One of the big value propositions for cloud infrastructure is that in greatly reduces the hurdles that developers face when setting up environments for development and testing purposes. There are two issues that often get in the way of this process – the demand for limited physical resources, and the time it take to specify and deploy specific development stacks for different purposes. Cloud infrastructure certainly helps with the first of those issues, but organizations are still left with the burden of tailoring individual environments to particular needs – which is where CloudShare comes in. CloudShare touts itself as a company focusing on:

…providing virtual environments in the cloud. CloudShare’s self-service SaaS platform and suite of solutions enable business users to build, freeze and share complex computing environments

The company boasts of over 175,000 users worldwide and more than half of the Fortune 100 as customers. Anyway – today CloudShare is extending their platform to deliver upon the needs of development and testing groups. CloudShare Labs is a self-service solution that delivers cloud infrastructure but in a way that is optimized for the particular use case of the department needing it. Particular capabilities of the platform include:

  • Simplified Bug Fixing: The solution enables the capture of a multi-VM disk and memory state, literally freezing a bug in its environment so it can be shared with developers and corrected without having to reproduce the bug in a different environment
  • Environment Cloning and Template Libraries: The ability to clone a master environment eliminates mistakes caused by misconfiguration and enables collaboration among cross-functional and dispersed teams through a web browser, console or SSH session. Groups can also create and store libraries of templates for later reuse
  • Integration: The new solution integrates with the leading application lifecycle management (ALM) and software development lifecycle (SDLC) processes and tools, such as Team Foundation Server and Jenkins
  • Remote Access: CloudShare Labs extends an organization’s existing on-premise development and testing environment to the cloud. Using an organization’s virtual private network (VPN), teams can connect to CloudShare to burst for more resources or collaborate with anyone, anywhere in the world.

It’s actually a compelling argument – individual development team are using so many specific functional tools that the idea of creating a one-size-fits-all development recipe that will cover all the different needs of a development organization is untenable. Rather what is needed is the ability to create libraries of stack templates, and to clone these environments as and when required. The environment cloning and template library aspects of CloudShare Labs make sense. The ability to “freeze” an environment mid-error and in doing so to more readily track and fix bugs is also a logical and compelling proposition.

The CloudShare approach is an interesting one and will suit large enterprises with a wide and diverse spread of development approaches and methodologies – it will be interesting to see the uptake that the product gains in the marketplace.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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