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The Penetration of Application Complexity and Interdependency

Quality is our end goal

The smart investment money in software application development is in the management layer.

Actually that's not true, the smart money is probably on almost every level of the application development lifecycle; but the deployment, release automation, testing, governance and release management layer is now developing to a level of fabulously penetrating enrichment never quite seen before.

As firms now view a total IT stack populated with complex interdependent applications, the simultaneous deployment of multiple pieces of interlocking software has to be performed with an eye on both the code itself and the infrastructure that supports them.

App Change = Code Change + Infrastructure Change
At the code level, changes to one interdependent application can have an impact on perhaps a dozen other apps that share interdependencies engineered deep into their core layers. Increased use of mobile applications across a variety of rapidly changing platforms makes this challenge, unsurprisingly, even more burdensome.

At the infrastructure level, new application releases often necessitate the provisioning of new hardware. Equally, new releases may require the operations team to look at modifying the firm's network configuration with new server cluster power, or additional cloud-based resources.

Without falling too foul of industry acronyms and marketing terms, we might reasonably suggest that the tools a CIO might look at here to oversee the challenge of application testing and tuning fall into the Application Performance Engineering (APE) space.

The Need to Get Real (World) Testing
Looking to the market for these products, HP recently signed an agreement with network virtualization and APE specialist Shunra to extend its own mobile application testing platform and directly sell Shunra Network Virtualization to bolster HP Performance Center and HP LoadRunner performance testing solutions for mobile applications.

HP says that it can now support application developers who need to test application performance on mobile devices by "automating real-world mobile network" conditions for more precise and reliable mobile application performance testing.

"With mobile user's heightened sensitivity to application performance issues as well as their ability to often provide instant feedback through online app stores, the stakes for businesses to succeed in the mobile space are higher than ever before," said Matthew Morgan, vice president of product marketing for HP Software.

"Mobile application performance is heavily dependent on the capacity and speed of the mobile network. With the new solution, HP enables more precise and reliable mobile application performance testing. As a result, organizations can increase end-user satisfaction and consistent application performance in production by testing application performance in real-world network conditions prior to deployment," added Morgan.

Enterprise Performance Testing
Performance testing at this level requires management software to support collaboration across distributed teams and projects. We also need tools to provide traceability from performance requirements (SLAs) to defects and the ability to connect across the entire application lifecycle: from development to production.

While HP's offerings in this space are healthy, it must be said that Application Performance Engineering (APE) and indeed Application Performance Management (APM) is not a closed market. Similar tools are available (all with their distinguishing differences and nuances) from the likes of Compuware, Quest Software, and IBM.

From an assured application development environment that is enriched and managed by inter-application governance tools and a release management layer comes that much sought after term "quality." Quality is our end goal and if we work diligently with the right tools, then the desired levels of application quality can be achieved.

When application testing and deployment consideration have been met to the full, quality is (in theory) always maximized. For extended reading in this vein HP sponsors Cap Gemini's World Quality Report, a global study to examine the state of application quality and testing practices across industries and geographies.

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This post first appeared on Enterprise CIO Forum.

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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