What is Virtual Lab Automation and why should I care?

My name is Srihari Palangala, and I work at VMLogix as a manager of product marketing. I have spent several years in the software technology industry under various capacities – software development/testing, IT consulting, business development and marketing.

I’m sure readers of this blog are passionate about software testing, verification, validation and the like. I do believe that software testing plays a critical role in ensuring that IT infrastructure operates 24 X 7 and with minimum/no activity disruption. IT is viewed as a core infrastructure today and any adverse impact is directly reflected in the business top and/or bottom lines. Unfortunately, software continues to be somewhat unreliable and this is probably what causes some IT folks to whine! (btw, I’m not endorsing the view in the referenced post). My point is — Solid and reliable IT performance is only possible with sound testing processes and practices.

However, the job of testing has become increasingly difficult over the years – with increasing software complexity, hardware and software platforms, third party applications and so on. The permutations and combinations to test are just mind boggling. This becomes even harder with shrinking IT budgets and globally distributed teams developing software today. I don’t need to belabor the point here, all of you I’m sure resonate with this – since these are your operational challenges on the job!

What is virtual lab automation? Server virtualization is a scorching technology in enterprises/ISVs and SMBs alike (especially with the advent of Microsoft Hyper-V a few weeks ago). There are several hypervisors available in the market, some even free. Hypervisors are a great start for the testing community wishing to quickly deploy pristine test machines. But, the use of only hypervisors inadvertently creates another problem – managing VM sprawl! VLA offers you and the test lab a lot more than a pure hypervisor deployment. VLA is a management system by which recurrent labor-intensive manual tasks necessary in test and development labs can be automated and by which test and development lab processes and infrastructure can be streamlined and centrally managed. VLA ensures rapid, highly repeatable, resource-optimized deployments of complex, multi-machine build, test, and pre-production environments across virtual machines. VLA works on top of server virtualization platforms from vendors like VMware, Citrix, and Microsoft and can integrate with existing software and hardware infrastructures in order to maximize existing enterprise investments.

The popular VLA solutions in the market are VMLogix LabManager, VMware Lab Manager and Surgient’s VQMS. Each of these solutions have integrations with powerful source control, build and test management tools as well. Among these, VMLogix LabManager is the only VLA solution that supports all leading hypervisors from vendors such as Citrix, Microsoft and VMware. In addition, VMLogix LabManager has powerful automation capabilities that help dramatically increase productivity of software engineering teams.

Okay. So, why should I care? In simple terms – if you want to ship better quality software in a shorter time frame and with reduced IT spend then you cannot afford to overlook a VLA deployment in your lab. If your software engineering team is not supported by a test lab champion, then you are likely missing out on a key productivity enhancing tool in VLA. And given the growing dependency and demands from a test lab manager a VLA solution is a must! A solution like VMLogix LabManager provides rich functionality and has several benefits.

If you would like to learn more and track the latest in the virtual lab automation space – do monitor our VMLogix blog and engage with us.

You can also request for a free 30 day evaluation of the VMLogix LabManager software. Alternatively, register on our virtual portal and gain access to a lot of online resources around this technology including product videos, screencasts, documents, forums etc.

We look forward to hearing from you!

8 Replies to “What is Virtual Lab Automation and why should I care?”

  1. So aptly said Srihari.

    As an industry we have made great progress in this area and I am fairly certain that we can’t ignore this any more. As software development starts to get more predictable (from being a creative work to a scientific work), the reliance on these tools and systems would greatly increase.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. I hope to keep hearing from you time to time on some of these issues.

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