Keysight Technologies is taking internal test automation software to open source, hoping to better help customers and speed up innovation. The company has launched its Open Test Automation Project, or OpenTAP, in partnership with Nokia.
“This is the first open-source project that Keysight is taking on and really stewarding out there in the industry,” said Jeff Dralla, director of software business development at Keysight. The company has been a consumer of open-source software, he noted, but this “is the first time we’ve taken the proactive step to push it outside the company and foster innovation, and form an ecosystem around test automation.”
OpenTAP originated in Keysight’s TAP software, which has been an ongoing internal project — or “inner-source” — to which its own engineers could contribute. The company calls the move to open-source TAP the “next logical step” that builds on both its garage-in-Silicon-Valley origins, and its own lab team’s observation more than eight years ago which helped create TAP: there needs to be a more efficient way to create additional solutions around test and measurement architectures that will bring down the technical barriers and get more people involved in developing on the platform. Starting internally with TAP opened Keysight’s eyes to what could be done via an open-source approach, Dralla said. Keysight customers such as Nokia — which is partnering with the test company on the launch of OpenTAP — also encouraged the company to take the open-source route.
Jay Alexander, Keysight CTO, said in a statement that the company’s goal with OpenTAP “is to enable unprecedented levels of collaboration in the test and measurement industry and to benefit all participants in this open-source project.”
Automating test processes is important, so that customers don’t have to do everything manually, said Jeff Smith, Keysight’s director of product management for Keysight Labs. While some Keysight customers have put together their own individual strategies for automation, he said, those can be resource-intensive. The company wants to engage with large and small home-grown test automation creators as a community, broaden the capabilities available to them — and along the way, build an ecosystem that can speed time-to-market, both of potential new offerings of its own that leverage OpenTAP, and those of its customers.
“We’re focusing on the end user, and the big vision here is to create an ecosystem around this open-source project that brings … analytics capabilities, all sorts of interesting plug-ins and various test plans that can be shared together,” said Dralla.
“For many years Nokia has relied on either closed, commercial test-automation products, or completely homegrown platforms that consume precious resources — budget, support and maintenance. Building on OpenTAP fosters innovation in test optimization and efficiency, ultimately reducing our cost-of-test and project risk,” said Erja Sankari, VP of Nokia’s supply chain engineering organization, in a statement on OpenTAP.