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Akimbi automates application testing pools

Taking humans out

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A start-up is using virtualization technology to stake out a place in application testing with a product that streamlines development and helps cut costs.

Akimbi Systems has announced Slingshot, software capable of taking a snap shot of a server environment, storing hardware and software configurations, and automatically rolling back the configurations to a pool of machines for testing with specific new applications.

Akimbi says some customers have sliced up to 50 per cent from the costs associated with development by automating this stage in the application development cycle. Slingshot replaces the need for organizations to manually configure servers and runs on top of virtual machine (VM) software from Microsoft and VMsoftware.

"We are taking the human out of the loop completely," Akimbi chief executive and co-founder James Phillips told The Register.

Slingshot works with application lifecycle management (ALM) testing tools from Mercury Interactive, IBM/Rational, Microsoft, Borland Software and Segue Software, by tapping into the Slingshot APIs via a SOAP interface.

While Slingshot is using SOAP to talk to testing tools, Akimbi has worked at the VM level to ensure that multiple testing environments can run side by side in server pools. This work involves the ability to redirect packets, create a hidden VM and also update routing tables to avoid problems like IP conflicts. Slingshot is based on a VM architecture Akimbi bought from Ensism.

Akimbi is in talks with software tools companies as potential partners, according to Phillips. Its work at the architecture level means these companies will want to partner, rather than try to develop, rival offerings, he says:

"Some of the really hard operating system and virtual machine level technology is not something the other test tools vendors have as a core competency. We have gathered up a critical mass of folks who are pioneers in the virtual space on Intel hardware.." ®

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