Virtualising IT environments isn’t just about optimising hardware resources and saving energy – it can shorten development cycles and help to make organisations more agile, according to Warren Olivier, Territory Manager of backup and virtualisation management company Veeam.
“Developing and testing new code for the business is a huge part of an IT department’s work,” says Olivier. “But the more complex your environment, the more difficult accurate testing becomes. We’ve heard many client stories of changes that passed with flying colours in the test environment – but then everything fell over when they put it into the production environment. It’s a rare CIO who doesn’t have bitter first-hand experience of this.”
The problem, says Olivier, is that isolated testing environments are difficult and expensive to establish and maintain. “I can’t stress enough how hard it is to get everything right,” he says. “You can clone your production environment, but you still need a different set of IP addresses, which means a possibility of conflicts later on. Even if you avoid that problem, there is always the chance that one small change to your production environment while you’re testing a single download or registry edit, can sink the whole ship.”
Fortunately, says Olivier, virtualisation can make the whole problem go away. “If you’ve virtualised, you can use Veeam to quickly and easily create and test backups – with the option to restore machines in seconds if anything goes wrong. Once you have that backup system in place, it makes sense to use it for testing as well.”
With Veeam’s Backup and Replication, says Olivier, setting up a test environment becomes a matter of a few clicks: “You can create a backup, test it to ensure it’s an exact copy of your production environment, then boot it up in isolation to test your patches or new rollouts. Your original backup is unaffected, and you don’t even need massive additional storage because we can run the machine in a compressed state.”
Using backups this way drastically reduces development risk and time frames, says Olivier. “It can make your entire organisation more agile and more creative. You get to develop and implement new code much more quickly, and because the risks are low you can try creative solutions. You don’t spend all your time, resources and budget trying to get the test environment as close as possible to you production environment.”