6.2. A Spider's Web of Connections: Managing Test Hardware and Software Configuration Logistics

If your system under test is used in a limited setting with a tightly defined list of possible hardware peripherals and software applications, the management of test hardware and software configuration is simple. I once consulted with a client who was working on a Microsoft Windows CE computer for an automobile. The system was installed in the dashboard, connected to only three or four peripherals, had a very simple BIOS, ran only one operating system, and supported a small set of applications. From the point of view of hardware logistics and software configuration management, the test organization merely needed to track BIOS levels, Windows CE releases, the hardware revision levels of the handful of peripherals, and the motherboard and chassis releases. A few very simple tables, implemented in Microsoft Word, were sufficient.

Not all projects are this straightforward, however. Whether you work on software or hardware development projects, you might find yourself managing a complicated and changing array of hardware devices, especially during test execution. In addition, the software installed on these devices can vary. You must allocate this hardware, make sure that the right software is deployed on it, track its movements, understand who needs it and for what, and ensure that all the appropriate connections are available.

Perhaps your system supports many different configurations ...

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