Harness reigns in code delivery, smart tests & cloud ‘AutoStopping’

In fairness to the branding cheese-factor that comes with many company names or product brands, Harness is a sensible moniker for a software delivery platform company.

The firm used its developer conference, {Unscripted} 2021 this year to detail four core components intended to optimise developer tasks.

The firm’s Test Intelligence function aims to reduces test cycle time by up to 98% using AI/ML workflows to prioritise and optimise test execution without developers compromising on quality; its Feature Flags allow developers to release, manage and govern features at scale; its Unified Pipeline allows developers to manage all aspects of software delivery in a scalable pipeline — without writing a single script; and Cloud AutoStopping reduces cloud compute waste associated with non-production environments (dev, qa, load, staging) by up to 75%.

“Significant costs and many hours are incurred daily as engineering teams continuously build, test and deploy software,” said Jyoti Bansal, CEO and co-founder, Harness. 

Of all the tasks here, testing is argued to slow down developers the most because they lack automation, prioritisation and optimisation of tests.

As we know, the most elite software delivery performers deploy on-demand multiple times a day to production, but a major challenge to becoming elite is the testing phase of the total software application lifecycle, which has become the most time-consuming, and critical part of any CI/CD pipeline. 

“Prior to working with Harness, our developers spent endless hours having to stitch together pipelines, reducing productivity and security while increasing cost,” said Ken Angell, software architect, Ancestry. “Harness has allowed us to centralise our systems and heavily increase security processes across all of our efforts.” 

Test intelligence

With Harness’ Test Intelligence, developers speed up these cycles while maintaining enterprise-grade governance and quality. Harness’ Test Intelligence automatically shifts the failed tests earlier in the build cycle so that the developer will know, almost immediately, if the fix worked. 

Harness Feature Flags allow developers to release new features without making them visible to users. They have total control over which pieces of functionality are on and off, outside of the code. 

Companies can test out more advanced and complex scenarios like feature A/B testing or software functionality variations like one- or two-step checkout. And Feature Flags make it easy to make changes to software functionality on the fly and instantaneously. It saves hours of engineering effort per feature and reduces risk.

“Harness Feature Flags has enabled us to implement true CI/CD. We’re shortening our commit-to-production time that used to be governed by a monthly release cycle, and releasing features to customers faster and more safely than we could before,” said Sam Hall, Head of Technology, Metrikus. 

Cloud AutoStopping

One significant cost incurred by engineering teams is public cloud resources as software artifacts are promoted through dev, qa, load, and staging environments. 

Static non-production environments can sit idle or zombie for 95% of the time which adds to the cost of software delivery. Harness has integrated its acquisition of Lightwing technology into its Cloud Cost Management module so engineering teams can auto-stop (and restart) their non-production environments in seconds, thus eliminating cloud waste by up to 75%.

Harness’ own engineering team recently tested out the new capability. They were able to reduce AWS non-production spend by 25% and Azure non-production spend by 50% – saving more than $125,000 annually.



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