ABoT : Test Orchestration Solution

Application and service complexity demands intricate setup, configuration, and test scripts. For successful and faster roll-outs of network services like Mobility and IoT on different platforms, it is necessary to define call flows and execute them on multiple setups in a CI/CD environment.

The ABot Test Orchestration Solution uses the concept of BDD to define and execute test scenarios enabling collaboration amongst multiple stakeholders. The test cases are written in a user-friendly Domain Specific Language (DSL) for Product Managers, Dev/QA engineers, Solution Architects as well as Field personnel to define and reuse the test cases. ABot can be seamlessly invoked from different CI engines like Jenkins for scheduling the test execution. The framework integrates with orchestrators like Juju and Cloudify for Continuous Deployment (CD) and lifecycle management on NFV platforms. ABot can incorporate plugins to emulate components of complex systems like Mobility and IoT for comprehensive functional and performance testing.

ABot comes integrated with an intuitive web-based UI that provides a graphical summary,  detailed review of the test results and test analytics. The test results are viewable through the ABot UI as well as through the Jenkins dashboard; thereby enabling easy certification of the System under Test (SUT).

With the advent of 5G/IoT and its evolution from 4G components, the need for testing and simulating Load Scenarios in CI/CD environments has become an important factor in deciding the QoE (Quality of Experience) of the subscriber. Network Service roll-out requires complex configuration followed by the execution of standards-based procedures. The environments in which these new services are deployed have legacy components that inter-work with new components of the new Network Service. Successful roll-outs of new Network Services depend on a repeatable CI/CD testing environment that takes into account all the aspects of the new Network Service. 

The ABot Test Orchestration Solution provides a method by which to achieve the desired QoE of a Network Service. ABot has the capability to emulate 4G and evolved 5G node components that aid in the testing of real node components of the network or a system of real node components of the network. Test cases in ABot the in a high-level user-friendly DSL (Domain Specific Language). Test Cases can or extended from templates that are packaged with ABot. ABot tests complex systems that cater to unique telecom use cases such as 4G Mobility or 5G IoT. With ABot lies the capability to generate standards-based protocol specific call-flow traffic as prescribed by the 3GPP specifications. ABot has the capability of executing and validating a myriad of test cases under demanding load conditions.

ABot integrates seamlessly with CI/CD environments such as Jenkins. It has the capability to integrate with cloud platforms that are driven by orchestrators such as Juju and Cloudify. ABot has a web-based UI that provides vital information related to test case execution and analytics. It also provides advanced features such as Load Visualization.

ABot provides plugins for third-party traffic generators to provide for an automation platform based on DSL driven test case development. When ABot is deployed in this form, it behaves as a test orchestration framework that delegates traffic generation responsibilities to the third-party tool and focuses on automation (triggering and validation criteria of the test case).

The ABot solution includes a Test Orchestration framework that enables Service Providers and OEMs to define reusable tests based on a user-friendly Domain Specific Language (DSL) and schedule their execution through any CI engine like Jenkins.

ABot uses the concept of BDD (Behaviour driven development) to define service-level test scenarios in a high-level language using spec-driven acceptance criteria thereby enabling collaboration with multiple stakeholders. Since test cases are written in English like language (no programming syntax), even a field engineer can easily add a field level test case thereby enhancing the test repository. These feature files are mapped to relevant specifications, call flows and procedures, hence they can be provided as a part of RFP response for easy customer verification.

ABot provides for an interface to design test cases using a user-friendly DSL. When used as a test orchestration framework for third-party traffic generators, ABot has plugins to adapt to the environment of the traffic generator by providing a DSL to drive the traffic generator. The user is then enabled with a user-friendly DSL interface to define Service Level test cases. The test cases written in English like syntax, have the capability of bringing multiple stakeholders – Engineers and Business Executives to the same understanding of the system at a high-level. The English like the syntax of the DSL tries to avoid programming language constructs of executing the test case. The goal of defining the test case using the DSL is to bring out the domain characteristics with high emphasis on the definition of the use case that is being tested. The test case that is implemented with the DSL has validation criteria which help in simplifying the complex characteristics of the SUT (system under test) to a more comprehensive use case level.

Test cases that are defined using the DSL can be part of a version control system such as GIT or SVN. The test cases can be executed individually or as part of a group of test cases. Seamless Integration with CI/CD platforms facilitate the automation of the test cases. The web based UI provides for graphical reports of statistics related to the test case execution. The ABot execution engine also collects artifacts such as logs and packet captures that aid in the forensic analysis of the use case being tested.

Managing complex mobility services like IoT, M2M & AI requires seamless interoperability between different network functions. Executing reusable DSL-based feature files across multiple environments helps uncover specific problems as well as performance constraints on different physical and virtual platforms. The ABot supported plugins can change parameters for different call flows with ease and yet support complex use cases under demanding load conditions as emulated by advanced traffic generators like Ixia and dsTest.

ABot as a test harness can emulate complex telecom network systems like the vEPCvIMS as well as vIoT under a single umbrella offering. If the need of the user is to simulate different network components like that of a vEPC system, namely – eNodeB, MME and SPGW, ABot provides the ability to do so. The idea is to emulate important features of the system and provide the capability of performing functional and load testing on all of its features. ABot comprises of easily modifiable NFV templates for feature-level call flows. Vendors can send these templates with the RFP specifications for visibility and validation. The customers can not only execute the DSL based test cases but also modify values to test the threshold.

ABot has the capability of traffic generation of 3GPP compliant protocol standards. The traffic generation components exist as plugins to the framework. The test harness can emulate complex telecom systems such as vEPC, vIMS and vIoT. ABot has the capability to aid the testing of a standards based Network Service and help with the evolution from 4G to 5G. Important components that fall under the purview of emulation are UE/eNodeB, MME, HSS, SGW, PGW, PCRF, SCEF.  Along with the capability to emulate nodes or endpoints, lies the capability of ABot to emulate protocol stacks – S1AP, GTPv2C, GTPv1U, Diameter, Radius, SIP and RTP. The emulation of nodes and protocols follow the releases of 3GPP. With the advent of 5G and its service based reference architecture, ABot provides for a way to adhere to the new architecture as more protocol stacks and node support keep getting added to the basic framework, thus paving the way for the evolution.

The ABot test harness comprises of industry standard use cases in the form of templates. The templates are useful for conformance testing and the reports that are generated from the execution of the templates that can serve as reference when responding to RFPs. ABot has traffic generation capabilities that are ideal for lab environments that are used for certification and trials.

As cloud computing and NFV becomes a reality, VNF deployment verification poses a major challenge. There has been a fair amount of focus on VNF on-boarding but the industry is yet to find an automated validation mechanism for virtualized network services deployed at multiple locations. Operators need automated deployment of test harnesses on NFV-compliant infrastructure with scripted execution of well-defined test on the target VNFs and the ability to troubleshoot issues using easily understood results.

ABot is easily deployed on any virtualized platform to run functional and performance validation on the target VNFs. It has plugins to integrate with test bench components (such as 3rd party traffic generators and metrics collectors) and can run repeated test scenarios. Abot has the capability toperform system tests on multi-vendor VNFs for service-level validationlike VoLTE. It can also perform VNF lifecycle management verification as well as validation of self-healing and auto-scaling policies of the deployed VNFs. ABot can certify VNFs deployed as virtual machines on cloud platforms such as OpenStack and VNFs deployed as containers and managed by Kubernetes.

The ABot solution can be deployed along with selected NFV orchestrator on any target cloud platform. It can trigger VNF deployment using the NFVO/VNFM and subsequently invoke functional and load tests for VNF certification and deployment validation. ABot supports multiple NFVO/VNFM combinations such as CloudifyJuju and OpenBaton.

ABot uses the plugins for emulation capabilities to execute functional and performance tests on the deployed VNFs using templates. These templates enable easy verification against different KPIs for the test scenarios. Various reports can be generated for the presentation of all statistical values.

ABoT Application Scenario

Emulation

Mobility Analytics

Diameter Traffic

Rebaca-Ixia Joint Solution

Solution Brief

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Press Release

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Features and Specification

Supports testing of virtual, hybrid and proprietary hardware based wireless network

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Performance and Load Testing

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EPC, IMS, VoLTE

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Easily extensible protocol adapters SDK

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Advanced Reporting

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Available in Canonical Juju charm store

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