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Surgient 7's self-provisioning promises software testers quick IT resource access

Surgient Virtual Automation Platform 7, a new release, gives software testers and developers quick access to needed IT resources with self-service provisioning features. The new release is integrated with HP Data Center Automation and supports VMware vSphere 4 and Microsoft Hyper-V.

Surgient Virtual Automation Platform 7's self-service provisioning technology promises more timely and adequate IT resource delivery to software development, testing and quality assurance (QA) teams, according to Dave Malcolm, CTO for Austin, Tex.-based Surgient. Announced this week, the major new platform release will be available later this year for a starting license price of $25,000. Surgient will demonstrate the new release at VMworld 2009 next week.

Surgient 7 makes user-defined virtual and physical IT resources available on-demand, a key service for application development teams and a workload reducer for IT administrators, Malcolm said. New integrations with HP Server Automation and Network Automation, as well as VMware vSphere 4, pump up the platform's provisioning power. Essentially, the platform facilitates creating on-premise private clouds for self-service provisioning.

'The new platform allows people -- whether they are users, developers or testers -- to self provision infrastructure and services for their purposes, said Malcolm. "The speed of setting up these test configurations makes it possible to run many, many more tests. This will give software improved quality, because it has been tested and re-tested various times with an ever-changing number of test protocol scenarios," he said.

Self-service provisioning's importance is growing as organizations use virtualization to move towards the service delivery approach of private and public clouds, according to Barb Goldworm, FOCUS chief analyst and president. The new Surgient 7 release delivers, she said, "an interesting combination of life cycle management, policy based provisioning, and capacity management, with features such as automated policy-based workflows, and chargeback/cost visibility."

Currently, it's common for slow-to-no IT resource delivery to cause missed project deadlines, as well as software failures after delivery caused by testing in similar-to but not same-as environments. "QA and development departments struggle with not being able to get resources when they need them," said Mark Bowker, analyst for Enterprise Strategy Group. "The basic notion behind the Surgient platform is helping software testing to provision and have access to resources, be able to return them to a pool and access them anytime they want." This can help organizations improve and speed up the transition of their applications into staging and a production environment.

Bowker noted that Surgient 7 lets application owners, developers, testers and QA managers leverage internal resources that they their companies have invested in, rather than have than have to turn outside to third-party providers of resources that mimic the internal ones. The end result of provisioning internal resources for testing, he said, is lower cost, faster time to market and a smoother transition of applications into a production environment.

Self-service provisioning also reduces IT administrators' workload by automatically delivering internal resources. "IT will no longer be a bottleneck service," Malcolm said. " "People have tried to address this problem by leveraging and building provision systems that require a lot of scripting; scripts, by the way, that require developers to write them and then maintain them." With Surgient 7, he added, services are not defined as a set of scripts, but a set of objects in our platform.

Giving users the ability to get services on demand seems like a setup for availability problems. Surgient 7 addresses high availability via integration with VMware vSphere 4, as well as the platform's previous integrations with VMware tools like vCenter Server and VMotion. The result, according to Malcolm, is automated failover and the ability to move virtual machines as needed. In Surgient 7, he said, users can also add and remove servers working in a live services deployment without causing downtime.

Summing up Surgient 7's value for software development teams, Malcolm likened it to automated teller machines. Rather than going to a bank and waiting in line for a teller and explaining your transition to that teller, you can use an ATM more quickly, more efficiently and exactly when you need it. "The user," said Malcolm, "is empowered with control and can use that resource at his own convenience."

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