Save your test scripts and other test materials
Back in 2009 I tested ssh cipher speeds (although it later turned out to be somewhat incomplete). Recently I redid those tests on OmniOS, with some interesting results. I was able to do this (and do it easily) because I originally did something that I don't do often enough: I saved the script I used to run the tests for my original entry. I didn't save full information, though; I didn't save information on exactly how I ran it (and there's several options). I can guess a bit but I can't be completely sure.
I should do this more often. Saving test scripts and test material has two uses. First, you can go back later and repeat the tests in new environments and so on. This is not just an issue of getting comparison data, it's also an issue of getting interesting data. If the tests were interesting enough to run once in one environment they're probably going to be interesting in another environment later. Making it easy or trivial to test the new environment makes it more likely that you will. Would I have bothered to do these SSH speed tests on OmniOS and CentOS 7 if I hadn't had my test script sitting around? Probably not, and that means I'd have missed learning several things.
The second use is that saving all of this test information means that you can go back to your old test results with a lot more understanding of what they mean. It's one thing to know that I got network speeds of X Mbytes/sec between two systems, but there are a lot of potential variables in that simple number. Recording the details will give me (and other people) as many of those variables as possible later on, which means we'll understand a lot more about what the simple raw number means. One obvious aspect of this understanding is being able to fully compare a number today with a number from the past.
(This is an aspect of scripts capturing knowledge, of course. But note that test scripts by themselves don't necessarily tell you all the details unless you put a lot of 'how we ran this' documentation into their comments. This is probably a good idea, since it captures all of this stuff in one place.)
Comments on this page:Written on 27 July 2014.