September 21, 2012 | Written by: Sam Garforth
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The Development and Test community is one of the most obvious groups that can benefit from cloud; and this is one of the key activities of independent software vendors (ISVs). When you decide that you want to develop a new product or a new release, you want access to your development environment immediately so that you can start realizing your idea and get it to market before the market has moved on or the competitors have moved in. You don’t want the delay that comes with requesting infrastructure setup in a data center and you don’t want long-term commitment in a rapid application development and test environment. As you move toward cloud with standardization, automation, virtualization, pay-as-you-go, and self-service, you can achieve this agility.
Software development tooling
IBM’s Rational portfolio covers the whole software development lifecycle, and it’s available for access on IBM’s cloud. It can also be used to develop solutions that will actually run on a cloud. The IBM Collaborative Lifecycle Management Solution in IBM SmartCloud Enterprise brings together the key software development phases — requirements-gathering, development, and test management — pulling them together on a shared platform, with end-to-end governance. Here, the outputs from one phase are inputs to the next, allowing iteration; by putting it on the cloud, users from multiple locations can collaborate on the process.
Although the GUI for most other tooling can run in a browser with the majority of the application running in the cloud, some still require a thick desktop client. For this type, you can use a virtual desktop such as the IBM Smart Busines Desktop Cloud. Again, this way gives any time and anywhere access with reduced cost of ownership for the desktop environment.
IBM’s recent acquisition, Green Hat, uses cloud to reduce the time and cost needed for application testing. Test environment setup and maintenance consumes 30 – 50 percent of a test cycle, and has issues such as third-party availability, security, and operational restrictions. Green Hat provides virtualized heterogeneous hardware, software, and services shared across parallel development teams to provide 24×7 testing capabilities on demand. Over 70 technologies are supported including BPM, databases, Tibco, Oracle Fusion, and IBM.
Security testing as a service
IBM Rational AppScan OnDemand is a software as a service offering to identify and prioritize web application security vulnerabilities and risks. It traverses a web application, analyzing and testing the application for security and compliance issues, and generating actionable reports. The service is then able to prioritize findings, interpret results, and make fix recommendations to simplify the remediation process.
Load testing as a service
With IBM Rational Load Testing on the IBM cloud, you can define large load tests, build a schedule of tests to be applied to the application, and run them from multiple virtual agents on the cloud.
IBM SmartCloud Enterprise
Of course you can simply use the standard IBM SmartCloud Enterprise public cloud, which gives pay-as-you go access to a clean, fresh, newly installed Linux or Windows operating system where you can develop and test using your own tooling. It has an intuitive GUI and secure APIs so that you can automate your use of it.
Development and test environments can quickly be provisioned from the traditional environment onto the IBM cloud, and also others, using Tivoli Provisioning Manager with the hybrid cloud extension. This way gives the ultimate flexibility of, for example, developing in a cloud environment and then using it on premises for production.
Other cloud-based support services
Even if you choose to run your own infrastructure, IBM has many cloud services that can help you keep this running – backup and archiving to the cloud, security monitoring, and availability monitoring from the cloud.
Hosting your own software on the cloud
After you’ve written your software, you can even offer it as software as a service, hosted on the IBM cloud. An increasing number of ISVs are using IBM cloud to host their solution, ranging from CohesiveFT for cloud development tooling, to SugarCRM for a full Customer Relationship Management solution.
You can get additional help from IBM by signing up for the IBM Business Partner initiative IBM Cloud Computing Specialty, which is designed to help Cloud Services Solution Providers engage more closely with each other and with IBM in this key growth area.