Testing Release Management in the Cloud

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The Power of Virtualization
Virtualization is an innovative technology of particular use to cloud service providers. The ability to consolidate multiple cloud services onto as few physical servers as possible provides tremendous efficiency benefits by lowering cost, space, and power consumption. Additionally, the ability to move the virtual machines supporting cloud services from one physical server to another allows for the efficient use of resources in matching time-of-day demand, as well as allowing fast reactions to detected performance issues.

One of the consequences of this consolidation is the need for higher-speed interfaces, as more data needs to be delivered to each server. This requires that the data communication infrastructure is dimensioned to provide this data; this, in turn, demands that the network-monitoring infrastructure can keep up with the data rates without losing data. This is far from a given, so cloud service providers need to pay particular attention to the throughput performance of network monitoring and analysis appliances to ensure that they also can keep up in the future.

Within the virtualized servers, there are also emerging solutions that can assist with monitoring performance. Just as network- and application-performance-monitoring appliances are available to monitor the physical infrastructure, there are now available virtualized versions of these applications for monitoring virtual applications and communication between virtual machines.

There are also virtual test applications that allow a number of virtual ports to be defined. These virtual ports can be used for load testing in a cloud environment. This is extremely useful for testing whether or not a large number of users can access a service without having to deploy a large test network. This is an ideal tool for cloud service providers.

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