Click here to close now.

Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Lori MacVittie, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Agile Computing, Cloud Security, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Misconceptions Around App Testing in the Private Cloud

The private cloud actually confers many more nuanced benefits, particularly for developers

The private cloud: What it is (and isn't)
The private cloud is misunderstood. At this stage, vendors can be forgiven for not having a firm idea of what the private cloud is and how it can uniquely improve their processes. Too many service providers have branded legacy technologies as "cloud-based," warping buyers' expectations about what a private cloud actually is and should do. In some cases, what developers and testers get with these cloud-washed solutions are nothing more than heavily virtualized environments that offer little or none of the scalability, automation, self-service, and on-demand provisioning associated with cloud computing at-large.

As a result, organizations may think of the private cloud as simply a slight update to their internal IT systems, a fresh coat of paint on the same aging infrastructure that they have been looking to leave behind as new dynamic applications become more central to their businesses. They want a cloud platform that can enable more agile software lifecycles, with streamlined testing and abundant resources for developers, but these misconceptions may lead them to conclude that the public cloud is the only way to achieve these goals and facilitate quicker time-to-market, as well as higher programmer productivity.

The truth is that using a private cloud not only provides a productive dev/test environment, but also adds tangible advantages over running all workloads on public infrastructure. For starters, the unpredictable opex of using public cloud services can be replaced with fixed capex, mostly for high-end servers and appliances that provide the dedicated power for running tasks consistently. Accordingly, dev/test teams benefit from working in a single-tenant environment in which resources are rapidly and reliably provisioned and often come from appliances with superior specifications to public Infrastructure-as-a-Service machines.

Moreover, the private cloud boosts particular IT workflows, all while shielding these operations behind the company firewall. It provides high levels of security and control that make it ideal for safely developing and testing applications. Naturally, dev/test has been instrumental in shaping the private cloud's amenities for automation and self-service, along with the evolution of commercial solutions that leverage open source software to give teams maximum flexibility in configuring and customizing processes.

Some industry executives and observers have disputed the entire notion of the private cloud, arguing that it either has no agreed-upon definition or is already obsolete, but in reality its structures are readily discernible in data centers and on-premises systems that depend on it for these central IT, dev/test and quality assurance operations. These workflows all offer low-risk/high-reward opportunities for synthesizing the productive gains of cloud computing with dedicated hardware to obtain the best of both worlds.

While the private cloud has sometimes been cited for lacking the fundamental traits of cloud computing in general - on-demand service, scalability, self-provisioning and measurement - this argument only applies to virtualized environments that have been wrongly labeled. These depictions should not obscure the fact that private clouds are real, vital parts of IT infrastructure.

Why Do Testing and Development in a Private Cloud?
If development, and deployment of software, is a strategic everyday activity, then in most cases private clouds make sense. There is a common perception that controlling your IT destiny is complicated and expensive. But today, with highly evolved hardware and highly automated cloud platforms, operation of your own infrastructure is becoming easier and less expensive by the day.

Development and testing is a natural fit for cloud environments because superior access to resources leads to shorter wait times during critical processes (no more never-ending provisioning) and lower costs per unit tested. While these gains are theoretically attainable through any cloud platform, the private cloud provides distinctive advantages.

Start with infrastructure. Traditional testing environments are complicated to use and costly to maintain, taking up excessive space and consuming considerable power despite sitting idle for long periods of time. Firing up testing equipment every few months often leads to difficulty and frustration as teams try to ensure the consistency of all environments. Debugging times lengthen and application delivery is delayed.

Using a private cloud simplifies matters on both the hardware and software fronts. Testing resources can be set up and decommissioned as needed, obviating the need to keep instances running indefinitely on the public cloud. Private cloud virtualization enables compute, storage and networking to be scaled in accordance with application demands and a self-service Web portal can make this process easier. Some private cloud implementations connect to public infrastructure as needed, usually to provide additional automation, scalability or spillover, a phenomenon known as cloud bursting.

Still, would-be adopters may recoil at the perceived high cost of the private cloud, which is sometimes misleadingly set in stark contrast to the pay-as-you-go efficiency of the public cloud. In truth, improvements in hardware and public APIs have made the private cloud more affordable and reliable than ever before. It is no longer a cousin to the expensive, difficult-to-maintain systems that organizations once abandoned for the public cloud; rather, it is an increasingly vital component of modern IT, providing the security, control and performance needed for particular tasks, while also interacting with public platforms to open up a fuller range of services for developers and testers.

Using a Private Cloud Doesn't Mean Never Using the Public Cloud
The very term "private cloud" can be confusing, since it groups together a diverse range of infrastructure and software under one umbrella and sets them in opposition to remotely hosted services. This is a false dichotomy. Not all private clouds are equally capable, nor do they all share compatibility with public clouds as part of hybrid deployments, although the latter trait is becoming more common.

Accordingly, it makes sense to look at the private cloud on a case-by-case basis and assess them as tools and platforms for dev/test. Many of them can easily coexist with both legacy technologies and public cloud platforms to create an ideal environment for software development and deployment.

Public cloud providers have certainly taken note, with several of them modifying their services so that enterprise customers can, for example, feed information into big data tools from on-premises databases or other platforms. These moves speak to the ongoing demand for private clouds that not only have the most apparent amenities - security, dedicated hardware - but also offer highly efficient ways to handle workloads in different way depending on their requirements and on how they evolve.

More specifically, the private cloud is one way to reduce costs and still maintain advanced continuous integration. With the right combination of software and hardware, a private deployment enables excellent handling of servers and automation, as well as the use of plugins that can launch worker nodes on a public cloud for extra capacity. While organizations vary by the number of connections they make between in-house systems and the public cloud, the power of the private cloud is that it is flexible enough to address a wide range of use cases by applying cloud computing principles to key processes.

As such, the private cloud can be an important part of a hybrid deployment, with capabilities that support certain workflows in ways that the public cloud cannot. Resources can be provisioned quickly, leading to faster time to market. Dev/test can be run at low cost on the private cloud, with the workload shifted unchanged to a public cloud for production. Far from being an expensive relic or the antithesis of convenient self-service cloud computing, the private cloud, as well as the hybrid setups it may be part of, is a powerful platform for producing, testing and deploying software, and one that is often equipped with public APIs for additional versatility.

Startups and Service Providers Are Among Many Organizations with Private Clouds
How does the private cloud look in action? Organizations across many verticals have set up private clouds to make software deployment easy and economical. Private cloud is most readily associated with handling sensitive data for heavily regulated industries such as finance and healthcare, but its use cases are actually varied and particularly relevant for programmers.

It is common for startups to go with the public cloud to get what seems like the point-and-click convenience of unlimited resources. After a while, however, many of these companies realize that they can obtain better speeds on their own dedicated hardware, with the added benefits of better privacy and security compared to public cloud. Despite its rapid evolution, the public cloud is still very opaque, and users may get into situations in which they are overly reliant on average machines with specifications that cannot be adjusted. A private or hybrid cloud is a great way to get the infrastructure that the organization needs in order to reliably run workloads and get the most out of their investments.

While cost and security typically dominate any conversation about the private cloud, organizations should realize that it actually confers many more nuanced benefits, particularly for developers. Savings and data protection are critical, but a productive, transparent and highly configurable dev/test environment sets companies that use the private cloud up for long-term success in an increasingly complex cloud landscape.

More Stories By Shashi Mysore

Shashi Mysore is the Director of Product Management at Eucalyptus Systems, where his responsibilities include overseeing all aspects of the product life cycle, from strategy to execution. Mysore obtained his MS and PhD in Computer Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara and is a recipient of several awards at internationally renowned conferences, including two IEEE Micro Top Pick awards

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
The cloud has transformed how we think about software quality. Instead of preventing failures, we must focus on automatic recovery from failure. In other words, resilience trumps traditional quality measures. Continuous delivery models further squeeze traditional notions of quality. Remember the venerable project management Iron Triangle? Among time, scope, and cost, you can only fix two or quality will suffer. Only in today's DevOps world, continuous testing, integration, and deployment upend...
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
"A lot of the enterprises that have been using our systems for many years are reaching out to the cloud - the public cloud, the private cloud and hybrid," stated Reuven Harrison, CTO and Co-Founder of Tufin, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and Containers together help companies to achieve their business goals faster and more effectively. In his session at DevOps Summit, Ruslan Synytsky, CEO and Co-founder of Jelastic, reviewed the current landscape of...
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies drivi...
"Plutora provides release and testing environment capabilities to the enterprise," explained Dalibor Siroky, Director and Co-founder of Plutora, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding bu...
The last decade was about virtual machines, but the next one is about containers. Containers enable a service to run on any host at any time. Traditional tools are starting to show cracks because they were not designed for this level of application portability. Now is the time to look at new ways to deploy and manage applications at scale. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, Brian “Redbeard” Harrington, a principal architect at CoreOS, will examine how CoreOS helps teams run in production. Attende...
Containers are revolutionizing the way we deploy and maintain our infrastructures, but monitoring and troubleshooting in a containerized environment can still be painful and impractical. Understanding even basic resource usage is difficult – let alone tracking network connections or malicious activity. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gianluca Borello, Sr. Software Engineer at Sysdig, will cover the current state of the art for container monitoring and visibility, including pros / cons and liv...
"We provide a web application framework for building really sophisticated web applications that run on a browser without any installation need so we get used for biotech, defense, and banking applications," noted Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit (http://DevOpsSummit.SYS-CON.com), held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo® and DevOps Summit 2015 Silicon Valley, which will take place November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Alert Logic provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid IT infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for cust...
DevOps Summit, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development...
"AgilData is the next generation of dbShards. It just adds a whole bunch more functionality to improve the developer experience," noted Dan Lynn, CEO of AgilData, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
The time is ripe for high speed resilient software defined storage solutions with unlimited scalability. ISS has been working with the leading open source projects and developed a commercial high performance solution that is able to grow forever without performance limitations. In his session at Cloud Expo, Alex Gorbachev, President of Intelligent Systems Services Inc., shared foundation principles of Ceph architecture, as well as the design to deliver this storage to traditional SAN storage co...
The 5th International DevOps Summit, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo – being held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the ...
DevOps tends to focus on the relationship between Dev and Ops, putting an emphasis on the ops and application infrastructure. But that’s changing with microservices architectures. In her session at DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, Evangelist for F5 Networks, will focus on how microservices are changing the underlying architectures needed to scale, secure and deliver applications based on highly distributed (micro) services and why that means an expansion into “the network” for DevOps.
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises ar...
Discussions about cloud computing are evolving into discussions about enterprise IT in general. As enterprises increasingly migrate toward their own unique clouds, new issues such as the use of containers and microservices emerge to keep things interesting. In this Power Panel at 16th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the state of cloud computing today, and what enterprise IT professionals need to know about how the latest topics and trends affect t...
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of pro...
Live Webinar with 451 Research Analyst Peter Christy. Join us on Wednesday July 22, 2015, at 10 am PT / 1 pm ET In a world where users are on the Internet and the applications are in the cloud, how do you maintain your historic SLA with your users? Peter Christy, Research Director, Networks at 451 Research, will discuss this new network paradigm, one in which there is no LAN and no WAN, and discuss what users and network administrators gain and give up when migrating to the agile world of clo...