match the application needs of the business as well as undertake proper acceptance testing before deployment and ODM acceptance sampling.
The 3 Quality Requirements—Specification, Performance, and Stability
To ensure smooth server operation, an enterprise must confirm specification, performance, and stability requirements upon accepting a server. Yet, most QA teams and third-party test labs are unprepared to undertake this heavy burden. Doing so involves the measurement of electrical signal quality, the evaluation of several scenario performance evaluations in server operation, and the operation stability in different environmental conditions, all of which require different test equipment and capabilities. We will explain what equipment and capabilities are required to test these 3 quality requirements.
Servers involve the top performing hardware in the entire IT industry, which means its hardware requires the highest specifications. Signal integrity testing for servers should therefore be left to a laboratory trusted by the top tech brands.
For example, servers have high-speed signals and high-throughput data transmission, and the latest technical specifications in the industry are PCIe Gen5 and 800G High Speed Ethernet, having respectively throughputs of 63GB/s (x16) and 112GB/s. When the high-speed signal is poorly designed, data transmission performance is reduced and the energy consumption is increased. Even worse is when the system restarts randomly, delaying or stopping the entire application service, resulting in negative user experience and economic losses. To measure such high-speed electrical signals, Allion utilizes oscilloscopes with a bandwidth of 50/70GHz, BER testers (BERTs) of 32Gbps, and various form factors test fixtures, making for a high technical threshold.
Evaluating performance doesn’t require expensive test equipment, yet it involves professional capabilities in designing evaluation conditions and interpretation of the results according to application scenarios.
For example, differences in performance conditions of NB IoT and 5G applications for edge computing, the differences in the computing performance conditions between cloud virtual computers and cloud commercial software, and the differences in the throughput and performance conditions of hot and cold data stored in the cloud need to design their workload parameters according to the hardware specifications plus the application scenario and usage. The interpretation of the results also requires testing professionals with application context to provide correct information and advice.
The operating stability of the server under different environmental conditions is vital in acceptance testing, with the basic test conditions being temperature, humidity, shock, and vibration. These are the environment variables that the server may encounter while running in the server room or data center. To simulate the environment of the server room/data center plus the operating conditions of the server application, the test environment is not an easy task.
For example, when an application service consists of 120 servers, in order to completely replicate the situation to the laboratory, it is necessary to prepare a Walk-in Chamber that can accommodate 3 of 42/48U racks, and the Walk-in Chamber must cover heat load 50–60KW, so that it can achieve long-term (500–1000hrs) stability test, and such a high-specification Walk-in Chamber is not available in ordinary laboratories.
Walk-in Chamber (left) and Shock/Vibration Machine
Having explained the 3 quality requirements for server procurement, few QA teams or laboratories have test equipment and capabilities in these fields all at once, and Allion is one of the few laboratories that has all the required equipment and capabilities.
Take the Next Step
Having invested more than US$ 5 million, Allion built a one-stop solution to help corporations in procurement, particularly in acceptance testing and acceptance sampling. We provide cloud service providers, carriers, and brands in ensuring server specification, performance, and stability after the deployment, and if you have server related issues, explore our Quality Requirement Specification (QRS) Program for Brands or ODMs or our Request for Proposal (RFP) Consulting Services.