Electric Cloud, VMware Team Up

Electric Cloud’s ElectricCommander runs on VMware’s virtual machines.

Cost-sensitive dev managers needing to test software builds before deployment might look into Electric Cloud Inc.'s new integration with VMware Inc.'s Lab Manager. The solution virtualizes hardware involved in automated software build testing and helps address challenges posed by apps that work outside the firewall.

"Build tests are important whenever your development will exist in high-volume, high-transaction production environments. If you're just prototyping in a scenario with few users, where there's not much potential impact on existing software or applications, then you don't need it," says Richard Warren, CTO of Channel Blade Technologies, a Virginia Beach, Va.-based developer of e-commerce and lead-management solutions.

Warren recalls an instance where a new feature, an AJAX control, flew through unit testing but wreaked havoc in the wild. "The .NET developers loved it, we loved it -- but it ended up nearly crucifying us," he explains. In production the control ended up launching a full-scale Oracle database search every time a user clicked on a customer Web site page. Those searches brought several Web sites to their knees.

Integration Play
VMware Lab Manager lets organizations minimize testing bottlenecks by enabling them to set up and manage virtual machines that mimic the target environment. Now Electric Cloud's build-test software can work on the Lab Manager infrastructure.

Mike Maciag, CEO of Electric Cloud, says the company's focused on bringing the build- test procedure "out of brittle, home-grown scripts so it can be proactively managed and processed through Web-based applications. This lets SCM [software configuration management] experts run these tests as well as engineers and others."

The integration was done using Electric Cloud and VMware APIs. There was no cross-licensing, Maciag adds.

"If I'm a software developer who wants to do a pre-flight build and test, in the old world, I had to send it to the SCM team. With ElectricCommander, that process is now an application that can be run from a library. ElectricCommander executes the process and then calls Lab Manager. We manage the handoff of processes and we then use VMware's Lab Manager to configure the needed compute environment."

Electric Cloud competes with Build Forge, now part of IBM Corp.'s Rational systems subsidiary and OpenMake Software Inc.

About the Author

Barbara Darrow is Industry Editor for Redmond Developer News, Redmond magazine and Redmond Channel Partner. She has covered technology and business issues for 20 years.

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