A new report my company has published highlights the need to bring virtualization technology to the pre-production portion of the software lifecycle to provide developers and testers with production-like environments on demand.
The five technologies highlighted in the report, titled Market Mover Array Report: Lifecycle Virtualization, include:
- virtual and cloud-based labs – for environments on demand;
- service virtualization – for stateful simulation and modeling of unavailable or incomplete dependencies;
- defect virtualization – for the reliable reproduction of defects;
- test data virtualization – for the provisioning of production-like test data while maintaining security and compliance; and
- network virtualization – for the emulation and simulation of a network to assess the impact of the network on the user experience (frequently used in conjunction with virtual users for performance testing).
Trends Impacting the Need for Lifecycle Virtualization
Catastrophic software failures are now a daily occurrence and, unfortunately, an expected event. What is new are the consequences of those software failures – the impact to the brand, the disciplinary measures for technology professionals and executives, the loss of consumer confidence, the devastation of entire companies, and the significant cost overruns. Many of these catastrophic software failures and subsequent business impacts are avoidable.
Lifecycle virtualization solutions can be used by development and testing professionals to help mitigate risk of failure, keep pace with the demands of time-to-market, and deliver high quality software.
Adoption of lifecycle virtualization technologies provides developers and testers a way to streamline the software lifecycle and remove the constraint of wait times in the pre-production portion of the software lifecycle. By providing developers and testers with labs, services, data, and networks as close to production as possible, software teams are able to deliver higher quality software in less time. Ultimately, the business benefits by having more reliable and predictable outcomes.
The following market forces are addressed through lifecycle virtualization solutions.
- Release frequency – Time-to-market pressures are real. Businesses compete through software. To keep pace with business demands, releases may need to be more frequent. Virtual and cloud-based labs offer an always-ready, on-demand environment as close to production as possible for ongoing testing throughout the lifecycle without restrictions. If a team needs to test a patch immediately for a rapid release, virtual or cloud-based labs ensure that the environment is always ready. Virtual and cloud-based labs mean that any member of the software team can have an environment as close to production as possible for as long as necessary.
- Demand for quality – With software at the center of the business, the demand for quality is insatiable. Service virtualization enables software teams to conduct end-to-end testing at any point in the software lifecycle, regardless of the availability or completeness of the asset, to focus on quality. Service virtualization solutions can help teams reduce defect reproduction time, reduce production defects, reduce the total number of defects, increase test coverage, increase test execution, reduce test cycle time, and reduce the overall software release cycle time.
- Defect reproduction – One of the most problematic aspects of software is the seeming inability to identify and accurately reproduce defects, regardless of stage i.e. testing, development, or production. Defect virtualization allows developers and testers to execute code to the point of failure and then replay the code to identify the defect. Defects are immediately reproducible. This ability to quickly and accurately reproduce a defect is a competitive business differentiation for organizations. Being able to quickly reproduce a defect saves time and valuable resources.
- Data sensitivity – Data drives our software experiences. However, data contains sensitive information that if exposed causes untold damage. This means that we must be able to test our software with data that maintains privacy and compliance. Test data virtualization allows teams to test with production-like data while maintaining privacy and compliance. By virtualizing the data, pressures on storage are also relieved.
- Everything mobile – With the reliance on mobile devices and apps, testing must be done thoroughly and across a broader matrix of devices, platforms, networks, and geographies. Network virtualization enables the emulation and simulation of a network as close to production as possible to test user experiences on any network from any geography.
By addressing these market forces, lifecycle virtualization solutions make it possible to deliver compelling software solutions that will drive the next generation of global, connected, and software-defined businesses.
Theresa Lanowitz is founder of Voke Inc.
Edited by Alicia Young