When it comes to testing upgrades, patches, integrations and other changes that are a necessary part of any IT development process, governmental entities need assurance that what they test is what will ultimately occur when their changes are introduced into their live production environments. Considering that many city governments have substantial numbers of programs, systems and users to take care of, discovering a helpful and easy-to-implement solution can be challenging.
For instance, the governmental IT Department of a particular 450,000-plus-person city must install, upgrade and maintain at least 150 systems and applications across 32 departments consisting of an estimated 7,000 internal network users on 5,500 workstations. The City’s Information Services Administrator, along with 165 FTEs and 20 FTCs, are responsible for this city’s ongoing technological.
The city must also ensure consistent uptime for civic support systems like financial, water, sewer and HVAC systems, as well as necessary systems for convention centers, aquariums, police departments and many more citywide needs.
One of the primary ways to ensure that downtime doesn’t negatively affect the city’s technological infrastructure is to use a reliable and accurate test environment during the software development lifecycle (SDLC).
A Governmental Proof-of-Concept Use Case of the Kubisys Platform
After hearing about the Kubisys Platform at a conference, the city’s IS Admin opted to put our Platform through its paces in a 30-day proof-of-concept use case scenario. They “hadn’t seen a product like it anywhere else,” then commenced to use the Kubisys Platform to test their next major project: an upgrade of an emergency operations management application.
The complex system consisted of a back-end database, a front-end web server, and an application server and required connections to both regional and state sites. One error in any section could cause detrimental effects to ripple throughout the system. Developers needed assurance that any possible changes to such a system would go flawlessly.
Within 30 days—which included training on an environment they had never used before—the city’s team accurately captured their production system and was able to test the upgrade on their saved servers within the Kubisys Platform. The city’s Lead System Engineer said, “It eliminated the need for us to try to do a refresh from production because what we were working on was an exact copy of production.”
Why Traditional Test Environments Are Not Efficient
But the Kubisys Platform doesn’t only help because of its ability to accurately replicate production servers. The speed at which test environments can be created means cost-savings for the city as well. As their IS Admin said:
The Kubisys appliance gives us the flexibility of being able to stand up an environment much more quickly than having to rely on our engineering resources and go stand up virtual physical servers every time we need to do this type of work.
In a traditional software development lifecycle that uses virtual machines (VMs) as test environments (like this city previously used), each VM is costly. Before adopting the Kubisys Platform, the city conformed to the limitations of VM test environments by repeatedly using the same type of environment in a concerted effort to cut back on the number of VMs. But what they saved in cost they lost in accuracy and flexibility.
Like all other test environments (not created on the Kubisys Platform), traditional test environments suffer from configuration drift. Over time, changes on the production server are no longer reflected within the test environment, which means that developers may be testing a fix that will actually break their production environment and lead to unnecessary and costly downtime. Because the Kubisys Platform mirrors production—including live server data—configuration drift is dramatically reduced.
Furthermore, the Kubisys Platform is a single solution requiring only one Enterprise license that will serve any test environment needs a company has. Every developer, ops team member, QA tester, or third-party vendor can request their own customized test environments without interfering with other test environments or production. The city’s Lead Engineer was grateful for this particular aspect of our Platform:
We have a lot of flexibility in regards to elevated access rights without affecting our enterprise. We can give our end users and our developers greater right to systems inside of Kubisys than we would in our normal environment because we know that it doesn’t carry on to other systems.
To learn how the Kubisys Platform could likewise benefit your company, request a demonstration at firstname.lastname@example.org.