Testing and debugging account for a significant portion of software development costs. In order to test efficiently, the applications must be run on many different systems, with many different settings, under many different conditions.
If you were to implement a server farm for testing in 10 different environments, you could easily end up spending over $30,000 on new servers, plus another $15,000 on operating, maintenance and hosting costs.
You’re paying for all of this hardware so that you can utilize it only a tiny fraction of its resources. This is a very wasteful approach. But until recently, there was no alternative.
Virtualization makes this process much more efficient.
A single consolidated virtual server farm can be implemented for under $10,000, and the maintenance costs are also extremely reasonable.
A single virtualization server can host hundreds of different system profiles… each containing different operating systems, web browsers, security settings and just about any other variables you may want to test.
One of the best features that virtualization offers for developers is the ability to apply non-persistent changes. In other words, you can make whatever changes you want on the virtual server. Then, you can reset the machine to its original state and all of the changes will be forgotten.
The whole process takes a few minutes, which is much faster than it would be on a physical machine.
You can also set up a wide range of images and profiles. Each of these systems can be easily implemented using a single mouse click, without lengthy setup times. In the past, this process would’ve required expensive and labour-intensive planning, staging and deploying of physical hardware.
And several different environments can be tested in tandem.
This doesen’t just apply to developers. It also applies to systems administrators who want to test certain applications or system configurations.
With limited resources, anyone can set up a complex testing environment for their IT projects.
If you’re a software developer, virtualization can be a great way to shorten the development cycles by increasing the speed and efficiency of your software testing and debugging process.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/teemu-mantynen/3264211384/sizes/m/