When (service) virtualisation imitates life

IT surveys come and go.

Of course we must first accept the universal truth that all technology surveys are flawed, biased and contrived from the outset, with “loaded” agendas designed to pander to the thinly disguised corporate message set pertaining to the vendor brand laying claim to the resulting “research” produced.

With that mental inoculation on board then, CA Technologies (the artist formerly known as Computer Associates) has this week gone public on a study entitled ‘Business Benefits of Service Virtualization’, which has found that conventional approaches to software development is hampering business.

NOTE: The study questioned three hundred in-house software developers in the UK, France and Germany on core operational issues such as number of releases per year, functionality expectations of users.

Paradoxically, CA is currently championing a software application development process called Service Virtualization.

This new approach to the development and testing of applications uses a virtual service environment designed to imitate a real production environment.

Spikes & Swings

Yes that’s all very nice. But we know that (in practice) real world data flows in even the most foreseeable of environments are subject to unpredictable spikes, swings and fluctuations.

So model and virtualise as we might, we’re never quite close enough the perfect curve of algorithmic logic that truly describes how an application will fare once it has to live and breathe in post deployment reality.

Standing his ground on this issue is Justin Vaughan-Brown, strategic relationships director EMEA – service virtualization, CA Technologies. Vaughan-Brown argues that Service Virtualization enables teams to develop and test an application using a virtual service environment that has been configured to “imitate a real production environment” — and, crucially, “While providing the ability to change the behaviour and data of these virtual services easily in order to validate different scenarios.”

According to CA’s study, UK enterprises are worse off compared to France and Germany when it comes to application development and testing issues relating to cost, quality and time to market. The greatest concerns highlighted were:

· 59% of UK respondents cited quality and time-to-market on integration testing as a major challenge (compared to 48% overall)

· 41% had issues with performance testing compared (32% overall)

· 32% expressed concerns with regression testing

“This suggests earlier testing – when bugs are easier and cheaper to fix – is not as effective as it could be, and testing at later stages in the software lifecycle, such as integration and performance test phases, is more costly and causes significant application release delays,” said CA’s Vaughan-Brown.

CA’s clarion call here is that we should wake up to realise that outdated application development and testing is having a major impact on UK enterprises with 76% of respondents citing loss of reputation in the market as a major concern.

Just how fine-tuned has CA produced this new system to be then?

Despite my cheap sarcasm and snide jibes, the company clearly doesn’t roll out major new systems just for its own amusement. As to the empirical, pragmatic, first-hand experiences of programmers when using service virtualisation (or Service Virtualization if you prefer)… now that survey result we would like to see.