We haven't written much about Hatsize.com, a cloud automation-testing outfit that has been around since 2000 and is based in Calgary. Their goal is to make it easier for enterprises to do demos and set up test environments using VMs. Today they came out with a nice buyer's guide. (Free registration required.) While a bit self-serving, it still is worth taking a look at if you are considering using a cloud vendor to automate some of your own testing needs.

It makes sense to use the cloud for testing situations, just because you don't have to maintain a lot of gear and keep it current on patches and OS versions. You can easily set up a new VM in a matter of minutes, and suspend it when you are done, preserving a particular test bench. You don't have to buy any servers, and you can access the test environment from anywhere in the world, which also makes this ideal for conducting demos for your sales team or to show off new features of a particular software build.

Hatsize lists ten different requirements for assessing cloud automation in their guide, and we will touch on just a few here:

  • A globally distributed network of private clouds which reduces latency and makes it easier for anyone around the world to access your virtual data center.
  • Fully automated provisioning and scalable environments that can be setup and torn down quickly, so that a demo doesn't require manual intervention.
  • Supports both on-demand and scheduled access of your virtual resources.
  • API access to learning management systems so you can integrate your cloud environment with whatever systems you have already in use for pedagogical purposes.
If you are considering setting up a virtual testing environment, you might want to obtain the report, even if you are looking at other vendors besides Hatsize.