Shift Left: Why Service Virtualization is necessary for continuous delivery


Over the years, we’ve written plenty on analyst evaluations (see here and here) attesting to the value delivered by Service Virtualization. They offer great advice and are worth your time to explore. But rarer, and in some ways more compelling, are detailed evaluations by rank-and-file development team leaders. That’s why a new product review posted over at IT Central Station warrants your attention.

The unnamed developer offered up a full, meaty, unfiltered review of CA Technology’s Service Virtualization. The company had no say over the tone of the comments, the site said.

The result is a remarkable, if nuanced, endorsement and compelling evidence of why Service Virtualization — a dynamic simulator of technology environments — is an invaluable tool for continuous development.

The developer in question was faced with the deployment of an environment and application. Service Virtualization was used to get dev test teams up and running sooner in the process — the so-called Shift Left.

“What we’ve been working on is how we can at least get the development teams’ testers up and running on the application,” the reviewer says. “Then we just have them virtualized on the back end. That might be how we would be setting up and configuring ourselves. It’s definitely in that situation where you don’t have a true end-to-end environment.”

So, how’d it work? You really should go check out the whole, detailed analysis, because it will be impossible to summarize here, however here are some high points:

The Shift Left: One big result noted by the reviewer was to shift development left. In other words, testing could start far earlier, with major benefits for speed to market and quality.

“We actually had one project where I pushed us to use it because we couldn’t get a stable environment,” the reviewer said. “So I said let’s virtualize those services. In doing that, we actually were able to allow the teams to do all their testing. By the time it got to our QA testing, I believe they found only one defect in the application.”

“The later in the cycle that you find defects, the more expensive it is, so finding those things up front and doing it even without an environment that had full-end-to-end capability, which was always my point.”

Release automation: The reviewer found big value in coming up with a repeatable process, thus speeding up development. “Whether you’re doing it in your Dev environment, your QA, your staging or your production, you want the same process everywhere so that if you find the problem, you can fix it once, and that fixes it for everybody. You’re always running a prod type environment as well, which just ensures much more when you get there.”

As I say, such real-life testimonials are rare, but it just so happens that we’re flush with examples this week. A webcast recently conducted by Information Week includes Beth Johnson, a senior VP for release and test at Sun Trust, one of the nation’s largest financial services companies. Johnson says the institution was able to transform its traditional QA and release functions into a more cohesive, collaborative and “continuous” model by adopting Service Virtualization.

Johnson says Sun Trust was able to reduce third-party dependencies for performance testing by making over 400 virtualized app services available for use. As a result, Sun Trust in 2015 was able to realize savings of an estimated $9.7 million by November. In addition, 82% of products tested by Sun Trust’s infosys were implemented with zero production defects.

For more information on how Service Virtualization can ignite innovation in your continuous delivery ecosystem, you should also check out CA’s ebook on the topic.