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MIMIC Simulator - Overcoming hurdles in Evaluation, Testing and Training

Enterprise-wide Network Management applications typically communicate with many manageable devices. In order to exercise the application, a laboratory must setup a facsimile of the expected environments. This translates into setup, maintenance, support and management of a lab within the budget constrains. That is why enterprises and manufacturers turn to MIMIC Simulator for overcoming the hurdles and creating a reliable environment.

Current Hurdles:

1. Wide variety of SNMP agents and MIBs

  • SNMP agents are embedded in all kinds of equipment, producing an explosion of interoperability cases.
  • New versions are released more and more frequently.

2. Difficult to setup large networks

  • The large quantity of devices creates a combinatorial nightmare of scenarios.
  • Not only must the equipment itself be purchased, maintained, upgraded, etc., but also the infrastructure to support it (lab space, power supplies, cabling, etc.).
  • Large labs increase electricity consumption and cooling overhead.

3. High point-of-entry cost for NMS

  • Too expensive to buy all types of network devices.
  • Support costs are higher.
  • Difficult to justify purchase of equipment for testing/evaluation purpose.

4. Incomplete testing

  • Even a representative sample of devices cannot guarantee minimum interoperability in more complicated environments.
  • Cannot test all the different versions/combinations. The time to boot different firmware or to reconfigure a device is prohibitive.
  • Difficult to test various failure symptoms. Pathological scenarios may even require physical interaction, such as jiggling a wire or unplugging a connector.
  • Long-term testing requires a too much time.

5. Expensive to plan for the future

  • Future network growth is costly to test with current equipment.
  • Extrapolation of resource requirements is risky.

MIMIC's Solutions:

1. Immediate Cost Savings

  • No need to buy extra laboratory equipment (hardware, agents, software). The cost factor of lab equipment is reduced by a factor of up to 1,000.
  • Leverage existing laboratory equipment by running MIMIC alongside the real device. Instead of buying ten of the same devices, buy one real device, and simulate the remaining nine.
  • Reduced support costs for test equipment. Rather than supporting different types of devices, it is only necessary to support MIMIC on industry-standard hardware (Intel-based PCs or AMD).
  • Time savings dramatically impact labor costs, especially early in the development cycle. MIMIC can be employed in the prototyping and design stages. It only took us minutes to setup the simulations used to demo the Applications on this site.
  • Allows instantaneous hypothetical growth scenarios with minimal additional expense. Time can be fast-forwarded in MIMIC with a few mouse-clicks and keystrokes. Agents can easily be cloned. This helps in realistic future resource planning.

2. Reduced Setups and Maintenance

  • No need for multiple network connections, power supplies, etc. Physical lab space and infrastructure requirements are reduced 100-fold.
  • No need to set up WAN links. MIMIC simulates network delay and runs with most network interface cards. It even runs over PPP on a serial line.
  • Energy savings of smaller lab means less environmental impact.

3. Complete Testing

  • Test management applications with a wide variety of agents instead of just one.
  • Test multiple versions of each device simultaneously.
  • Configure pathological conditions easily in order to investigate even the trickiest configurations.

4. Flexible Simulation of Heterogeneous Network

  • Run MIMIC on any industry-standard Intel-based PCs with a wide variety of network interfaces.
  • Run MIMIC on your laptop, and take your lab on the road for customer support calls or trade shows.
  • Configure MIMIC with any IP address, even on multiple subnets.
  • Simulate different failure symptoms, such as network delays, retransmits, packet losses, etc.
  • Change the configuration easily in order to simulate a variety of scenarios.
  • Use the recording environment to setup existing scenarios easily.

5. Complete Control

  • Control the entire environment, even multiple MIMIC boxes, with one remote console.
  • Manipulate parameters at run-time to simulate different network conditions.
  • Change time instantaneously by "fast-forwarding" or even "rewinding."
  • Access MIMIC from any workstation that supports the X Window System.

6. Reliable Test Environment

  • No need to worry about test equipment failures.
  • Reduce the number of points of failure.