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

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Virtualization and SOA: Part 2 – Hardware Virtualization

I mentioned in a previous article that there were three kinds of virtualization that a SOA practitioner would want to take a look at. The first of these is Hardware Virtualization. We certainly like this technology, especially in a SOA, as this can help us with deployment efficiencies and versioning of services. The more that we can isolate the configurations for all the individual services running, the better. It would be ideal if I could share one server-class machine among let's say 10 different services. But if I tried to put them all on one operating system, I inherently have configuration challenges due to the co-location of the services on one box. This creates challenges when different teams want the optimal environment for their service implementations. In fact there are some times when they are just downright mutually exclusive. That’s where virtualization of hardware comes in. I still get that one server box, but within it I set up 10 different operating system installs on one physical infrastructure, and I am able to independently manage all of those different machines each having its own configuration. Let’s say that one service provider is running on Windows 2003 and another is running on Linux. I can run both operating systems on one physical device, without having to try to figure out how to get my teams to give up the rwar on operating systems. This is a perfect example of how we can get lots of leverage from virtualization of the hardware. There’s another cool capability of hardware virtualization when I deploy a new version of service. In a typical deployment of service updates: - I have to change the code - I have to change the configuration sometimes - I might have to run database updates - and these activities may basically take my service down for what could be long periods of time. Clearly, all of the above might be a problem for my consumers. I can’t always schedule my outage times based on when all of my end users are okay with that. I may have global consumers – or not even know all my consumers. How could I possibly make updates given that there’s no particular safe time for that change. Virtualization allows me to create a new virtual environment for the new version of that service, to configure it appropriately and to flip a switch by bringing down almost instantaneously the virtual machine that ran “version 1” of the service, and bring up immediately “version 2”. Furthermore, what if this “version 2” deployment just blew up on me? Rather than try to figure out how to uninstall the new version, un-configure the system changes and roll back my database changes, I can immediately revert back to the previous version of the service, if a deployment challenge arises. Obviously as an SOA Testing provider, we find customers are able to move forward with a lot more confidence by validating their deployments using automated testing in conjunction with virtualized hardware. If the new configuration or build fails the battery of tests in production, the test fails and they simply roll back to the previous configuration, and treat the next configuration as a virtualized test bed for further refinement. Having an “assembly line” of “as-was,” “as-is” and “to-be” versions as virtual configurations goes a long way toward reducing downtime due to rolling out, or rolling back new functionality based on the success or failure of both conventional acceptance testing, and automated testing of those virtual instances. We will discuss other aspects of virtualization and quality in future episodes of this report. So, virtualizing the hardware provides us with a number of great upsides. These are just a couple of them. I whole-heartedly recommend that you think about services living in their own virtual environment on top of servers so that they are much more easily deployed and maintained at least in that regard.

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