Remote Driver Testing Lab


    Not all drivers are perfect.

    When more than 700,000 manually selected files accumulate in your database over time and increase the amount of data, you are faced with an error problem.

    Errors that a driver accidentally caught, not thoroughly tested by the manufacturer or distributor (OEM modifications), will be corrupted. Everyone knows that this can lead not only to bugs in the operation of the equipment, but also to a complete failure of the system.

    And this is unpleasant.

    At the same time, the main difficulty lies in the fact that it is impossible to test the driver on a virtual machine - you need a specific device that can cause a variety of problems, incompatibilities, in short, anything that indicates its incorrect operation.

    Having set the goal of testing most drivers on real, physical hardware, the following idea came to our mind: connect the machines to the KVM switch (16 LAN ports) using the LAN-VGA / USB adapter, thus gaining the ability to remotely (at BIOS level) manage your computer, right up to reinstalling the OS.

    Initially, the idea was to use Intel vPro and past implementations of AMT (Intel Active Management Technology), but unfortunately, these solutions are not cheap, and also somewhat limited in compatibility.

    We have just started, but we already have about a dozen laptops. And the server function is not performed by the oldest Acer on Core i3.

    Overall plan:

    The socket is remotely controlled via the Internet (3,500 rubles, a mobile application / web interface is present, there is even a model with a Wi-Fi module), so that you can control the uptime of all connected machines. Since our “Laboratory” is planned to be primarily remote, but temporarily located in my home, saving electricity and noise are not idle problems.

    In general, we expect that in the future, a user who wants to test the drivers will be able to remotely activate the IP-KVM switch, connect to the server and activate one or more devices for testing. The KVM switch was chosen because of its versatility and wide connectivity of several machines at the same time, unlike RDP.

    Our rack works from one router, since on small scales of speeds even 3G + networks are enough for a stable connection.

    Of course, on any local computer, any DriverPack user can test the driver assembly, which will take no more than 10 minutes.

    Or help us expand our small home lab with your old laptop. This is not a joke - our contacts are available on the site , you can contact any of us and agree on the transfer of the computer you no longer need.

    Our main task is to filter out bad versions of drivers for popular devices. As you know, for this we do not need tens of thousands of configurations of real machines. At least for now. Now any laptop with direct VGA output (to access the BIOS) and LAN port is suitable for us. Not even a screen is required.

    A small instruction for working with the laboratory for those interested. If you are curious how much the whole construction cost us, then we purchased a KVM for 8500 rubles, but we were unpleasantly surprised by the cost of the adapters (5,000 rubles apiece), because they needed 16 to fully load KVM (Avocent DSR2020). Fortunately, they also managed to find used ones at 800 rubles apiece.

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