Lab Manager And End Of Software Development As We Know It

A little while ago I got a story pitch from virtualization and cloud management software developer Embotics about the looming end of life for VMware vCenter Lab Manager (May 1, 2013) and how it would impact the 4,000 or so development groups licensed for the software development platform. While the EmboticV-Commander-versus-VMware-vCloud-Director-switch debate was of some interest, I thought the more intriguing story was the bigger picture, what’s driving the need for change in software development.

According to a study released late last year, 60% of in-house software development executives and managers from large (US $1 Billion+) North American enterprises claim that customer-facing applications are delayed as a result of endemic constraints within the software development and testing environment including limited access to infrastructure, databases and undeveloped applications. The report found that delays in application development and testing were negatively impacting businesses with respondents reporting reduced functionality (74%) and late delivery of new customer facing applications (60%).

In part, this is due to the increased pressure and demand for highly sophisticated applications, with 66% of respondents stating that their approach to software development and testing will have to change as a result of massive growth particularly across mobile. Respondents also identified the potential benefits of pursuing updated approaches to include increased quality (81%), faster time-to-market (76%) and reduced costs (71%).

“Everything is happening faster,” said Jay Litkey, CEO of Ottawa-based Embotics. “The pressure is on IT to be more efficient.”

This speed and pressure is growing the size of the test and development market, he said. “Business is starting to move so fast… the addressable market for lab management tools is growing.”

But how do you make everything go faster and avoid the waiting cycle, he asked. If you don’t do the test before going to production, it will come back to bite you. Infrastructure is outgrowing headcount at a faster rate. “Something will break if you don’t find something more efficient.”

Worldwide spending on enterprise application software was expected to reach $120.4 billion last year, according to Gartner. IDC has predicted that the automated software quality (ASQ) market will approach $2.6 billion in the next two years.

In addition to the need to do more with less, i.e. automation, another phenomenon is emerging, said Litkey. With more and more test/dev groups being unable or unwilling to offer the same quality of service as the public cloud providers offers, users will go around them, a process he referred to as ‘shadow IT’. “We have seen that changing over the last 12-24 months… that users can go to the public cloud for IT as a service and get instant gratification. I always knew it would happen.”

Before, IT lived in a bubble, and provided a job for life, if it wasn’t outsourced, he said. “IT has to address this [trends like cloud, virtualization and BYOD], has to get more efficient. The development lab is really the battleground where this is being fought out.”


Author: Steve Wexler

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