What is common between Airbnb, Lyft, Twitter, Facebook, and Skype? Also, what is common between enterprise-focused companies such as GitHub, Slack, Okta, and Actifio?
Andreesen Horowitz. They have been an investor in every one of these companies. Marc Andreesen made one of the most profound statements of the last decade: “Software is eating the world”. Here is a great blog from him.
Michael Porter, the ultimate guru of competitive strategy, stresses the importance of software even for non-software product companies like manufacturing & heavy machinery companies in this fascinating article in Harvard business review.
It’s safe to assert that whoever can deliver software faster and with high quality will differentiate better against the competition, grab more market share, increase customer satisfaction and retention, and grow their topline & bottom-line revenue.
But the question is how? How do you decrease time to market by releasing your software faster, and more importantly with high quality? How do you retain customers with better customer support and faster issue resolution? How do you get new insights from massive amounts of data faster?
Let’s explore the underlying factors on which these attributes are dependent.
Accelerating Software Test & Release Cycles
Whoever has a more differentiated product/service offering can command a premium price, attract more customers, and hence grow topline faster.
They deliver their roadmap faster, thus defending their turf and retaining their existing customer base as well.
How do you deliver and sustain differentiation? You need to deliver more features faster.
How do you deliver more features faster? Your Dev, QA, Build, Integration testers, UAT teams need to test software faster.
How do you test faster? Assuming fixed time and resources, you will have to execute test cases in parallel as much as possible such as in multiple threads, containers or VMs using on-demand resources on-premises or ideally in the cloud.
After all the Dev, QA, Build integration testing is finished, the software will eventually be deployed in a UAT or production environment where it will deal with real-life data. The 24×7 digital economy is driving TB’s of data into the critical production databases. This is where the rubber meets the road. The software, developed over the weeks or months, sees the real-life, multi-TB production data for the first time and generally doesn’t work an exposes a lot of critical defects.
So, in spite of parallelizing the testing, why doesn’t the software release go smoothly? Because in the test environments, the Dev, QA testers never got a chance to test their software against the real-life multi-TB, “production-like” data. They were mostly testing against subsetted data that is just a few GBs, thus losing both the real size and fidelity of “production-like” data.
So, how do you overcome this situation? The solution is to provision copies of multi-TB “production-like” data to lower environments i.e. Dev, Build, Integration, QA testing environments. Of course with proper security controls such as role-based access control, and masking for sensitive data.
But wouldn’t this take a lot of time and storage? For example, if you want to provision 15 copies of a 10 TB database to your 15 test environments, it might take many hours or even days to create these copies. Moreover, it would require 15 copies x 10 TB = 150 TB of storage…thus increasing the infrastructure costs.
Copy Data Management Solution
To solve the problem just described, an ideal solution needs critical capabilities such as 1) provision rapid clones of multi-TB production databases in minutes, and
2) low storage consumption,
3) secure access,
4) automated sensitive data masking,
5) self-service access by Dev, QA, UAT testers,
6) supports wide variety of enterprise databases and apps such as SAP HANA, Oracle, MS SQL Server, MySQL, Db2, PostgreSQL, Sybase, MaxDB, MongoDB etc,
7) on-premises and multi-cloud ready,
8) integrates with CI/CD pipelines via APIs.
A Copy Data Management (CDM) / Test Data Management (TDM) solution can satisfy all of the above requirements.
It can help accelerate your test and release cycles which in turn reduces your time-to-market. This helps increase your competitive differentiation. This helps you to charge and sustain a higher premium price while increasing market share, thus leading to a topline revenue growth.
The importance of provisioning rapid copies of high fidelity data for testing has attracted large vendors like IBM, Dell, and TCS to sell products, appliances, and services for Copy Data Management.
To learn more details on how the Copy Data Management solution works and accelerates DevOps, download this white paper.