Virtualization is relatively easy to leverage in software development environments. There are hypervisors from Citrix, Microsoft and VMware being offered for free that developers and testers can download and use to run virtual machines. During the software engineering lifecycle even the free virtualization platforms offer quick returns in terms of enhancing engineering productivity. In fact, some claim that the software development and test use case put virtualization on the map.
Since technology providers have made it easy to create and use VMs – software development teams quickly end up with a plethora of individual “transient VMs” (i.e., they are meant for a specific purpose with a temporary lifespan) and with it create a problem of managing them. Individual sets of transient VMs with every member on the team creates an exponential increase on the lab demands. The storage requirements increase dramatically, it becomes hard to track VM versions, difficult to automatically chain VMs together to create a test bed, scope permissions as VMs are shared and so on.
Virtual Lab Automation (VLA) helps bring the lab infrastructure (including the above mentioned transient VMs) under central management and helps drive efficiency and improved resource utilization. VLA products like VMLogix LabManager, VMware Lab Manager and Surgient VQMS can ensure that virtualization is used effectively to automate and simplify the software lifecycle. VLA has been referenced here as one of the best time saver technologies for 2008.
We’ve got a wide set of product features in VMLogix LabManager that we believe will address challenges and ease your life if you are developing software at an ISV or in an Enterprise. Do you actively use virtualization in your software development lifecycle? What are your specific management challenges with it? We would love to hear from you.