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Major Networking Players Establish Linux Stress Test

By Matthew Beale
Aug 26, 1999 12:00 AM PT

This week, a coalition of networking solution providers teamed up with Neal Nelson & Associates to produce a network stress test based on the increasingly popular Linux operating system (OS).

Major Networking Players Establish Linux Stress Test

A joint statement disclosed that Cabletron Systems (NYSE: CS), Xylan an Alcatel Company (NYSE: ALA) and FORE Systems are utilizing Nelson's test labs to "evaluate new products using the most extreme, real-world network traffic patterns."

"This type of testing makes a lot of sense," commented Kevin Brown, senior marketing director for Cabletron. "Using high volumes of real network traffic is completely different from, and in some ways superior to, testing with artificial traffic generators."

The Power and Cost-Efficiency of Linux

Neal Nelson, a benchmark specialist, designed the tests. According to his firm, they are "the first large-scale tool to use real clients and servers to send actual network traffic at very high bit rates."

The Network Stress Test, a fully automated benchmark, runs on a cluster of Linux-based computers with multiple local network adapters in each. "The infrastructure can support 10,000 simultaneous user sessions and perform a variety of common network activities like Web browsing, transfers, e-mail, streaming video and multicast communications," said Nelson. Linux was chosen because of its power, speed and bandwidth capacity.

"Linux is an excellent operating system for large clusters of computers," stated John Hynds, director of systems engineering for Xylan. He added that not only does Linux have "very efficient LAN drivers," but there are "no additional licensing charges when it is installed on a cluster with any number of individual machines. It is a very powerful and cost-effective option."

Linux and E-Commerce

Linux is becoming the preferred choice of an increasing number of e-commerce operations. Enthusiasts point to its power, ability to work with multiple processors and customizability as major selling points.

International Data Corp. (IDC) numbers show that Linux accounted for 17.2 percent of all new server license shipments in 1998, growing 212.5 percent from 1997 figures. "Linux has emerged as a particularly strong platform for Web-based commerce and other Internet-oriented enterprises," commented Paul Mason, vice president of infrastructure research for IDC.

Created in 1991 as an alternative to Microsoft Windows, Linux has over 12 million users worldwide.


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