Other than some cool technology, VCE brings many more benefits to the table. Today, I'm going to dive into the certification matrix. Before we actually talk about the matrix, lets look at what comes before then. Since VCE is comprised of parent company products (VMware, Cisco, EMC, and Intel), we have alpha access to not only new software level releases, but as well as new hardware. VCE's Platform Engineering team is tasked with taking existing hardware as well has new hardware, and coming up with a physical and logical architecture design that meets requirements based upon performance, environmentals, and ease of repeatability. After Platform Engineering has created a validated design, they need to keep the architecture up to date with new hardware released from parent companies which may or may not require the swapping of components for new Vblocks. Have you ever calculated how much time it takes someone like yourself to completely design a virutalized infrastructure such as this? There are literally thousands of options from the main hardware components, types of cables and interconnects, power options, and placement of equipment into racks which dictates power draw, BTUs, and cable lengths. On average, it's close to 300 pieces that are aggregated together.
Now Quality Assurance steps in. QA is responsible for the integration and testing of the design. This integration testing is performed so we know that all components are able to communicate with one another and the Vblock talks as a complete system. This is the first part of the validation process. After all components are validated, their firmware and software versions are noted and then the regression testing begins. This base regression test is for existing component verification. Afterwards, new functionality tests are then performed so new features are fully tested and considered working throughout the stack. Lastly, interoperability tests happen by additional e-lab teams. An example of some tests are: installation and configuration, recovery, stability, load/performance, patch and maintenance testing, interface testing inbound and outbound, negative test strategies, provisioning with and without cloud products like UIM, usability, and physical testing of fault tolerant systems, visual indicators, and thermals. In fact, check out these numbers from January 2012. Over 2000 hours of testing are put into Vblock Platforms during every major release cycle.