Service Virtualization – Completing the Cloud Story - Page 2

Vijayanathan Naganathan (Profile)
Friday, February 3rd 2012

Today’s dynamic market forces have mandated businesses to be more cost effective, agile and scalable to meet the current market demands. The advent of cloud computing has made it possible for organizations to achieve these needs and help them move from a CAPEX to an OPEX business model. Organizations can pool in all their hardware assets, virtualize the hardware and manage these virtualized assets using a cloud management solution. This approach would bring in benefits of auto management, auto scaling and cost savings. However, organizations would still incur huge costs for setting up clouds for these large external systems, making it a less viable route. So, how can organizations overcome the issue of external system dependencies in a cloud environment? This is where Service Virtualization comes in.

What is Service Virtualization? How does it Fit In?

Service Virtualization is a virtualization technique where the behavior of external dependent systems (that are unavailable, inaccessible or constrained) is captured during run time so that their dynamic, realistic and virtual models can be simulated. Service virtualization helps you overcome the challenges of depending on external systems in over utilized environments. Once the services of the external systems are virtualized, they are no longer required for testing or development. With service virtualization, organizations can create virtual models of external dependent systems and bring them on to the cloud as virtual services that are available round the clock, at low costs.

Let us consider a scenario to understand the applicability of service virtualization in a cloud based environment.  Consider an order management system (OMS) hosted in a cloud based environment that is undergoing some changes. This OMS system in turn needs to interact with three major external systems which include mainframe, ERP and databases that are not on the cloud and are out of the scope for testing. If the organization needs to test the OMS along with these three external systems, then they will need to invest in setting up these external systems i.e. mainframe, ERP and database in the cloud. This will result in a higher CAPEX for the organization, which could very well cancel out the cost savings made with the cloud earlier. This scenario clearly exemplifies the constraints in testing due to system unavailability and dependencies. But with service virtualization, the organization can host the OMS application in the cloud, while the external and dependent systems can be modeled and used as virtualized services in the cloud. With service virtualization, all the external and dependent systems can be provisioned for at costs that are a fraction of what would have been incurred in a complete setup of external dependent systems.

Under What Circumstances is Service Virtualization an Apt Solution?

The following table illustrates some challenging scenarios that can be overcome with service virtualization: