Can anyone recommend a reliable independent testing company that tests
network hardware performance?
We are considering buying testing hardware (right now we are looking at
Spirent TestCenter) and I wanted to see if there were other options...
I can recommend Isocore http://www.isocore.com/ (the same folks that run the
MPLS conference). Talk to Rajiv Papneja [firstname.lastname@example.org].
IXIA makes a nice product depending on what you want to do. I have one here with some 10G line cards.
For independent testing, Kevin Tolly's been at it a long time, and has
shown himself to be fair.
Isocore is good, but there are many others to choose from: Network Test,
ExtremeLabs, Miercom, Core Competence, Opus One, in no particular order. I
can personally recommend all of those (I have no experience with Tolly so I
can't recommend them).
If you are really interested in application performance, a lab is probably a
better choice than a hardware purchase since they can help you interpret the
results, especially if you'll be like most test equipment users (having test
equipment used more than 10% of the time is rare). The results you'll get
from Ixia's and Spirent's load testing tools are pretty cut and dried...very
straightforward to interpret but depending on your application maybe
relatively meaningless. For application performance, there are many tools
you could consider, many of which are very specialized and thus don't have
I'd recommend talking to any of the labs above and see what kind of testing
they would use in a given situation before you run out and buy some test
equipment. Good luck!
I do highly recommend Core Competence, especially for security gear.
Dave Piscitello is the real deal.
I apologize for neglecting to mention the excellent test labs I've worked
with in Europe, including EANTC (in Germany) and West Coast Labs (in Wales,
I believe). Both are highly reputable and have access to lots of test
equipment (and they know how to use it!).