Quoting from the Akimbi official announcement:
Akimbi Systems today unveiled a significant advancement in the field of software development and testing with the launch of an industry leading complex configuration capture-and-restore (C3R) system, which allows software developers and testers to capture “live” interdependent software systems and instantly store, restore and share them across the organization. Akimbi’s C3R system, Akimbi Slingshot™, automates the rapid setup, teardown and management of the most complex multi-machine software configurations, enabling organizations to shave months off software development projects, reduce development and test equipment costs and dramatically increase the quality of delivered software systems.
Enabled by the emergence of reliable virtual machine technology from vendors such as Microsoft and VMware, Akimbi Slingshot allows software developers and quality-assurance (QA) engineers to create, suspend and capture to a shared library any number of complex, multi-machine configurations. When a configuration in the library is later needed for development or test purposes, Akimbi Slingshot instantly deploys the entire configuration to the best available resources in a pool of shared servers. The machines are restored to exactly the state they were in when captured: running and ready for use, including operating system, software applications and data.
“With Akimbi Slingshot running on Microsoft Virtual Server 2005, customers will be able to build higher-quality software systems, more quickly and with a lower total cost than previously possible,” said Zane Adam, director, Windows Server Division at Microsoft Corp. “The combination of virtualization technologies and fully automated IT management can help deliver business agility, dynamic resource usage and higher levels of efficiency.”
Until now, the process of creating test configurations remained largely manual, with developers having to gather machines, install operating systems, install and configure applications and establish inter-machine connections. Additionally, with an increase in the number of complex distributed systems, these tasks have grown extremely tedious, time consuming and costly. As a result, organizations either restrict the scope of testing to maintain acceptable software development cycle times or they absorb the increasing software development costs of drawn-out projects.
“When testing software, a major challenge for Global 2000 organizations is the setup, configuration and management of systems on which the tests will be run,” said Melinda Ballou, program director for Application Life-Cycle Management at IDC, based in Framingham, Mass. “Departmental groups tend to hoard their configured systems, exacerbating existing testing bottlenecks. Facilitating the setup, management and coordination of testing systems can increase productivity, cut costs and time to production release for software.”
Ensuring Quality in Diverse and Distributed Systems
Ensuring the quality of a new software system requires that it be built and tested in the context in which it will (or could) eventually be deployed; making sure it will perform as expected when interacting with the systems that will surround, support and depend on it. Akimbi Slingshot, which is optimized for software development and testing, simplifies and accelerates this process, allowing developers to more quickly certify software code across a greater number of potential system environments. With Akimbi Slingshot, customers are able to:
- Significantly Reduce Software Development Time: Akimbi Slingshot automates the rapid setup and teardown of complex, multi-machine software configurations for use in development and testing, freeing developers and QA engineers from time-consuming manual tasks, and giving them more time to write, test and debug code.
- Decrease Equipment-Related Expenditures: Akimbi Slingshot allows organizations to pool and share server, networking, storage and other resources between software development and test teams, and individuals.
- Reproduce Every Bug, On Demand: Akimbi Slingshot allows QA engineers to capture any multi-system configuration exhibiting a bug or other unexpected behavior during test, ensuring that every bug can be reproduced reliably at debug time. This not only reduces time spent in the debug phase, but also reduces the number of latent software defects that slip into production.
- Rapidly Troubleshoot Customer Production Problems: By maintaining a comprehensive library of customer and production system environments, Akimbi Slingshot helps prevent upgrade breakage and rapidly troubleshoot production problems.
“Akimbi is laser-focused on addressing a set of key problems overwhelming software development teams in Global 2000 enterprises and packaged software development companies,” said James Phillips, co-founder and CEO of Akimbi. “Across the board, the strong demand for Akimbi Slingshot has exceeded our expectations and suggests that our solution is inspiring organizations of all sizes to rethink the way they develop and test software.”
Pricing and Availability
Akimbi Slingshot is available in two editions: Akimbi Slingshot Personal Edition (PE) and Akimbi Slingshot Team Edition (TE). Pricing starts at $4,995 for Akimbi Slingshot PE and $20,000 for Akimbi Slingshot TE. Akimbi Slingshot supports Microsoft Virtual Server 2005, Standard and Enterprise Editions, and VMware GSX Server. Organizations that desire a complete out-of-the-box solution can opt for a version of Akimbi Slingshot bundled with Microsoft Virtual Server 2005. Akimbi Slingshot is currently available and free evaluation software is available at www.akimbi.com.