Using the Amazon cloud for Dev/Test in 5 easy steps

December 6, 2011 Comments Off on Using the Amazon cloud for Dev/Test in 5 easy steps

Recently, I explained why the software development and testing process (Dev/Test) is a fantastic use case for cloud computing.  At first glance, getting started might be a bit daunting, but it’s really quite simple.

  1. Determine whether you want to use the cloud for development, testing, or both. If you’re building an Internet-based solution (with or without a user interface), the cloud is particularly adept at letting you quickly set up distributed load tests. These tests – which can be provisioned globally – provide much more accurate metrics about the true response times that your users will experience than if you tried to run load tests from a single location, usually within your firewall!
  2. Identify the cloud that you want to use. I’ll describe the major cloud computing platforms in a series of upcoming posts. For now, the Amazon cloud – specifically Elastic Compute Cloud – is a great place to start, especially for Dev/Test.
  3. Assuming you’ve chosen Amazon, set up a single instance of a virtual machine either on your computer, or select from one of the hundreds of pre-configured Amazon Machine Images. On the other hand, if you’ve created your own virtual machine you can then upload it to Amazon.
  4. Once you’ve set up your base virtual machine and it’s running on Amazon, add all of the ancillary software and technology necessary to complete your Dev/Test environment. These can include:
    • Software development tools
    • Database engines
    • Application servers
    • Web servers
    • Security software
  1. When your virtual machine is fully and properly staged, you can easily clone it as many times as you need.

Going forward, if your Dev/Test cloud experience is positive, consider implementing specialized software that automates many of the manual steps that were necessary to create the cloud-based environment. I’ll describe this specialized software in a future posting.

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