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'Tis the Season... for Simulation

What do artificial trees have in common with service virtualization?

With the holiday season in our midst, it's interesting to note how simulations have become so critical to our attempts to spread holiday cheer. Consider:

  • christmas cookiesArtificial trees, ranging from the Charlie Brown Christmas aluminum trees to realistic-looking pine-scented ones
  • Artificial snow flocking trees and providing a grand finale for parades and events throughout Southern California
  • Artificial cinnamon scents wafting through the house
  • Artificial coloring ensuring that our baked goods appear appropriately seasonal
  • Battery-operated candles flickering on the mantle
  • The yule log lighting up the television screen and crackling through speakers
  • Karaoke background tracks enabling endless entertainment at the company's holiday party
  • The myriad tasks that parents carry out to simulate Santa delivering gifts on Christmas Eve—all the way from the covert shopping missions to the late-night scrambling with gifts, cookies, and milk

As a service virtualization industry leader, we can't help but notice some parallels between these holiday simulations and service virtualization's simulated test environments. In both cases, the degree of fidelity to the original can vary widely based on the design of what product/approach you've selected and how you're implementing it.

Moreover, the reasons for turning to these holiday simulations are not unlike those for leveraging simulated test environments. In many cases, using a simulation is significantly faster and simpler than accessing the original - just consider the time and effort required to pull the artificial tree out of the attic vs. going out to the woods to cut your own. In other cases, it's more cost-effective. For example, renting that karaoke machine is lot less expensive than hiring a live backup band. And sometimes, simulation is the only way to achieve the desired goal. In fact, at many organizations, the chance of developers and testers being able to access mainframes, ERPs, or third-party services whenever/however they want is just about as likely as real snow falling on Disneyland's holiday parade.

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.

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