Best in Test Finalists: Test-development and test-management software
Test Measurement World Staff- December 22, 2008
Arendar 2009 Suite
Using the Test Plan Management module of the Arendar 2009 Suite, you can create an electronic representation of all information needed to test a particular device. In addition, the software lets you access, modify, and deploy all the required tests, parameters, configurations, and test code from anywhere in the world via a standard Web browser.
The Test Plan Management module addresses the need for enterprise-wide collaboration. It furnishes a centralized repository for all test information, enabling engineers to organize, archive, search, and reuse test information IP.
Engineers can take advantage of an automated mechanism for deploying test code and updating test parameters on remote stations to ensure their products are tested with the correct test sequences. Version controls of all tests, documents, and test code further ensure adherence to proper test procedures.
Through the Test Plan Management module, engineers can correlate test data by using the accessible and centralized test plan information that is associated with each product. Users can determine what tests were used to test the product and on what test stations.
Modules in the Arendar 2009 Suite of enterprise test software can be purchased individually. The Test Plan Management module costs $35,000.
The Simics Acclerator, included in release 4.0 of the Simics virtual software development platform, delivers the speed and scalability needed to enable software development not only ahead of hardware availability, but also throughout the development cycle. With Accelerator, Simics is able to leverage multiprocessor and multicore hosts to accelerate the execution of large target systems.
Simics 4.0 has also been improved to enhance parallelism, providing additional scalability. Speed increases of up to 10 times that of Simics 3.2 have been observed in preliminary testing on an eight-core host running a 64-node network. New multithreading capabilities in Simics 4.0 streamline the development process, while the capacity to simulate increasingly complex hardware environments improves quality and productivity, as well as time to market.
Simics 4.0 features noninvasive debugging and tracing; the ability to save and resume execution; full deterministic behavior; built-in networking capabilities; forward and reverse execution; the ability to examine, control, and break on any internal device and to inject faults; and the ability to save system state and later replay it. Users also have access to additional APIs and a repository that comprises thousands of models accrued since Simics’ first release.
The average price for Simics 4.0 is $15,000/seat.
TestShell 2.2 is a suite of integrated applications that can be used for testing virtually any type of software, hardware, or embedded system. Each application manages and automates certain aspects of the testing process and supplies data to a unified database. Together, the applications help system developers and manufacturers improve test coverage, accuracy, and efficiency.
TestShell provides a single testing environment throughout the entire product lifecycle—from development, design verification, and manufacturing through service and support. It supports a range of test instruments, interfaces, protocols, and script languages to enable easy test creation for complex environments.
The collection of automated testing applications furnished in TestShell can be used in a diverse range of industries, including telecommunications, cellular, aerospace and defense, consumer electronics, medical devices, and semiconductors, providing such benefits as:
• flexible, code-free, wizard-driven automated test development;
• across-the-board standardization to maximize collaborative and data collection capabilities;
• maximum usability and reusability of both tests and test results;
• smooth testing functionality for any kind of test and measurement instrumentation, which is replaceable at any time and vendor independent; and
• on-demand reporting and real-time decision support.
Prices start at $30,000 for a basic TestShell package.
Pacific Power Source
Version 1.3 of UPC Studio software—a suite of tools for control and measurement of AC power sources equipped with UPCs (universal programmable controllers)—incorporates a Test Manager feature that lets you create and run test sequences and test plans. Operating through a PC’s GPIB or RS-232 interface, UPC Studio with Test Manager lets you define and control complete test routines and reports. Unlike typical instrument software drivers, Test Manager allows scripting and addressing of other instruments on the remote interface.
Test sequences employ eight built-in test-step types, including steady-state output, transient trigger, UPC control, and UPC metering. Complete UPC metering supports waveform capture and voltage, current, frequency, power, and harmonics. Embedded scripts allow you to create custom functions with full access to Test Manager objects.
Test reports record parameters and results for each test step, while built-in error handling assists in isolating the root cause of failures. Users can automate instrument compliance testing and certification, as well as obtain preconfigured test sequences and test plans from Pacific Power Source.
UPC Studio, including UPC control and manager with an output sequence browser, is free to customers with registration. Test Manager costs $1750, and factory-written test sequences start at $500.
VEE Pro 9.0
VEE Pro 9.0 is cost-effective graphical programming software for measurement, instrument control, and analysis. It includes features that are typically sold separately by other vendors in the form of toolkits, such as Matlab analysis tools, a runtime deployment engine, a report generator, and database connectivity.
A key feature of VEE Pro 9.0 is multithreading and multicore programming. With multithreading, a task can be split into threads that are executed in parallel rather than in a linear fashion. Agilent claims this significantly increases the performance of the program and shortens execution time.
In a multicore PC, VEE Pro 9.0 allocates different execution threads to different CPU cores, further enhancing program performance. It also offers the ability to operate multiple instruments simultaneously.
With VEE’s SCPI completion feature, users do not need to memorize command syntax or search through SCPI manuals for the right commands to control their instruments. The SCPI completion feature not only eliminates syntax errors, but also reduces programming time.
VEE Pro 9.0 costs $1800 for a perpetual license and includes Mathworks Signal Processing Toolbox for Matlab 2007a, integrated database support, a runtime execution engine to create unlimited run-only deployments, and a Microsoft Excel library add-in for reporting.
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