Wednesday, 16 September 2009 12:01

Getting Started with a Virtualized Testbed

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An often-used buzzword over the last few years in the IT sector has been virtualization - the process of turning one server that hosts a single operating system into a super-system that can potentially host 10 or more operating systems. By now most large corporations and agencies have some sort of virtualized infrastructure in place, and for good reason. The benefits to using this technology are numerous: hardware and operation costs are drastically reduced, virtualization provides enhanced flexibility with the allocation of resources, and production environment’s mission critical applications have been noticing improvements of up time. But how can a virtualized server improve your organizations testing and development cycles?

One of the major benefits of a virtualized test server is the ability to swiftly bring new resources online and create new development environments. Cloning a standard template that has been authored with the fundamental tools required by the development team can create these new environments. Procuring, configuring and installing hardware used to take weeks - but all of the sudden your development team’s new environment is up and running in less than the amount of time it takes to get a cup of coffee.

Another true benefit to a virtualized test server is that there is less risk of cross-contamination between environments. There is no longer an issue when development team A modifies core system files that could possibly interrupt development team B from using that code library. Why? Because both teams have completely separate environments using completely different virtual hard drives connected to completely different virtual networks.

So what about the cost? The common perception is that you need a really powerful and expensive server - but this is not the case. Taking into account the timesavings you will experience, you will also find that there is there is not much investment needed to get a virtualized test server online, especially now that VMWare’s ESXi Hypervisor is available as a free download. Perhaps that server sitting in the basement can be used to get your foot in the virtualization doorstep.

Mike Jantz is a Senior Technical Consultant with WebSan Solutions Inc., a professional services consulting firm specializing in helping companies get the most out of their ERP systems and Supply Chains. You can contact Mike at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 416-499-1235 ext. 210.

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