Q

Point: What topics should user acceptance testing cover?

We have outsourced our data migration from one SAN (Xiotech) to another (Clariion CX Series). The consultants have asked us to come up with user acceptance testing. My question to you is: What should user acceptance testing cover?
You could get into many different areas and levels of detail with defining user acceptance testing criteria. Some general areas to cover in a user acceptance testing plan include performance, availability, functionality, management, operational and environmental topics.

From a performance standpoint, you want to validate that the new subsystem performs as advertised and, more importantly, meets or exceeds your expectations and applications needs. This might entail running some benchmark to measure response time, transaction rates, and throughput of your existing storage system for both your application and a synthetic workload.

From an availability standpoint, you want to verify that the new storage systems components work as advertised in terms of handling failures, loss of power, automatic failover and disk drive rebuilds. A word of caution: Check with your vendor as to what they allow, so as to not violate any warranties or service arrangements.

In terms of functionality testing, verify that you can perform functions including creating RAID groups, LUNs and allocating storage. From a management perspective, verify that your servers are able to see the new storage and that the storage allocation including any LUN mapping and masking are implemented correctly. Also part of management would be to verify that your SNMP or e-mail alerts and notifications are properly configured and integrated with your other software.

From an operational standpoint, verify that you and your staff are aware of basic principals of operation including power up and shutdown procedures, failed disk drive replacement and any other day to day procedures. From an environmental standpoint verify that the system is properly cabled to your servers as well as to the specified power including alternate power source. Verify that the system is running properly and looks to be ok from an external physical standpoint. There are many more detailed items that could be covered; however this should give you a good basis to start with.

Read Randy Kerns's response to this question.

This was first published in July 2004

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