|By Wayne Ariola||
|July 12, 2011 02:40 PM EDT||
Traditional hardware and OS virtualization technology reduce software development/testing infrastructure costs and increase access to constrained systems. Yet, it's not always feasible to leverage hardware or OS virtualization for many large systems such as mainframes and ERPs. More pointedly, configuring and maintaining the environment and data needed to support development and test efforts still requires considerable time and resources. As a result, keeping a complex staged environment in synch with today's constantly-evolving Agile projects is a time-consuming, never-ending task.
Complementing traditional virtualization, Application-Behavior Virtualization (ABV) provides a new way for developers and testers to exercise their applications in incomplete, constantly evolving, and/or difficult-to-access environments. Rather than virtualizing entire applications and/or databases, Application-Behavior Virtualization focuses on virtualizing only the specific behavior that is exercised as developers and testers execute their core use cases. Beyond "service virtualization," it extends across all aspects of composite applications - services, mainframes, web and mobile device UIs, ERPs, ESB/JMS, legacy systems, and more.
This new breed of virtualization radically reduces the configuration time, hardware overhead, and data management efforts involved in standing up and managing a realistic and sustainable dev/test environment.
The Complexity of Quality
Today's complex, interdependent systems wreak havoc on parallel development and functional/performance testing efforts - significantly impacting productivity, quality, and project timelines. As systems become more complex and interdependent, development and quality efforts are further complicated by constraints that limit developer and tester access to realistic test environments. These constraints often include:
- Missing/unstable components
- Evolving development environments
- Inaccessible third-party/partner systems and services
- Systems that are too complex for test labs (mainframes or large ERPs)
- Internal and external resources with multiple "owners"
The scope of what needs to be tested is increasing exponentially. With multiple new interfaces and ways for people to access core technology, systems and architectures have grown broader, larger, and more distributed - with multiple endpoints and access points. For example, you might have a thick client, a web browser, a device, and a mobile application all accessing the same critical component. Not surprisingly, testing in this environment has become very difficult and time consuming.
Furthermore, the number and range of people involved with software quality is rising. Advancements in development methodologies such as Agile are drawing more and more people into quality matters throughout the SDLC. For instance, business analysts are increasingly involved with user acceptance testing, QA has become responsible for a broader and more iterative quality cycle, and the development team is playing a more prominent role in the process of software quality and validation. Moreover, today's large distributed teams also exhibit a similar increase in team members involved with quality.
Also increasing are the permutations of moving parts - not only hardware and operating systems, but also client/server system upgrades, patches, and dependent third-party applications. As the service-oriented world broke apart many monolithic applications, service orientation also increased and distributed the number of connections and integration points involved in executing a business process.
Hardware and OS Virtualization Lowers Cost & Increases Access - Yet Significant Gaps Remain
In an attempt to provide all of the necessary team members ubiquitous access to realistic dev/test environments in light of these complexities, many organizations have turned to hardware and OS virtualization. Virtualizing the core test foundations - specific operating systems, configurations, platforms, etc. - has been a tremendous step forward for dev/test environment management. This virtualization provides considerable freedom from the live system, simultaneously reducing infrastructure costs and increasing access to certain types of systems. Moreover, leveraging the cloud in concert with virtualization provides a nearly unlimited bandwidth for scaling dependent systems.
Nevertheless, in terms of development or test environments, some significant gaps remain. First, some assets cannot be easily virtualized. For example, it's often unfeasible to leverage hardware or OS virtualization technology for large mainframe applications, third-party applications, or large ERPs.
Moreover, even when virtualization can be completed, you still need to configure and manage each one of those applications on top of the virtualized stack. Managing and maintaining the appropriate configuration and data integrity for all the dependent systems remains an ominous and time-consuming task. It is also a task that you will need some outside help with - you will inevitably be relying on other groups, such as operations or DevOps, to assist with at least certain aspects of the environment configuration and management.
Application-Behavior Virtualization reduces this configuration and data management overhead by enabling the developer or tester to rapidly isolate and virtualize just the behavior of the specific dependent components that they need to exercise in order to complete their end-to-end transactions. Rather than virtualizing entire systems, you virtualize only specific slices of dependent behavior critical to the execution of development and testing tasks.
It is completely feasible to use the cloud for scalability with Application-Behavior Virtualization. Nevertheless, since you're virtualizing only the specific behavior involved in dev/test transactions (not entire systems), the scope of what's being virtualized is diminished... and so is the need for significant incremental scalability.
What Is Application-Behavior Virtualization?
Application-Behavior Virtualization is a more focused and efficient strategy for eliminating the system and environment constraints that impede the team's ability to test their heterogeneous component-based applications. Instead of trying to virtualize the complete dependent component - the entire database, the entire third-party application, and so forth - you virtualize only the specific behavior that developers and testers actually need to exercise as they work on their particular applications, components, or scenarios.
For instance, instead of virtualizing an entire database (and performing all associated test data management as well as setting up the database for each test session), you monitor how the application interacts with the database, then you virtualize the related database behavior (the SQL queries that are passed to the database, the corresponding result sets that are returned, and so forth). This can then be accessed and adjusted as needed for different development and test scenarios.
To start, you designate which components you want to virtualize, then - as the application is exercised - the behavior of the associated transactions, messages, services, etc., is captured in what we call a "virtual asset." You can then configure this virtual asset by parameterizing its conditional behavior, performance criteria, and test data. This virtual asset can then emulate the actual behavior of the dependent system from that point forward, even if the live system is no longer accessible for development and testing.
Test data can be associated with these virtual assets, reducing the need for a dependent database and the need to configure and manage the dependent database that, if shared, usually gets corrupted.
By applying Application-Behavior Virtualization in this manner, you can remove the dependency on the actual live system/architecture while maintaining access to the dependent behavior. This ultra-focused approach significantly reduces the time and cost involved in managing multiple environments as well as complex test data management.
What Does Application-Behavior Virtualization Involve?
Application-Behavior Virtualization is achieved via the following phases:
- Capture or model the real behavior of dependent systems
- Configure the virtualized asset to meet demands of the test scenarios
- Provision the virtualized asset for the appropriate team members or partners to access and test on their schedule
Phase 1: Capture
Real system behavior is captured using monitors to record live transaction details on the system under test by analyzing transaction logs, or by modeling behavior from a simple interface.
The intent here is to capture the behavior and performance of the dependent application for the system under test and leverage that behavior for development and testing efforts. This capturing can be done in three ways:
- If you have access to the live system, you can capture behavior by monitoring live system traffic. With a proxy monitoring traffic on the dependent system, the related messages are monitored, then the observed behavior is represented in a virtualized asset. This capturing can cover simple or composite behavior (e.g., a call to transfer funds in one endpoint can trigger an account balance update on another).
- If you want to emulate the behavior represented in transaction logs, virtual assets can be created by analyzing those logs. This is a more passive (and less politically volatile) approach to capturing the system behavior.
- If you're working in an environment that is evolving to include new functionality, you might want to model the behavior of the "not yet implemented" functionality within the Application-Behavior Virtualization interface. Leveraging the broad scope of protocol support available to facilitate modeling, you can rapidly build a virtual asset that emulates practically any anticipated behavior. For instance, you can visually model various message formats such as XML, JSON, and various legacy, financial, healthcare, and other domain-specific formats.
Phase 2: Configure
The virtualized asset's behavior can be fine-tuned, including performance, data source usage, and conditional response criteria.
After you use any of the three above methods to create a virtual asset, you can then instruct that asset to fine-tune or extend the behavior that it emulates. For instance, you can apply Quality of Service metrics so you can alter how you would like the asset to behave from the performance (timing, latency, and delay) perspective. You can also apply and modify test data for each particular asset to reproduce specific conditions critical for completing dev/test tasks. For example, you can configure various error and failure conditions that are difficult to reproduce or replicate with real systems. By adding data sources and providing conditional response criteria, you can tune the virtualized asset to perform as expected - or as unexpected (for negative testing).
Phase 3: Provision and Test
The environment is then provisioned for secure access across teams and business partners. The virtualized asset can then be leveraged for testing.
Once a virtualized asset is created, it can be provisioned for simplified uniform access across teams and business partners - either locally or globally (on a globally-accessible server, or in the cloud). They can then be used in unit, functional, and performance tests. Since virtual assets leverage a wide array of native protocols, they can be accessed for manual testing or automated testing by any test suite or any test framework, including Parasoft Test, HP Quality Center suite, IBM Rational Quality Management suite, and Oracle ATS. It is also easy to scale virtualized assets to support large-scale, high-throughput load and performance tests.
Even after the initial provisioning, these virtual assets are still easily modifiable and reusable to assist you in various dev/test scenarios. For instance, one of your test scenarios might access a particular virtual asset that applies a certain set of conditional responses. You can instantly construct an additional virtual asset that inherits those original conditions and then you can adjust them as needed to meet the needs of a similar test scenario.
How Application-Behavior Virtualization Speeds Testing and Cuts Costs: Three Common Use Cases
To conclude, let's look at how organizations have successfully applied Application-Behavior Virtualization to address dev/test environment management challenges in three common contexts:
- Performance/capacity-constrained environment
- Complex, difficult-to-access systems (mainframes, large ERPs, 3rd party systems)
- Parallel development (Agile or other iterative processes)
Staged environments frequently lack the infrastructure bandwidth required to deliver realistic performance. Placing multiple virtualized applications on a single piece of hardware can increase access to a constrained resource, but the cost of this increased access is often degraded performance. Although the increased access could technically enable the execution of performance and load tests, the results typically would not reflect real-world behavior, significantly undermining the value of such testing efforts.
Application-Behavior Virtualization allows you to replicate realistic performance data independent of the live system. Once you create a virtual asset that captures the current performance, you can adjust the parameters to simulate more realistic performance. Performance tests can then run against the virtual asset (with realistic performance per the Quality of Service agreement) rather than the staged asset (with degraded performance).
Controlling the virtual asset's performance criteria is simply a matter of adjusting controls for timing, latency, and delay. In addition to simulating realistic behavior, this can also be used to instantly reproduce performance conditions that would otherwise be difficult to set up and control. For instance, you can simulate various levels of slow performance in a dependent component, then zero in on how your application component responds to such bottlenecks.
Even when it is possible to test against systems that are performing realistically, it is often not feasible to hit various components with the volume typical of effective load/stress tests. For example, you might need to validate how your application responds to extreme traffic volumes simulating peak conditions, but how do you proceed if your end-to-end transactions pass through a third-party service that charges per-transaction access fees?
If your performance tests pass through a component that you cannot (or do not want to) access under extreme load testing conditions, Application-Behavior Virtualization enables you to capture its behavior under a low-volume test (e.g., a single user transaction), adjust the captured performance criteria as desired, then perform all subsequent load testing against that virtualized component instead of the actual asset. In the event that the constrained component is not available for capture, you can create a virtual asset from scratch - using Application-Behavior Virtualization visual modeling interfaces to define its expected behavior and performance.
Complex, Difficult-to-Access Systems (Mainframes, Large ERPs, Third-Party Systems)
With large complex systems (mainframes, large ERPs, third-party systems), multiple development and test teams are commonly vying for limited system access for testing. Most of these systems are too complex for a test lab or a staged environment. To exercise end-to-end transactions involving these components, teams usually need to schedule (and pay for) access to a shared resource. This approach commonly causes test efforts to be delayed and/or prevents the team from performing the level and breadth of testing that they would like. For iterative development processes (e.g., Agile), the demand for frequent and immediate testing increases the severity of these delays and fees exponentially.
Even if organizations manage to use virtualization for these complex systems, proper configuration for the team's distinct testing needs would require a tremendous amount of work. And once that obstacle is overcome, another is right on its heels: developing and managing the necessary set of test data can also be overwhelming.
When teams use Application-Behavior Virtualization in such contexts, they only need to access the dependent resources long enough to capture the specific functionality related to the components and transactions they are working on. With this behavior captured in virtual assets, developers and testers can then access it continuously, allowing them to exercise end-to-end transactions at whatever time they want (without scheduling) and as frequently as they want (without incurring exorbitant transaction/access fees).
Parallel Development (Agile or Other Iterative Processes)
Even for simple applications, providing continued access to a realistic test environment can be challenging for teams engaged in parallel development (Agile or other iterative processes). A wide range of team members, including developers, testers, sometimes business analysts, all need easy access to a dev/test environment that is evolving in synch with their application. If the team decided to take the traditional virtualization route here, they would not only face all the initial setup overhead, but also be mired in constant work to ensure that the virtualized systems remain in step with the changes introduced in the latest iteration. When the team ends up waiting for access to dependent functionality, agility is stifled
Application-Behavior Virtualization reduces these constraints and associated delays by giving developers and testers the ability to rapidly emulate the needed behavior rather than having to wait for others to upgrade, configure, and manage the dependent systems. Even if anticipated functionality or components are not yet implemented, their behavior can be modeled rapidly, then deployed so team members can execute the necessary end-to-end transactions without delay, And if the dependent functionality recently changed, previously captured behavior can be easily modified either by re-capturing key transactions or by adjusting behavior settings in a graphical interface (without scripting or coding).
For example, many organizations are developing mobile applications, and this development is typically performed by a separate mobile development team. Since mobile applications commonly depend on core application components developed and maintained by other teams, the mobile team is often delayed as they wait for the other teams to complete work on the core components that their own mobile apps need to interact with. Application-Behavior Virtualization can eliminate these delays by allowing the mobile development team to emulate the behavior of the dependent components even if the actual components are incomplete, evolving, or otherwise difficult-to-access during the parallel development process.
Leveraging Application-Behavior Virtualization, teams reduce the complexity and the costs of managing multiple environments while providing ubiquitous access for development and test. Application-Behavior Virtualization helps you:
- Reduce infrastructure costs
- Improve provisioning/maintenance of test environments
- Increase test coverage
- Reduce defects
- Improve predictability/control of software cycle times
- Increase development productivity
- Reduce third-party access fees
|erikagd 07/29/11 02:11:00 PM EDT|
For more information about Application Behavior Virtualization, please visit: www.parasoft.com/virtualize
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
Dec. 5, 2016 07:15 PM EST Reads: 342
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effici...
Dec. 5, 2016 07:15 PM EST Reads: 5,025
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
Dec. 5, 2016 05:45 PM EST Reads: 1,585
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Dec. 5, 2016 04:30 PM EST Reads: 2,048
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
Dec. 5, 2016 04:15 PM EST Reads: 856
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 5, 2016 03:45 PM EST Reads: 4,243
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Dec. 5, 2016 03:45 PM EST Reads: 331
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Dec. 5, 2016 02:45 PM EST Reads: 678
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
Dec. 5, 2016 02:45 PM EST Reads: 3,278
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
Dec. 5, 2016 02:45 PM EST Reads: 1,590
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Dec. 5, 2016 02:00 PM EST Reads: 2,204
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Dec. 5, 2016 01:45 PM EST Reads: 1,708
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Dec. 5, 2016 01:15 PM EST Reads: 2,163
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
Dec. 5, 2016 12:30 PM EST Reads: 2,325
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Dec. 5, 2016 12:30 PM EST Reads: 948
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
Dec. 5, 2016 11:30 AM EST Reads: 769
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 5, 2016 11:15 AM EST Reads: 957
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Dec. 5, 2016 10:30 AM EST Reads: 682
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and sh...
Dec. 5, 2016 10:30 AM EST Reads: 371
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Dec. 5, 2016 07:30 AM EST Reads: 7,078