We currently test a very large number of devices and we have one PC per 10 devices or so (we use two USB hubs per PC to break out to the devices). We have huge number of PCs and it's turning into a management nightmare. I've been thinking about how we might be able to virtualize our infrastructure but I'm running into a problem of how to get lots of USB connectivity from the VM to a USB hub in another room to which the devices are connected.
I was thinking that we could set up a server room to host the VM cluster and that would replace the PCs, but I need a way to get 2 USB connections per VM available in the other rooms where all the devices are located. I was hoping people would have some suggestions (technologies/communication protocols/etc) on how I could do that because I've only found network-attached-USB, which seems doable, but for the one vendor I found (digi.com), it only supports USB2. Plus, digi is the only vendor that offers that technology so that makes me really nervous when we're building out on the scale we're thinking of. I was hoping to find alternate means of connectivity (PCIe over ethernet?) that would allow me to do this more effectively or at least have more broad support. Plus, I'd like to be able to support USB3 as well.
The best I'm hoping for is virtualized USB ports on the VMs presented as physical USB ports in the other room - that's what I really want. I also thought about having a large chassis with a bunch of USB cards, going from the cards to USB-over-fiber adapters, but that introduces a lot of connections. Other thoughts are how to move an external PCI chassis into the room with the devices (PCIe over ethernet?) with a lot of USB cards installed and break it out from there? I'm open for suggestions!
I'm also open to putting a VM cluster in the room where the devices are housed if that's really the only way to get the I/O from the server rack to the devices, but I'd really prefer that the cluster live in a server room and then I/O branches out from there.
Just to clarify, I'd like to have physical USB ports in one room and virtual USB ports show up on the VMs. How I get from one place to the other is completely open to suggestion.