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Plutora Blog - Test Environment Management

Reduce CAPEX for Testing Environments with Plutora

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Server Room Networking TechnicianAlmost every large enterprise faces a similar challenge: you’ve moved to cloud-based environments, now how do you achieve some level of elasticity? How do you squeeze more results out of the hardware resources you have? How do you reduce CAPEX for testing environments?

Whether you are using a public cloud or a private cloud the ability to dynamically scale resources as needed is the goal.  Ideally, your QA environment only needs to exist for a few hours or a few days while a particular project is being tested. Cloud computing coupled with infrastructure automation makes it easy to scale up and scale down resources as needed, and this is how many companies run infrastructure in 2015 – you scale to meet demand. 

For companies investing in third-party clouds this ability to be more “dynamic” has made it possible for many to shift form CapEx to OpEx and make use of public or shared clouds. Instead of purchasing real hardware (CAPEX) many companies have grown used to capacity on-demand. This isn’t to say that the days of buying hardware are over, the largest companies continue to purchase hardware, but more and more and becoming used to the concept of leveraging third-party clouds.

The Reality: Throwing Hardware at the Problem
That’s the success story of cloud computing.  The present reality for non-production environments is another story altogether.  Many companies that approach us for help with environment management have long-lived testing and integration environments some of which sit unused most of the time.   They are running five or six full environments all the time and they are rarely using more than one or two at any given time.

Spinning up new environments as needed doesn’t often work in a large enterprise.  It isn’t a quick process. Databases need to be populated with proper test data, multiple systems need to be configured simultaneously, and for the largest systems in the industry the stars have to be uniquely aligned for an environment to be ready for a test.  

Companies will over-provision hardware and run multiple environments because they lack the necessary tools to facilitate planning.  There’s no central Gantt chart or calendar to track environment availability, and instead of playing “air traffic control” for environments companies just over-provision.  At a company not making use of a public cloud this means that teams and making a large capital requests for servers that will sit idle for 90% of the time despite the fact that they are often deployed on a private cloud.

Plutora Environment ManagementIdentify Efficiencies and Control Costs with Plutora
At some point during the year or the quarter, the business asks teams to submit capital requests for hardware, and the teams that don’t use Plutora continue to ask for more hardware than they need.  On some of these projects, this can be a significant expenditure.  Over time the business starts to recognize that teams using Plutora are doing more with less.  This is because the teams using Plutora are able to predict demand and model conflicts and capacity needed to support multiple work streams.  Instead of making environment capacity a problem for the budget, project managers and release managers can consult with environment managers on a shared model of capacity.

When we say that Plutora helps control CAPEX it’s because we’ve seen the result in the customers we’ve worked with. At the largest companies in the industry we’ve seen hundreds of thousands of dollars in capacity saved after environment managers gained simple visibility into how projects and release schedules drive demand. If you are trying to squeeze more out of your IT budgets, Plutora is a quick win. It’ll give your environment managers a view of systems they’ve never had before and it is has been developed to shine a light on waste.

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