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The legacy IT model can no longer meet the requirements of today's agile development teams. Historically, the old IT model required at best two to four weeks to spec out a development and test environment, order the machines, network and storage gear, wait for delivery, rack it, and configure them. That procurement process is extremely time-consuming, inconvenient and costly. Today's development teams require a new approach to obtain much needed IT resources quickly for their development and test projects.

The cloud model provides convenient, affordable, and on-demand computing resources tailored for software development teams and it can augment in-house IT environments. By enabling development and test environments through the cloud (rather than owning and maintaining hardware), IT can provide the same capabilities with a much higher degree of self-service, configurability and scalability - while realizing a much lower operational cost. Cloud-enabled IT for development and test integrates the best characteristics of virtualization, cloud automation, software as a service (SaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) to provide a complete solution. This solution-centric approach enables IT to:

  • Deliver a self-service solution portal. Developers can create, replicate, change or delete entire software dev/test stacks in seconds.
  • Provide on-demand scalability and configurability. Developers can create new release stacks on-demand and in a consistent and dependable fashion as they go through release cycles.
  • Provision multiple dev/test environments. Test engineers can run multiple copies of a release, build and test various OS/DB/Browser combinations and scale the environments up or down quickly, as needed.
  • Enable constant time snapshots and rapid bug reproduction. Dev teams can recreate any complex bug scenarios (including production issues), rapidly snapshot those environments, make changes, run tests and compare the results to the original.
  • Facilitate collaboration and parallel work streams. Engineers can collaborate and share access to those environments with other engineers and support professionals over the Web.

At the same time, IT professionals can get full visibility and control over cloud environments. In particular, they can:

  • Set-up dev/test environment templates that are IT policy compliant.
  • Create users, roles, access control lists and permissions.
  • Establish hybrid cloud architecture to connect to in-house data centers.
  • Assign group, project and individual level quota for machines, storage and networks.
  • Track usage by month, by user, by project and implement charge backs if needed.
  • Audit and ensure compliance policies are followed.

The result?

IT teams that adopt a cloud-enabled agile IT solution such as Skytap Cloud can expect to reduce their total cost of ownership by more than 70% while also reducing the release cycle time by more than 75% when compared to the legacy IT infrastructure. Agile IT empowers development teams to achieve the full potential of the agile model. In addition, IT will be able to retain full visibility and control over cloud environments and reduce operating costs.

About the Author: Nate Odell is Director of Marketing at Skytap, a leading provider of cloud automation solutions. He is an industry veteran with a successful 11-year career in B2B marketing for technology startups. Follow Nate on Twitter @NateOdell25 or @Skytap.

Photo by OeilDeNuit