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Software Quality in a world of Continuous Delivery - The New Virtual[-ized] Reality?


Software quality.jpgAs I watched the Sochi Winter Olympic games last week, I marvelled at the courage of the ski jumpers and tried to imagine what training regime could ever prepare them for such an extreme sport?


What must it feel like in those final seconds before launching from the slope with only the aerodynamics of a pair of skis and your own body shape for protection?


I’m sure some CIOs would draw parallels with what it feels like when they launch a new mission critical service into production, such is the complexity of today’s hybrid delivery environments.


That’s why application software quality and release management remains centre stage for those of us competing in increasingly global markets. Just 15 years ago a typical enterprise application might have served a few thousand users, but today’s applications face unpredictable peak loads of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of concurrent users.


In ski jumping the distance of the jump is massively influenced by take-off speed and this ‘need for speed’ is also mirrored in IT markets. As we accelerate the release of applications and services to compete in global markets and exploit shrinking product and service lifecycles, we expose them to increasingly unpredictable load and all this with ever-reducing test windows.  


So how do we in IT ensure there is no ‘leap of faith’ but instead a well-practiced, rehearsed and smooth transition into production? … And what has this got to do with the theme of my Blog?


Well it’s because environment virtualization is emerging as the only practical way to ‘simulate’ key aspects of the production environment earlier in development lifecycle and to ensure this smooth transition.  Looking back, HP LoadRunner and HP Performance Center were our first virtualization solutions, simulating user activity to reflect the load on an application or service generated by thousands of concurrent users without the need of thousands of laptops to reproduce the workload.


As workloads and usage profiles become more unpredictable, these virtualization technologies are set to play an even more important role. Without them how can we recreate the conditions of our hybrid environments and ensure we have catered for the conditions we will see when we finally take “to the air”?


So I would argue that Environment Virtualization IS the new reality for application software quality in the world of continuous delivery.


As the environment for testing becomes ever more complex, linking to different systems and services, HP Service Virtualization gives test teams the ability to virtualize key components of the system architecture and to simulate the performance behaviours. This means testing can be carried out even if the backend services and architecture is unavailable due to restricted access or pay per use services being used in the overall end user experience. Furthermore, it allows to try different conditions… I bet ski jumpers would love to have this option when training.


Equally, as we globalise our system architecture the network becomes a critical component to understand true response times, something very difficult to replicate in a lab. This is where HP Network Virtualization helps test teams to capture real life network conditions to ensure a realistic representation is available when putting Applications and Services under load.  


For customers who need fully elastic, scalable performance testing, HP are taking ‘virtualization’ to the next level with on-demand cloud testing. Building from the capabilities of LoadRunner, we’re taking the solution to the next level to allow our customers to automatically provision load test infrastructure from the cloud anywhere in the world as they need it.  


HP has over 65 years of experience of helping our customers ensure the quality of business critical systems. It was Dave Packard who said "Build it, test it, and fix the things that go wrong. Repeat the process until the desired reliability is achieved. It is a feedback process and there is no other way".  Today we call it agile, Dave did not know! We have brought together all of these key components of test architecture to enable our customers to release applications with confidence. Meaning business outages are minimized and benefits are maximized.


To find how we’re making environment testing a Virtual[-ized] Reality, why not register for one of our upcoming events, we will be running a series of them in coming months:


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About the Author


Rafael Brugnini (Rafa) joined HP in 1996 and has more than 20 years of knowledge and experience in the IT industry. He lives in Madrid with family, and in his spare time he enjoys windsurfing.

Dennis Ehle

From my perspective, the big impact virtualization has had on CD lies in how it provides pipeline automation tools the ability to programmatically spawn a complex environment that closely resembles production in just minutes.  Once created, a new software release can be automatically tested without the risk of colliding with other testing activities that might be currently underway. When the test cycle is complete, results data is extracted and poof - the environment is gone. And then the cycle repeats.

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