Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

How Much should a Cloud-based Test Environment Cost?

How much should you be spending on your test environments? How much is too much? How much should test environment cost? In this post, we outline a simplified model of a generic application running in the cloud. Using Amazon Web Services (AWS) on-demand prices we calculate some price points and explore the cost of QA relative to production.

It is impossible to come up with a number that will make sense to all readers. IT budgets vary widely and depending on the scale of an organization one CIO’s budget-killing production system may have the price tag of a larger company’s smaller testing environment. The goal of this post is to illustrate the relative costs and make a comparison between what it costs to run production and what it costs to run test environments.

In this post we’re going to ignore the costs associated with environment management staff and software licensing. Our focus is on the cost of infrastructure for a generic application. Assume you are running a banking application using open source software running on Linux backed by a commercial database.

The Cost of Production

We assume cluster sizes for a production application that needs to support 2500 simultaneous transactions on a platform that can handle 50 transactions per second per VM. This translates to a 50 machine cluster of application servers distributed across two data centers in production. You have an active database in one datacenter and a standby database in another. Your average monthly cost for 50 application servers based on AWS pricing for an m4.2xlarge @ $0.479/hour is $17,800 / month.

The production system depends on two clustered database pairs each with 61 GBs of memory and 8 vcpus. Since each data center has a cluster of two we will use the AWS pricing for four db.r3.2xlarge RDS instances in a Multi-AZ deployment @ $3.640/hour – four of these would cost $11,600/month including the Oracle licensing fee.

Assuming cloud prices for infrastructure and ignoring additional charges for bandwidth and other components such as load balancers, web servers, bandwidth usage, and storage. This production application would cost $352,800 to run every year.

The Cost of a Test Environment

In QA and Staging, you can scale down both cluster sizes and VM footprint. Instead of 50 application servers, you need 4 smaller machines (a m4.large @ $0.12/hr) to test clustering within a data center as well as across two data centers. You’ll also be able to run a much cheaper database (a db.m4.xlarge @ $1.645/hr) and you may only need one instance.

The monthly cost of running a test environment’s application servers is $350/month, and the cost of running a QA database is $340/month. Assuming that each of your QA environments is a simple copy of this pattern each QA environment would cost $8,300 to run for a year.

In this scenario your QA environment’s annual cost weighs in at 2.4% the annual cost of your production system.

QA Cost as a Percentage of Production

Is this reasonable? Yes, in fact, it may be a bit on the low end given some of our simplifying assumptions. If you ever need to test clustered database configuration in staging or QA then you may want to increase the size of your databases, and if you really want a pre-prod environment that matches production you should use the same level of hardware available in production. For an application of this magnitude spending between 2 and 5% of the cost of production on a QA environment is a reasonable expectation. Note: that this is a price per test environment, so if you needed three QA environments you could easily spend between 6-15% the cost of production.

This metric and the assumptions made in this post are relevant to a system that has to reach a certain level of production scale. If your application operates at a smaller scale than 2500 user interactions per second then the cost of QA as a percentage of production may be much higher. If your production application operates at a larger scale then there’s a good chance your QA environments may weigh in at 1 or 0.5% the cost of production. The size of your production cluster is highly variable and depends on the number of customers you are serving with an application, but a system running 50 application servers backed by a hefty, mission-critical database represents the kind of system that can scale to meet the demands of a medium-sized software-as-a-service company.

Use Plutora to Track Test Environment Cost

Whatever your cost for test environments these are just the kind of metrics you need to start keeping track of as you plan and justify the expense of test environment management. Using Plutora you can keep track of test environment allocation and you can track the work effort required to setup and teardown test environments. With Plutora your test environment management team can help the business understand both the cost and the value of test environments to ensure that you’ll always be ready to answer the question: “Are we sending too little or too much on our test environments?”

The post How Much should a Cloud-based Test Environment Cost? appeared first on Plutora.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Plutora Blog

Plutora provides Enterprise Release and Test Environment Management SaaS solutions aligning process, technology, and information to solve release orchestration challenges for the enterprise.

Plutora’s SaaS solution enables organizations to model release management and test environment management activities as a bridge between agile project teams and an enterprise’s ITSM initiatives. Using Plutora, you can orchestrate parallel releases from several independent DevOps groups all while giving your executives as well as change management specialists insight into overall risk.

Supporting the largest releases for the largest organizations throughout North America, EMEA, and Asia Pacific, Plutora provides proof that large companies can adopt DevOps while managing the risks that come with wider adoption of self-service and agile software development in the enterprise. Aligning process, technology, and information to solve increasingly complex release orchestration challenges, this Gartner “Cool Vendor in IT DevOps” upgrades the enterprise release management from spreadsheets, meetings, and email to an integrated dashboard giving release managers insight and control over large software releases.

Latest Stories
WebRTC is about the data channel as much as about video and audio conferencing. However, basically all commercial WebRTC applications have been built with a focus on audio and video. The handling of “data” has been limited to text chat and file download – all other data sharing seems to end with screensharing. What is holding back a more intensive use of peer-to-peer data? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Applications Team Lead at National ICT Australia, looked at differ...
Without a clear strategy for cost control and an architecture designed with cloud services in mind, costs and operational performance can quickly get out of control. To avoid multiple architectural redesigns requires extensive thought and planning. Boundary (now part of BMC) launched a new public-facing multi-tenant high resolution monitoring service on Amazon AWS two years ago, facing challenges and learning best practices in the early days of the new service. In his session at 19th Cloud Exp...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
"Plutora provides release and testing environment capabilities to the enterprise," explained Dalibor Siroky, Director and Co-founder of Plutora, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Security, data privacy, reliability and regulatory compliance are critical factors when evaluating whether to move business applications from in-house client hosted environments to a cloud platform. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Vandana Viswanathan, Associate Director at Cognizant, In this session, will provide an orientation to the five stages required to implement a cloud hosted solution validation strategy.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place in November in Silicon Valley, California.
The security needs of IoT environments require a strong, proven approach to maintain security, trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
Wooed by the promise of faster innovation, lower TCO, and greater agility, businesses of every shape and size have embraced the cloud at every layer of the IT stack – from apps to file sharing to infrastructure. The typical organization currently uses more than a dozen sanctioned cloud apps and will shift more than half of all workloads to the cloud by 2018. Such cloud investments have delivered measurable benefits. But they’ve also resulted in some unintended side-effects: complexity and risk. ...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smart...
When you focus on a journey from up-close, you look at your own technical and cultural history and how you changed it for the benefit of the customer. This was our starting point: too many integration issues, 13 SWP days and very long cycles. It was evident that in this fast-paced industry we could no longer afford this reality. We needed something that would take us beyond reducing the development lifecycles, CI and Agile methodologies. We made a fundamental difference, even changed our culture...
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, discussed the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports.
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).