Monday, March 02, 2009

System Stress Testing Suites

Quick post. Just the facts ma’am.

Before deploying a new system (server usage) it is always good advice to stress out the system to ensure that if any hardware components could fail, they are found and fail pre-production service.

To that end there are a few utilities I use to do that and some neat new ones I just discovered last week.

Bart’s Stuff Test 5 – (freeware) -- Great application that does long-term heavy stress testing of storage devices.

Memtest86 - (freeware) – Freshly updated (v3.5 released Jan 09) allows for off-line booting of a system and memory checking of installed RAM. Create your boot media as either a CD, floppy, or USB boot device.  Nice and easy to use.

Memtest86+ - (freeware) – The other bootable memory tester system.  Also recently updated (Dec 08).  Available in a boot cd ISO, a boot floppy file, or a pre-compiled EXE file to run from DOS.

Inquisitor – New find:

Inquisitor is an open-source hardware testing and certification system, suitable for both enterprise and home use, customizable, modular and available in both serverless Live CD/DVD format and server-controlled network boot production system.

It can analyse and test your hardware from top to the bottom and assure that it won’t fail easily under the production stress.

Download as a LiveCD ISO file.  The screenshots make it seem not very sexy, but for stress testing, it appears to have the muscle needed to fully beat up a system and tenderize it before deployment.

See also Inquisitor (hardware testing software) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Phoronix Test Suite - Linux Testing & Benchmarking Platform - (freeware) – This IS sexy.

The Phoronix Test Suite is the most comprehensive testing and benchmarking platform available for the Linux operating system. This software is designed to effectively carry out both qualitative and quantitative benchmarks in a clean, reproducible, and easy-to-use manner. This software is based upon the extensive Linux benchmarking work and internal tools developed by since 2004 along with input from leading tier-one computer hardware vendors. This software is open-source and licensed under the GNU GPLv3. The Phoronix Test Suite consists of a lightweight processing core (pts-core) with each benchmark consisting of an XML-based profile with related resource scripts. The process from the benchmark installation, to the actual benchmarking, to the parsing of important hardware and software components is heavily automated and completely repeatable, asking users only for confirmation of actions.

  • 80+ Test Profiles
  • 30+ Test Suites
  • Extensible (XML-based) Testing Architecture
  • Automated Test Installation
  • Dependency Management Support
  • Module-based Plug-In Architecture
  • Integrated Results Viewer
  • PNG, JPG, Adobe SWF, SVG Graph Rendering Support
  • Autonomous Batch Mode Supported
  • Global Database For Result Uploads, Benchmark Comparisons
  • HTML Documentation Covering Test Profiles, Module Framework
  • Installed Software, Hardware Detection
  • System Monitoring Support
  • Runs On Linux, OpenSolaris, Mac OS X, & FreeBSD Operating Systems

The only drawback is that it appears the applicaiton package needs to be installed under a Linux system…something server builders or Windows OS users wouldn’t find terribly useful or easy to do. Although I image that folks who would be using this in the first place wouldn’t have any issue installing a Linux build locally on a system, then this package and running tests, then wiping the drive clean before final OS installation and deployments.

However, after a bit of digging I did find this.

Phoronix Test Suite LiveCD – Still a work in progress and may not match the current release version of Phoronix proper.  Should allow the curious to experiment with the features safely before deciding if they want to go to the full local installed package.


--Claus V.

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