ClusterGen is a traffic generator which uses pktgen Linux kernel module with a set of hosts that generate traffic simultaneously.
Traffic generators are used to test and, thus, improve efficiency of existing software and hardware network solutions by generating traffic with specified parameters. A traffic generator connects to a network and is configured to send the right type of packets with the right speed to a target. Hardware based generators are used mainly in the industrial sector. They are highly effective, but have two significant drawbacks – high cost and lack of flexibility. Software based generators are less effective in terms of traffic intensity, but are cheaper and can be adapted to the needs of a company in case of open source solutions.
There is a number of open source software based generators, but their capabilities are limited by the underlying hardware. MERA proposes a new approach – to use a cluster of PCs that generate packets simultaneously instead of one machine which doesn`t allow to gain the needed speed of packet generation – and presents ClusterGen solution. At the heart of the solution there is an existing open source traffic generator available for the Linux kernel – pktgen. It is effective enough working closely to hardware and providing the needed functionality. Besides, GNU/Linux hosts based on common hardware are cheap and allow to build powerful clusters.
The only weak spot of the solution was the missing tool that allows to aggregate GNU/Linux based generators into a cluster and ensure the needed capabilities to control the cluster and collect statistics. ClusterGen effectively fills the gap grouping GNU/Linux hosts into a cluster and providing a Java-based GUI to manage it.
The project was started to meet MERA's internal needs, but later on MERA realized that the solution can be used largely to enhance network products, solutions and services and released ClusterGen 1.0 as an open source project under the terms of GNU GPL license.
Version 2.0 provides better capabilities of traffic control and collecting statistics and offers improved user interface. MERA engineers are currently working on support of test suites for test automation with various traffic configurations. The main goal of the project is to make ClusterGen a leading enterprise-level traffic analyzer.
- grouping hosts into a cluster and managing the latter (adding hosts, removing hosts, monitoring hosts);
- configuring traffic generation parameters for the whole cluster in a transparent manner - the user configures parameters only once and each host configuration is handled by ClusterGen;
- simultaneous traffic generation on all hosts (start/stop traffic);
- collection, accumulation and representation of statistics.
ClusterGen version 2.0 can be downloaded from the Sourceforge.com page