Intellikey Labs has provided quality assurance testing for optical and digital media content since 1997. The world’s top entertainment, media, manufacturing and software companies turn to Intellikey Labs to ensure that DVDs, CDs and other media perform up to the standards expected by the customers who purchase them. Intellikey Labs differentiates itself with its proprietary testing methodologies, a constantly updated hardware matrix and by continually refining its systems and processes.
Challenge: DVD QA System Had Quality Issues of its Own
Testing DVD performance on a variety of equipment configurations requires meticulous attention to detail and the ability to record information about every issue encountered on the media being tested. Intellikey Labs managed this documentation requirement through the use of a custombuilt application for tracking their testing progress.
This application is central to the operations of the quality assurance team and generates the reports Intellikey delivers to the media manufacturers to convey their DVD test results. Since most of the media being tested is pre-release, and therefore unavailable to the public, the system is also used to continually track the whereabouts of each DVD to prevent the content from prematurely “leaking” into the marketplace.
DVDs are often released on tight deadlines, meaning every minute counts when it comes to turnaround time of the quality assurance process. Unfortunately, Intellikey’s quality assurance application crashed several times per day. It only took a few minutes to reboot the system each time this occurred, but this restart would mean that 20 team members would be unproductive each time the system locked up. That easily translated to an hour or more of lost productivity for each incident.
The highly complex application was originally built by someone who acquired PHP and MySQL skills as he worked on the project. When the application began to crash more frequently, and as more functionality was desired, multiple attempts were made by different consultants to reengineer the system. Each attempt failed. In one case, the vendor actually returned the fees because he could not figure out how to stabilize the system.
Eventually, Intellikey gave up on the requirement to add functionality and would be satisfied to just stop the application from crashing constantly.
Solution: Upgrade to the Newest Version of MySQL
R.B. Zack & Associates, Inc. conducted a thorough review of the system and its underlying infrastructure. It was quickly determined that the version of MySQL database was outdated and known to have several bugs that were contributing to the instability of the application. Routines were developed to migrate the data to the upgraded version of the database. It took two weeks to assess the problem, upgrade the database, stabilize the system and lay the foundation for the functionality Intellikey had begun to believe would never come to fruition.