Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, JP Morgenthal, Yeshim Deniz, Janakiram MSV, Carmen Gonzalez

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.


@ThingsExpo Stories
“We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, discussed the impact of technology on identity. Sho...
"Operations is sort of the maturation of cloud utilization and the move to the cloud," explained Steve Anderson, Product Manager for BMC’s Cloud Lifecycle Management, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I think that everyone recognizes that for IoT to really realize its full potential and value that it is about creating ecosystems and marketplaces and that no single vendor is able to support what is required," explained Esmeralda Swartz, VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud at Ericsson, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his Day 2 Keynote at @ThingsExpo, Henrik Kenani Dahlgren, Portfolio Marketing Manager at Ericsson, discussed how to plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IoT Now has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IoT Now explores the evolving opportunities and challenges facing CSPs, and it passes on some lessons learned from those who have taken the first steps in next-gen IoT services.
SYS-CON Events announced today that WineSOFT will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Based in Seoul and Irvine, WineSOFT is an innovative software house focusing on internet infrastructure solutions. The venture started as a bootstrap start-up in 2010 by focusing on making the internet faster and more powerful. WineSOFT’s knowledge is based on the expertise of TCP/IP, VPN, SSL, peer-to-peer, mob...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, discussed the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports.
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dataloop.IO, an innovator in cloud IT-monitoring whose products help organizations save time and money, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Dataloop.IO is an emerging software company on the cutting edge of major IT-infrastructure trends including cloud computing and microservices. The company, founded in the UK but now based in San Fran...
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it m...