Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Open Source Cloud

Containers Expo Blog: Article

How Service Virtualization Helped Comcast Release Tested Software Faster

Service virtualization has allowed us to get great utilization from our testing staff and complete more projects on time

Frank Jennings Comcast Service Virtualization

"Service virtualization has allowed us to get great utilization from our testing staff, complete more projects on time, and also save money by lowering the overall total cost of performing those tests for a given release."

Frank Jennings, TQM Performance Director at Comcast, shares his service virtualization experiences with Parasoft in this Q & A...

Why did Comcast explore service virtualization?

There were two primary issues that led Comcast to explore service virtualization. First, we wanted to increase the accuracy and consistency of performance test results. Second, we were constantly working around frequent and lengthy downtimes in the staged test environments.

My team executes performance testing across a number of verticals in the company-from business services, to our enterprise services platform, to customer-facing UIs, to the backend systems that perform the provisioning and activation of devices for subscribers on the Comcast network. While our testing targets (AUTs) typically have staged environments that accurately represent the performance of the production systems, the staging systems for the AUT's dependencies do not.

Complicating the matter further was the fact that these environments were difficult to access. When we did gain access, we would sometimes impact the lower environments (the QA or integration test environments) because they weren't adequately scaled and could not handle the load. Even when the systems could withstand the load, we received very poor response times from these systems. This meant that our performance test results were not truly predictive of real world performance.

Another issue was that we had to work around frequent and lengthy downtimes in the staging environments. The staging environment was not available during the frequent upgrades or software updates. As a result, we couldn't run our full performance tests. Performance testing teams had to switch off key projects at critical time periods in order to keep busy- they knew they wouldn't be able to work on their primary responsibility because the systems they needed to access just weren't available.

How did this impact the business?

These challenges were driving up costs, reducing the team's efficiency, and impacting the reliability and predictability of our performance testing. Ultimately, we found that the time and cost of implementing service virtualization was far less than the time and cost associated with implementing all the various systems across all those staging environments-or building up the connectivity between the different staging environments.

Did you consider expanding service virtualization beyond performance testing?

Yes, the functional testing teams sometimes experience the same issues with dependent systems being unavailable and impeding their test efforts. They're starting to use service virtualization so that they can continue testing rather than get stuck waiting for systems to come back up.

We're currently in the process of expanding service virtualization to the functional testing of our most business-critical applications. We're deploying service virtualization not only to capture live traffic for those applications, but also to enable functional testers to quickly select and provision test environments. In addition to providing the team the appropriate technologies and training, we're taking time to reassure them that their test results won't be impacted by using virtual assets rather than live services.

In your opinion, what is the key benefit of service virtualization?

The key benefit of service virtualization is the increased uptime and availability of test environments. Service virtualization has allowed us to get great utilization from our testing staff, complete more projects on time, and also save money by lowering the overall total cost of performing those tests for a given release.

If you could start all over again with service virtualzation, what would you do differently?

I think things would have run more smoothly if we had a champion in place across all teams at the beginning to marshal the appropriate resources. The ideal rollout would involve centralizing the management and implementation of the virtual assets, implementing standards right off the bat, and using the lessons learned in each group to make improvements across all teams.

Any other tips for organizations just starting off with service virtualization?

Make sure that your virtual assets can be easily reused across different environments (development, performance, system integration test, etc.). It's really helpful to be able to capture data in one in environment then use it across your other environments. Obtaining data for realistic responses can be challenging, so you don't want to constantly reinvent the wheel.

Also, don't underestimate the amount of education that's needed to get the necessary level of buy-in. For each team or project where we introduced service virtualization, we needed to spend a fair amount of time educating the project teams and business owners about what service virtualization is, what business risks are associated with using it for testing, and how the system proactively mitigates those risks. People are understandably nervous when they hear that you're removing live elements from the testing environment, so some education is needed to put everyone at ease.

Service Virtualization: Real Results Webinar
Want to learn more about service virtualization at Comcast, including how it saved them about $500,000 and helped them reduce downtime by 60%?

Watch the on-demand webinar Service Virtualization: Accelerating the SDLC with Simulated Test Environments.

New Research Package from Gartner and Parasoft: Accelerating the SDLC with Service Virtualization

gartner service virtualizationThe new Service Virtualization research package from Gartner and Parasoft provides more details about how service virtualization helps organizations accelerate the SDLC. Download it to learn:

  • Why service virtualization is a "must-have" for accelerating the SDLC.

  • How service virtualization helps organizations release thoroughly-tested software faster-and at a lower total overall cost.

  • Recommendations for organizations getting started with service virtualization.

  • Strategies for streamlining the release management process beyond service virtualization.

More Stories By Cynthia Dunlop

Cynthia Dunlop, Lead Content Strategist/Writer at Tricentis, writes about software testing and the SDLC—specializing in continuous testing, functional/API testing, DevOps, Agile, and service virtualization. She has written articles for publications including SD Times, Stickyminds, InfoQ, ComputerWorld, IEEE Computer, and Dr. Dobb's Journal. She also co-authored and ghostwritten several books on software development and testing for Wiley and Wiley-IEEE Press. Dunlop holds a BA from UCLA and an MA from Washington State University.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
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 settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...