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Electric Cloud, VMware Pact Fills Software Testing, Build Gaps

Electric Cloud's automated software development process offering will now integrate with VMWare's Lab Manager, the company said Wednesday.

That means that corporate developers can more easily build software and test those builds on VMWare's infrastructure, reducing lab hardware and overhead costs, Electric Cloud executives said.

Lab Manager itself lets organizations minimize the bottleneck to software testing by letting them set up and manage the virtual machines necessary to mimic the target environment. Electric Cloud's ElectricCommander tests the software builds along the way, said Melinda Ballou, program director for IDC's application lifecycle management service.

The overriding idea is to let developers "leverage virtual machines to create test labs. So instead of using expensive physical machines, which people fight over, you augment your environment with virtual machines. They don't have the configuration issues of physical machines and you can also 'change manage' them," Ballou said.

Thus if a developer needs to configure a test environment but then add a server here or there to mimic a real-world scenario, it can be done and eliminate a "bottleneck to testing," Ballou said.

Iterative software "builds" are needed to shake out glitches and bugs before the software is deployed in production environments. "A poor build means problems later on and if you don't manage that well the impact is hugely significant. Build management is what Electric Cloud brings to the party," Ballou said.

Mike Maciag, CEO of Electric Cloud, said the Mountain View, Calif.-based company is 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," he said.

The integration was done by using Electric Cloud and VMWare's own APIs. There was no cross-licensing, Maciag added.

"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."

The two companies will jointly market the products, co-hosting webinars and other events, Maciag said. Other players in this realm include IBM's Rational Systems subsidiary, which bought Build Forge for build management, OpenMake and Ant.

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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