A Framework to Estimate Cost Savings from Virtual Lab Automation Solutions

October 20, 2008

Virtual Lab Automation (VLA) solutions reduce IT costs, accelerate the software time to market and improves the quality of the software developed. While evaluating the business value of a VLA solution, it is important to be able to estimate the magnitude of $ cost savings that a VLA solution can provide. We outline below a framework that you can use for quick estimates of cost savings in your software development and test scenario.

  1. Reduction in IT costs — Virtualization can help drive cost savings and many analysts seem to agree. Virtualization reduces power requirements and improves space utilization. Beyond these benefits provided by vanilla virtualization, a virtual lab automation solution provides cost savings via better storage utilization (see earlier post on linked clones) and better lab utilization (e.g., resource sharing between users and teams). In addition, VLA can be used to rationalize lab infrastructure and help IT administrators perform better capacity planning.
  2. Accelerate software time to marketVMLogix LabManager introduces a high degree of automation and dramatically reduces the manual effort and time necessary to provision multi-machine configurations. Features like automation with guest VMs brings about a huge saving (and practically eliminates user intervention) in the time required to provision and create multi-machine test bed environments. The VMLogix LabManager ROI calculator provides a framework for you to estimate the cost savings by transitioning a manual provisioning environment into one powered and driven by virtual lab automation.
  3. Imporve software qualityVMLogix LabManager provides powerful third party ALM tool integrations which combined with the guest VM automation capabilities helps dramatically improve the test matrix coverage and thereby the software quality. Again, the VMLogix LabManager ROI calculator includes a framework to estimate the bug reproduction costs and the potential savings by using a virtual lab automation solution in the environment.

Pulling it all together

You can easily add up your cost saving estimations based on the framework for points #2 and #3 above. For #1, we do not have a published framework (updated 11/4/2008 – check the post Control and Reduce the IT cost spending in your software test lab), but with the ability to consolidate (currently at around 30-40 VMs on a single host and this consolidation is continuously improving with better hardware available) you can derive a basic savings estimate (for e.g., this press release from the Butler group though somewhat dated estimates that a 250 dual core server environment can save UKĀ£ 2 Million).

In comparison to the above cost savings, virtual lab automation solutions like VMLogix LabManager cost a small fraction and IT administrators/users can justify their purchase & deployment in a very short duration of time.

– Srihari Palangala

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