We have talked about virtual lab automation being a strategic purchase in your lab in the previous post. Let us now examine the related view of how virtual lab automation solutions can help control and reduce operational costs. I would put down cost reduction along two dimensions.
- Improved resource utilization — lowering your CapEx on lab infrastructure: With a centralized virtual lab automation solution, lab managers can monitor holistic machine utilization (of all test lab machines) prior to investing in additional machine infrastructure. Lab administrators have a central dashboard view of utilization levels and capacity – and can therefore make better infrastructure CapEx decisions. Further, the storage utilized by lab users is better utilized – by mechanisms such as delta disk technology used in VLA.
- Improved lab operations – enable synergies to keep costs low: From a lab operations standpoint, a centralized VLA solution offers the ability for a wide and divergent user base across the organization (many teams such as support, QA, Development, Training etc.) to tap into, self serve and use the lab (bounded by policies and quotas to control the use of the shared infrastructure by various resources). The lab costs are therefore shared across the organization. Along with this, users and teams can share the lab infrastructure – including configurations, VMs templates etc. thereby leveraging synergies across various efforts. Contrast this with the situation where various teams (across the same location or across geographies) each individually invested in lab infrastructure … thereby driving the costs up.