Virtual Lab Automation Overview Post on the Server Virtualization Blog

June 29, 2008

The Server Virtualization blog made a post on virtual lab automation titled “Lab management streamlines asset allocation, saves cost” and covers the three leading test lab automation vendors. The post also covers customer’s viewpoints on the products and the benefits that they have got by deploying test lab automation products. A good read if you are somewhat new to test lab automation. I’d also encourage you to register on the VMLogix Virtual Portal – it will help you make a deep dive into the technology and the LabManager product.

Drop me a note at if you want to know more.

– Srihari Palangala

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Network fencing – Yet another key feature from Virtual Lab Automation Products

June 25, 2008

What is network fencing?

Network fencing/IP Zoning is a functionality offered in all leading virtual lab automation solutions. By enabling this in a virtual machine configuration, users can deploy a configuration many times in parallel (i.e., simultaneously) without any IP/MAC or Windows SID conflicts (i.e., you don’t need to make any manual changes on the configs either – things just work!).

How does network fencing work in Virtual Lab Automation solutions?

It is incredibly easy to enable IP zones/network fencing in virtual lab automation products, like VMLogix LabManager. All it takes is a single click on a checkbox! Here are a couple of screenshots.

Enabling IP zone in a configuration

Enabling IP zone when you\'re ready to deploy a configuration

Why is network fencing important?

  • Your developers, testers and operations teams can run the same configuration many times simultaneously without needing any manual intervention to get the config working (imagine trying to achieve this with a hypervisor only). So a tester can continue to look for bugs while a developer makes progress fixing them
  • Capture a running configuration from production – import into virtual lab automation – and then IP Zone the configuration prior to test deployment. Now, without any manual edits to the captured configuration – you can run many instances of the configuration used in production — to debug/analyze/etc. in a test lab environment (and not worrying that the running test configuration may accidentally start ‘talking’ to the production deployment)
  • In VMLogix LabManager, you can network zone an entire configuration or individual switches within the configuration. The latter throws up an additional benefit — a company admin can assign out individual pieces of the large configuration to be built by different engineers – each of the individual pieces can be IP zoned – so tests can be run within each individual section of a configuration.

Want to try this out for yourself?

Login to our VMLogix Virtual Portal and request for a free 30 day trial. You can try this feature and many other benefits that virtual lab automation solutions have to offer.

– Srihari Palangala

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Developers and Virtual Environments

June 23, 2008

Dan Oliver’s blog has an interesting post – “Can Developer’s Work Inside Virtual Environments?” The post talks about the use of test lab automation solutions like VMware Lab Manager for developers – developers can now have access to a myriad of IT systems on demand. Other virtual lab automation solutions like VMLogix LabManager and Surgient VQMS have similar capabilities as well as a host of other differentiated capabilities. You can read the VMLogix LabManager FAQ for more details.

– Srihari Palangala

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VMLogix at SYS-CON’s Virtualization Conference and Expo

June 21, 2008

Ravi Gururaj from VMLogix will be presenting on the topic “Leveraging Virtualization for Software Testing and Development” at Sys-Con’s virutalization expo on June 23/24 at NYC. The entire set of sessions can be found here and the home page of the conference is here.

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List of hypervisors keeps growing – what do you use in your test lab?

June 19, 2008

Today RedHat announced the adoption of KVM. Just got me curious on the number of hypervisors in the market and a quick search on the Internet lists out the following (Source: Wikipedia):

Native/Bare metal: Xen, Citrix XenServer, Oracle VM, VMware ESX Server, Microsoft Hyper-V, L4 microkernels, Green Hills Software’s INTEGRITY Padded Cell, VirtualLogix’s VLX, TRANGO, IBM’s POWER Hypervisor (PR/SM), Parallels Server (currently in Beta) and Sun’s Logical Domains Hypervisor, Hitachi’s Virtage hypervisor and KVM.

Hosted: VMware Server (formerly known as GSX), VMware Workstation, VMware Fusion, the open source QEMU, Microsoft’s Virtual PC and Microsoft Virtual Server products, Sun’s (formerly InnoTek) VirtualBox, as well as SWsoft’s Parallels Workstation and Parallels Desktop.

This is some list!

From a test lab automation standpoint, I would guess that a smaller subset of these hypervisors might be popular in your virtual lab. What are your favorite hypervisors to use in the dev/test/pre-production labs?

At VMLogix, we have always believed in the hypervisor agnostic story – and as testimony to the fact, we are the only virtual lab automation solution supporting the Citrix, Microsoft and VMware platforms!

– Srihari Palangala

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Virtual Lab Automation – Who are the many users?

June 18, 2008

Traditionally IT labs have been physical machines and other lab infrastructure that have been managed by a single or group of IT administrators. Virtual lab automation changes the game for IT labs – it allows IT admins to create a lab setup where end users self-serve from a central virtual machine repository – based on groups/policies/quotas etc. that IT admins setup & control. IT managers/admins are then able to focus on other ‘non-mundane’ aspects like improving lab resource utilization, evaluating emerging technologies that further help align IT with business and in evangelizing the lab to a larger base of customers.

Speaking of a larger base of “customers” for IT labs if you are an SMB/ISV/Enterprise, as an IT admin, you should be able to extend your lab to make it relevant to the following internal groups with VLA::

  • Software/product support:: VLA will enable your users to self-serve customer setups easily that can be used to troubleshoot/replicate your customer issues.
  • Software/product training:: Your internal trainers/training apps can leverage VLA to create environments for various hands-on labs.
  • Consolidating software QA across multiple groups (in potentially varied geographic locations):: VLA enables you to centralize and manage your lab resources; with it you can bring multiple QA groups together to use the same set of lab resources

What are other new customer bases that you think you could make the lab relevant to following a VLA deployment?

– Srihari Palangala

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Virtual Lab Automation Product Integrations

June 17, 2008

The following product integrations are available with some of the leading test lab automation solutions in the market:

VMware Lab Manager:

  • HP Quality Center
  • Borland Silk Central Test Manager
  • Anthill Pro
  • Electric Commander

Surgient VQMS:

  • HP Quality Center, includes a Surgient available plug-in for HP Quality Center

VMLogix LabManager:

  • Source control:: IBM Rational Clearcase, CVS and Subversion
  • Build:: IBM Rational BuildForge, Ant and Maven
  • Test:: IBM Rational Clearquest Test Manager, HP Quality Center

All products offer an API that can be used for external programmatic control of the application and specific controls.

– Srihari Palangala

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