CA's vision of service virtualization: Catch phrase or reality?

CA has made up catch phrases such as "VM Stall" in the past, marketed them heavily,and hoped they would stick Often the phrases played fast and loose with established industry language and didn't catch on. Will "Service Virtualization" be any different?

Shridhar Mittal, CA's General Manager, Service Virtualization, and Jason English, Director of Product Marketing for Service Virtualization, were kind enough to take the time to brief me on CA Technologies' definition of "Service Virtualization," why the company thinks it is an important concept and what it is doing to help customers use the concept. CA is getting behind this concept and hopes its CA LISA®will lead the way.

What is Virtualization?

In my O'Reilly Media book "Virtualization: a Manager's Guide", Virtualization is defined in the following way:

Virtualization is a way to abstract applications and their underlying components away from the hardware supporting them and present a logical or virtual view of these resources. This logical view may be strikingly different from the physical view. The goal of virtualization is usually one of the following: higher levels of performance, scalability, reliability/ availability, agility, or to create a unified security and management domain.

This virtual view is constructed using excess processing power, memory, storage, or network bandwidth. Virtualization can create the artificial view that many computers are a single computing resource or that a single machine is really many individual computers. It can make a single large storage resource appear to be many smaller ones or make many smaller storage devices appear to be a single device.

How CA defines "Service Virtualization"

CA's John Michelsen and Jason English have released an eBook, "Service Virtualization: Reality is Overrated" that is designed to define Service Virtualization, discuss its history and build a case for CA's Lisa. The following quote offers a concise definition of the phrase:

Service Virtualization (SV) is the practice of capturing and simulating the behavior, data, and performance characteristics of dependent systems and deploying a virtual service that represents the dependent system without any constraints, thus allowing software to be developed and delivered faster, with lower costs and higher reliability.

Service Virtualization includes a new type of technology and an accompanying methodology for “virtualizing everything” in the environment around any software-enabled or internet-based business service or product you are developing. since there are very few companies in business today that do not depend on software, the competitive and economic impact of service virtualization will be profound and far-reaching across many industries.

Snapshot analysis

Upon first hearing about CA's new catch phrase, my first thought was "Here we go again! Another attempt by CA to steer industry discussion their way." So, I asked CA to discuss their concept and give me enough information to see how it compares to the overall definition of Virtualization. After some research, it appears that IBM and Microsoft are using this phrase as well.

It appears that the idea is to insert technology between applications and the underlying infrastructure so that physical, virtual or cloud-based resources can be used for development, testing and production. This technology would hide the actual infrastructure and data and provide a stable, reliable environment for agile development strategies.

This concept aligns well with today's organizational realities of  cost constraints, development with minimal staff and the needing everything done yesterday mentality.




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