Skytap Wants To Turn Cloud DevOps From Fragile To Agile

The race to the cloud is accelerating and one of the main beneficiaries is DevOps, the culture shift or movement that encourages communication and collaboration to foster building better quality software more quickly with more reliability. According to an April survey, over half (54%) of cloud-using enterprises have adopted DevOps, with adoption split between at the project level (25%) and the corporate or business unit level (29%).

A variety of vendors are offering DevOps solutions, ranging from HP and CloudShare to CA, and now Skytap can be added to that list. A provider of self-service cloud automation solutions, Skytap has announced Network Address Translation (NAT), Command Line Interface (CLI) and Single Sign-On (SSO) capabilities that will enable dev/test teams to more quickly and easily deploy virtual environments in Skytap Cloud, while providing the security, visibility and control functionality, said Brett Goodwin, VP of Marketing and Development.

“To really enable agile, you have to have an agile infrastructure,” he said. For example, Skytap ships a new version every month. “This requires a much higher degree of collaboration if you’re going to be successful in reducing those cycle times, and maintain quality.”

Many IT shops practice some form of an agile methodology, but often the methodology focuses more on the features and not enough on architecture and operations, said Mike Kavis, The Virtualization Practice, in a recent blog. Developers take all kinds of shortcuts to hit their dates, and operations is brought in late to stand up environments and get the application deployed in the final hours. The operations team also has to take shortcuts in order to get a product that they only partially understand out the door. This worst practice results in new software loaded with technical debt. It is like building legacy software! This is the art of Fragile.

In a DevOps culture, fragile is not in the vocabulary, said Kavis. A heavy dose of continuous integration and continuous delivery is used to prevent the 4am scramble that we all dread so much.

With continuous integration, software is considered valid until the build tells us it’s not. That is because continuous integration forces constant check-ins of code that must pass a set of automated tests. If the code does not pass the tests it does not get in the build. The end result is a build that has working code all the time.

Testing in the cloud can have a higher initial cost than that of traditional testing methods but can save companies money over time — 30 to 40%, according to IDC’s Melinda Ballou, Program Director of Application Life-Cycle Management and Executive Strategies. “It’s a no-brainer. Organizations need to be able to provision infrastructure to run their test environments.”

IDC groups automated software quality (ASQ)—which comprises all kinds of testing as well as analysis to determine security vulnerabilities and authorization for the cloud—in with cloud testing and tracked revenue for this area at $261.4 million in 2011. The research company forecasts revenue to increase to $1.1 billion in 2016.

Although cloud-based software testing is gaining in popularity, it’s not necessarily an enterprise necessity right now for all organizations and applications, cautions Chandranshu Singh, an analyst with Ovum. “Organizations need not follow a ‘rip-and-replace’ approach to cloud-based testing, which means move their testing effort to the cloud and spend both money and time doing that when these resources can be used for some other pressing need.”


Earlier this month Skytap appointed Thor Culverhouse, former Stratavia CEO and HP exec, as CEO. He replaced Scott Roza, who will continue to serve on Skytap’s board of directors.


Feeds & Speeds:

-Network Address Translation (NAT) allows users to automate the creation of one-to-one NAT IP relationships enabling them to deploy copies of the same virtual environment simultaneously, without the need to adjust machine network addresses;

-Command Line Interface (CLI) grants dev/test professionals the ability to work from a command shell and easily script calls to the documented Skytap Cloud REST-based API; and,

-Single Sign-On (SSO), utilizing SAML 2.0, enables customers to access Skytap Cloud using corporate directory credentials and applications such as Microsoft Active Directory Federation Services or Ping Identity’s PingFederate.


Author: Steve Wexler

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