Service Virtualization – Why & How

Every business needs an application today. An application that is responsive and compatible across various technology platforms and devices. The key requirements are that the application has to be robust, market-ready, and has to speed up to the market to gain the competitive edge. Experts in the software space work relentlessly to make the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) faster and cost-effective. Service Virtualization is being considered by development and testing teams to deliver applications in a quicker and smarter way, and by ensuring that it operates across various operating systems and technology platforms.

What does Service Virtualization imply?

Service Virtualization is a mechanism where computing resources are distributed actively in real time. With this method, the behaviour of diverse factors across heterogeneous component-based applications such as API-driven applications, cloud-based applications and service-oriented architectures can be emulated.

The application installs its settings on the host operating system and hard-codes the overall system to fit the application’s requirements. In a way, each application cuts down its own set of configurations on-demand and runs with its own settings. Ultimately, it doesn’t change the host operating system or any of its settings.

This methodology emulates various components that would be finally present in the production environment, and the development and testing teams do not have to wait to deploy the Application Under Test (AUT) in the production environment and test it. Service Virtualization is much more relevant in Test Driven Development (TDD).

Service Virtualization secures the Operating System

With Service Virtualization, the application accesses a virtual resource instead of a real one. It works with a single file across the system, which makes it easy to run on various computer systems simultaneously. Virtualization also enables applications to run across environments that are not compatible with the native application.

Service Virtualization has been regarded and endorsed as a process that can help ensure compatibility and responsiveness of applications with minimal efforts and costs. It reduces system integration and administration costs by working with a single software base across multiple computer systems with various configurations. With less integration, the operating system doesn’t succumb to badly written codes or malicious bugs.

This saves the operating system from getting corrupt or damaged. Moreover, it enables incompatible applications to run simultaneously with minimum regression testing against each other. In a way, alienating the operating system from the application has its absolute security boons. Interestingly, the exposure of the application doesn’t entail exposure of the entire Operating System (OS).

Service Virtualization smoothens Migration of Operating System (OS). It helps simplify migration of the operating system, where applications can be transferred to an external detachable media source or across any computer. There is no need of installing the application on a physical system. Virtualization doesn’t need an implementation of many resources apart from a virtual machine.

Virtualization has been beneficial in 2 key areas – consolidation and testing.

Traditionally, every application would run on its own server, which incurred costs associated with hardware and also for licensing. With Virtualization, you can run multiple Operating Systems on a single server. In this way, the Application’s compatibility issues are solved even while multiple applications run on a single server, as each application runs on a virtual Operating System.

This adds value during testing, as it helps you source various Operating Systems for diverse testing purposes.


Ultimate beneficiary is the customer, how?

The key reason for adopting any virtualization process is to extend the benefits to the end customer. Service Virtualization helps you extend the ultimate benefits to your customers – ease of maintenance and higher portability value. Apart from this, it helps treat heterogeneous environments as homogeneous.

Additionally, applications that depend on custom drivers can be installed effectively. This makes deployment of upgrades and patches easier. So, an older version of the application can be easily replaced with a newer version, as the bunch of application in the virtual space are loaded together in a single executable file.

In this way, the virtualized application image gets stored on a server that connects to the client’s machine. So, instead of the whole application, the client sources fragments of the application on a requirement basis. This paces up the application development process and results in faster time-to-market.

At the same time, Service Virtualization is not applicable for all applications. For instance, the application that needs a device driver, which requires integration with the Operating System. For instance, Anti-Virus programs and related applications need to work collaboratively with the Operating Systems.

Irrespective, industry experts and practitioners find immense value in Virtualization and it has been adopted for ensuring higher compatibility, robustness, cost-effectiveness, speed-to-market in the Application development process.

Organizations are increasingly considering Service Virtualization to enhance productivity, cut down testing costs, deliver software/applications with better quality standards, and importantly within shorter time frames. Additionally, when it comes to emulating massive software applications, or third-party services, Virtualization helps you to effectively share and use the same production environments. This further enables parallel development and collaboration.