Best Practices & Benefits to Move Your On-premise Test Bed Environment to the Cloud

SANTA CLARA, CA. Wednesday August 30 , 2022 at 12:00 PM EDT


Best Practices & Benefits to Move Your On-premise Testbed Environment to the Cloud


Traditionally test-bed environments are on premise and statically deployed which is not resource efficient. If you have 40 test environments, and 25 test environments are needed right now due to software life cycle; then 15 test environments are staying idle!

On the other hand, if you need 60 test environments right now due to an urgent deadline, you are struck with just 40 test environments and can't get additional 20 easily to speed up the project timeline. Even if you go out to procure additional test environments, it takes a long time to procure, deploy and configure them. The test environments are constantly not enough or too many; one can never achieve 100% utilization consistently.

Since multiple testers could be sharing the test environments over time, maintaining test data and software stack versions between test runs can sometimes be a challenge. The previous run may "disturb" the data, so two regression tests being run may not start at the same starting point, which could impact the result in theory. Some organizations resort to adding a restore data step before the test to ensure the consistency of data. While this solves the data issue, it also adds some hours per test cycle.


Moving testbed environments into the Cloud and adopting Pay-As-You-Go and test environment imaging is a paradigm shift to solve these issues. With Pay-As-You-Go, one pays for the exact number of test environments that are currently in use. If you need 20 test environments, you provision 20. If you need 60 test environments, you provision 60. Whenever you are done with testing, you decommission the test environments. In fact, if you are done with testing and it is time to go off work or the weekend is coming, you could spin down the test environment to save cost and spin up again the next business day when you come to work. This way the resource utilization rate can be always 100%!

The other great benefit is adopting virtual machine imaging to standardize your test environment versioning. When you are happy with the software stack with the right versions and data, you save it into virtual machine images (AMI for AWS). Let's say your test environment consists of three systems with web server, application server and database server and your database is loaded with production data at January 1st, 2022, you will save them into three virtual machine images for January 1st, 2022 data test environment. Whoever wants to test January 1st, 2022 data would provision a test environment with those three images which guarantees all software stack and data is correct and always exactly the same. In a couple of minutes, a new test environment can be created quickly and correctly, ready to go any time, as many times as you need!

Testers can quickly provision any test environment with the target data with ease. For example, if a bug is discovered with January 1st, 2022 data and a fix was produced in February, there is no guarantee the bug can be reproduced with February 1st, 2022 data. However, testers can easily test the fix, matching the data (January 1st, 2022) when it was discovered by provisioning the match target test environment. The costly data restore step is no longer needed and it is guaranteed that each provision test environment will start with the exact same test data each time.

Clouds and dynamic Pay-As-You-Go brings unique challenges vs the static on premise testbed environments. Licensing and asset management could be a challenge to monitor and make sure it is in compliance with the license footprint as systems come and go all the time. If the software requires a license key, then an extra manual step is needed to contact the vendor to get a license key whenever a new provision occurs. This also breaks test automation since someone needs to contact the vendor and wait for the key before the automation test can start.

Full test automation scripts would also be more complex to write as the systems in question inside the test environment do not exist yet or are not known until provisioned and created. Consider the Agile Continuous Integration/ Continuous Distribution (CI/CD) holy grail usage case: A developer submits a code change to source a code control system, which would automatically trigger a release to be built, a new test environment to be provisioned, a new release copied to the test environment, a regression test ran, the test results to be sent out, and the test environment to be decommissioned. This is the utopia of testing automation to the max and it can be achieved today.

The success story with the above CI/CD usage case is done with Solution-Soft's Time Machine®. Time Machine time travels your applications and databases with software virtual clocks to test your data and time sensitive logic, such as month-end, quarter-end, year-end processing, billing cycle and regulation change date; etc. Many Time Machine customers would time travel to multiple virtual clocks to test different test cases during a regression test.

To support Cloud deployment, Time Machine uses the Floating License Server (TMFLS), where a pool of license units can be shared by the Time Machine systems with different OS, or CPU core combinations. When the Time Machine service starts, it automatically requests a license from the Floating License Server, and it would automatically release the license when the service stops. Combine this configuration with Time Machine preinstalled in the virtual machine image, and license allocation/deallocation upon system provisioning and decommissioning would be automatic. Asset management is a piece of cake, where no manual step to get a license key from the vendor is necessary and the Floating License Server can easily provide up to the moment license usages among all current holders and pool size.

In addition, Time Machine Sync Server (TMSS) provides URL API to time travel the entire test environment defined in the Sync Group. You can also make an API call to modify the sync group definition on-the-fly, which could be set after the systems are provisioned. As a result, CI/CD regression test scripts are quite easy to implement with the Sync Server API. The test script literally just needs to make one API call to modify the sync group with the new identity of the systems (IP address, etc.), one API call to broadcast a virtual clock to time travel the test environment for each time change and finally one API call to remove the virtual clock before terminating the test environment. Many of our customers enjoy this 100% regression test automation with Agile CI/CD work flows today.

In summary, it is a great idea to move your testbed environment from on premise to the Cloud. One can achieve 100% utility rate with your test environments at all times and pay as you go. Your time to market for your software release will be greatly improved as there will always be enough environments to do parallel testing and provisioning of each new environment is lightning fast and standardized with both software stack and production test data visioning. Lastly, 100% test automation with agile CI/CD could be achieved today with ease!


About Time Machine

Time Machine saves ten-fold or more on resources and costs associated with temporal testing of applications. It enables you to finish your large scale software projects on time and under budget. Some other usage scenarios of Time Machine include Cloud migration, time zone adjustment, data aging, Big Data analysis and online training. Time Machine is the original date and time simulation software for Unix and Windows since 1997 and it is Cloud ready. Thousands of customers worldwide utilize Time Machine successfully across all industries on a daily basis; including 47 of the Fortune 100 companies.

About Solution-Soft

Solution-Soft is the leader in virtual clock, time shift testing software solutions for the ever changing digital world. Our flagship and market proven product, Time Machine, opened up brand new possibilities in the application testing landscape upon its release in 1997. Today, thousands of applications have been tested with Time Machine, and IT professionals recognize that using a virtual clock is the ideal and safest way to conduct date and time testing. As pioneer in our field, we've created the Time Machine Product Suite, a collection of cutting-edge testing software that augment Time Machine to further streamline enterprise cloud initiatives and IT simplification. The product suite offers a complete solution for end-to-end application testing, cloud migration, test automation, Agile/DevOPs, Continuous Operation, and Test Data Management. We proudly provide our 2000+ domestic and international customers, including 47 of Fortune 100 companies, our advanced solutions to optimize their testing and help deliver projects on-time. Solution-Soft's customers are across all market sectors including 3M, AMEX, Australia Tax Office, BBC, Boeing, British Gas, Covered California, Discover, Fed Ex, Federal Reserve Bank, French Telecom, National Australia Bank, and Zurich Insurance. We bolster our market presence through robust partnerships with companies including Accenture, Capgemini, Citrix, Delphix, DXC, FICO, HPE, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Red Hat and SAP.

Founded in 1993, Solution-Soft is privately held and based in Santa Clara, CA, for more information visit or call +1.408.346.1400.

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