Virtualization in software testing has been one of the earliest use cases of the technology. This document lists out a great set of uses of virtualization. In the document, it is interesting to note the section on the use of virtualization in software evaluation. It lists out a set of important use cases for test lab automation software.
There are various statisics that estimate the section of the market that use virtualization for software testing. Dice conducted a recent poll which estimates that 15% of the organizations use virtualization exclusively for software testing. The broader population use virtualization for a variety of reasons (testing, consolidation, disaster/recovery, high availability etc.) – in this broader sense where they use virtualization for different purposes, I heard in a recent TechTarget webinar that 77% use virtualization for testing (including other purposes).
Software testing is a broad term – and in an earlier post I categorized it under unit testing, functional testing (load testing, stress testing and performance testing should be included in this bucket) and user acceptance testing. The first two occur in software/application R&D labs whereas the latter occurs in a pre-production or staging environment. Virtualization and test lab automation have an important role to play in at least 2 of the 3 testing methodologies.