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Tech Mahindra Elaborates on Service Virtualization and Release Automation Offerings

Tech Mahindra Testing Services (TMTS) recently provided insights on the work it is doing to expand automation outside of test execution to newer areas.

Part of the company’s rationale in increasing the level of automation is based on statistics showing testing teams suffer testing cycle delays regularly, representing 31% to 69% of their testing time. Testing delay result from a variety of causes, including lack of availability of other applications, lack of testing environments/imperfections (improper set up, lack of stability, lack of test data).

TMTS has elaborated on recent offerings based on CA LISA Application Release Automation (ARA) and Service Virtualization (SV) products.

Service Virtualization

TMTS focused initially on service virtualization with the intent, of simulating applications that are not yet available (not developed yet or being updated) or whose usage is constrained (e.g. for applications whose license pricing is based on volume of usage).

Tech Mahindra uses SV for unit testing or systems integration purpose as well as for performance testing (also based on using CA Capacity Manager for providing enough virtual users).

Tech Mahindra Testing Services has packaged several offerings around CA LISA SV: professional services only; and professional services and managed services including hosting.

The company is a VAR of CA Technologies and offers the license under three purchasing models:

  • A perpetual license, whether purchased from Tech Mahindra or from CA Technologies
  • Leased (rental model), where the perpetual license cost is sold under a subscription model
  • Platform as a service: where hosting (and related IT infrastructure management services) is done by Tech Mahindra in a cloud datacenter. Pricing is on a subscription model.

Specifically for a platform as a service (SVaaS offering), Tech Mahindra is offering two options:

  • Functional (up to 15k transactions): gold (10 virtual services i.e. APIs) or platinum (20)
  • Performance (with no transaction limit): gold (20) and platinum (40).

The pay per use model of SVaaS allows the organizations to request for additional services.

The SVaaS offering includes professional services for one year, usage from 5 PCs, 1 license and 1 cloud instance.

Tech Mahindra markets its “Try & Buy” offering, which is based on

  • Due diligence and setup: this includes use cases, implementation plan, a cloud instance and connectivity, and configuration (1 week)
  • Design, develop and deploy: development of assets  and of service environment, a testing environment, and handover and support (3 weeks)
  • Deliver and assess: development of virtual service environment to end user, a business value assessment for ROI and a commercial offering (3 weeks).

Along with its service virtualization PaaS offering, Tech Mahindra is also providing as test data management services and test environment provisioning and management.

Currently, Tech Mahindra has ~15 SV-related engagements. Out of those 15, 3 clients have decided to set up a service virtualization competency center internally. Most of the engagements have been based on on-premise implementation, rather than centrally hosted by Tech Mahindra.

Tech Mahindra also provides professional services around competing service virtualization products including those of IBM/Green Hat and HP.

Application Release Automation

The testing unit of Tech Mahindra has expanded its partnership to include the former Noliosoft on application release automation. Application release automation refers to packaging releases of new applications, dependency mapping, deployment, promotion and compliance. Specifically, CA LISA ARA is a workflow engine that automates the several steps involved in the packaging-to-compliance phases.

Tech Mahindra markets its ARA offering based on the same principles as for SV.

TMTS currently has 6 engagements around this offering.

Agile Development/Continuous Integration

Tech Mahindra and CA have positioned SV and ARA as a way of automating the full cycle from development to testing and distribution, in the context of Agile development and testing. The rationale is that under Agile methods, applications are released on a short period e.g. several per day to one every 15 days basis from development to production.

Both companies are taking the offering one step further and intending to expand automation, still in the context of agile methods, from development, testing, and deployment. The intent with this is to break the traditional development, testing and production so-called silos, speed up the process, and move to a more iterative approach to feature development.

Services provided by Tech Mahindra include

  • Application development services
  • Professional services around CA LISA Service Virtualization-based virtual images for simulating missing applications, features or APIs
  • Automation scripts (when relevant)
  • Scripting services based on CA LISA Application release management
  • Professional services around change management software configuration management databases.

To back up this offering, Tech Mahindra Testing Services has developed a CoE around CA Technology products, with a team of ~10 personnel involved in CA Technologies-related accelerators, best practices and methodologies. The center is a virtual center with presence in Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai.  In addition, Tech Mahindra has 35 personnel working in client engagements. Half of this 35 headcount works on service virtualization and the other half on ARA. TMTS intends to growth this number to ~100.

Roadmap

Tech Mahindra is expanding its model-based testing offering to integrate with service integration and application release management. The company is integrating its Conformiq model-based testing with both products. The move intends to expand the automation to modeling of business processes, generation of test scenarios and then test execution automation. The benefits of using Conformiq technologies is to generate scripts in 17 test formats including formats compatible with HP QTP, Selenium or Microsoft Excel.

Tech Mahindra emphasizes that the process is not yet fully automated and still requires, at this point, some manual intervention.

Along with this extension to model-based testing, TMTS is using CA LISA Pathfinder, a tool for monitoring transactions in production. The tool provides an understanding of application usage patterns in production environments. It therefore helps identifying what applications are used and helps redirect testing priorities to the right applications/business processes.

Finally, Tech Mahindra is working with Microfocus to expand service virtualization to mainframe-based applications. The offering helps using mainframe-based applications without impacting the licensing pricing mechanism that is often used by mainframe vendors around their hardware and software.

Analyst Comment

Tech Mahindra has emerged in the last three years as one of the testing vendors with the most comprehensive offerings. The company is expanding the usage of standalone technologies in a true attempt to automate in a comprehensive manger development to production steps, away from test execution purely to business process modeling to production.

The offering is still in its early days, though Tech Mahindra reports adoption amongst client base has been extremely good. Many steps in testing and in production deployment are difficult to automate, let alone application development. However, it is one of the first service offerings that are attempting it.

Tech Mahindra is not relying on COTS from ISVs such as CA Technologies but is creating its own IP to complement such technologies. 

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