Kubisys thin capture

Can Kubisys clone complex production environments in 15 minutes rather than hours? That all depends upon what is meant by "clone."

Building test beds to check out patches, software updates or other things in a complex environment can be a time consuming process. Why does it take so much time? Copying multiple Gigabytes of operating systems, applications, database engines, and, of course, data can take quite a bit of time. Kubisys thinks that it has a better way to achieve the goal of quickly building a test environs based upon the current production environment.

Here's what Kubisys has to say about its technology

Clone Your Production Environment in 15 Minutes Kubisys Thin Capture™ -- The fastest, easiest, most economical way to clone your production environment for software testing.

Kubisys Thin Capture™ produces a complete clone of your production environment in just 15 minutes, preserving identical production networking, application stack, and entire data-set all working together in an isolated bubble. Self-contained and rack mountable, Thin Capture™ plugs right into your existing infrastructure. Thin Capture™ allows working with production systems with production data, without risk to your production servers. Many sandboxes -- reflecting production subsets -- can be created simultaneously for investigating multiple “what-if..” situations without touching production data.

Kubisys Appliance is quick and simple to deploy, and is driven by a very intuitive web-based graphical user interface (GUI). The base unit comes with enough horsepower to sustain 20 captured servers running simultaneously.

Thin Capture™
Thin Capture™ obviates the need to duplicate hardware, software, and licenses for provisioning test beds. On-demand testing allows scrutiny of changes that effect production before deployment, reducing downtime without breaking the budget.
  • Test, upgrades, patches, roll-outs without affecting production.
  • Meet SOX, PCI audit and mandated upkeep.
  • Evaluate vendor software, risk free.
  • On-demand training/demos on real environments.
  • Remote technical support and troubleshooting.

Snapshot analysis

From time to time I speak with a company and I have trouble "getting it." This clearly was the case when I spoke to Kubisys.  On the one hand they speak about "cloning" production environments in 15 minutes and the other hand they speak about creating a snapshot that contains a very small amount of data. Somehow that small snapshot is supposed to allow an organization to create a workable copy of an environment so that testing can take place.

The company's appliance software "discovers" the working environment and then captures a "thin data layer" that somehow allows multiple copies of the environment to run virtually for testing.

It appears that the key to their secret sauce is the fact that enterprise SANs (EMC, NetApp, Dell-EqualLogic) all contain a snapshot function. Kubisys uses that snapshot to do its magic. It is not at all clear if the time time needed to create such a snapshot is included in the the 15 minutes it references in the marketing materials.

Will this technology do what your organization needs to prepare and support a test environment? Will it lower your overall costs? Duh, I don't know.

Is it worth the time to evaluate what Kubisys is doing to find out? Since others, such as Racemi, are offering approaches that make much more sense to me, I'd suggest talking with them first.