StackSafe Releases Testing Maturity Report for IT Operations

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Study identifies testing of software infrastructure changes before implementation as a key to limiting downtime and other problems.

Changes, whether certified for production or not, cost a significant amount of time and money

A recent study conducted by StackSafe, a developer of IT operations staging and testing solutions, and Research Edge, Inc., an independent, third-party research firm, has shown the deepening links between IT testing maturity and the effectiveness of changes to multi-tier business applications. Over 400 IT operations professionals participated in the study, with over 40 percent citing inadequate pre-production testing as the prime reason for problems with implementing changes to the software infrastructure stack.

One problem caused by insufficient testing is the need to "rollback" or reverse changes made without first conducting proper tests. According to the IT operations professionals surveyed, nearly 25 percent of all IT changes made are delayed in some form or another, with more than 10 percent of these changes being canceled completely due to irresolvable issues.

"Changes, whether certified for production or not, cost a significant amount of time and money," said Dennis Powell, Sr. Product Manager for StackSafe. "IT departments are challenged daily by users to keep up with business and market requirements, and the resulting need to repeal or correct changes due to interoperability or user issues is exceptionally expensive. This study shows that investing in IT Operations testing of changes across the software infrastructure stack prior to release can significantly improve the availability of critical business applications."

Another trend revealed by the study is that changes are often completely untested or only tested partially. Over 50 percent of IT changes are not tested comprehensively against the entire software stack, meaning that serious problems can still occur upon deployment. Even more disconcerting is the fact that 27 percent of total changes are not tested at all, leading to a greater risk of downtime and service outages once deployed.

The study looked at organizational testing environments as well, with the results varying widely from one organization to another. One-third of IT departments lack even rudimentary testing environments, giving them the greatest risk of change-driven service outages.

Additional trends revealed by the study were:

  •     While most IT departments conduct tests, 30 percent leverage servers or backup data centers instead of an infrastructure specifically designed for staging and testing.
  •     Organizations with higher levels of IT Operations testing maturity experience significant benefits compared to less mature organizations with similar levels of change volumes, including:

o    Twice as likely to view change management as a smooth process
o    30 percent fewer downtime incidents
o    33 percent greater likelihood to resolve production problems

  •     Organizations with the lowest level of testing maturity report require almost 21 hours per test, compared to more mature organizations requiring only three hours per test.
  •     Financial Services companies are most likely to show testing maturity compared to other verticals

To view the full results of the study please visit http://www.stacksafe.com/research

StackSafe's flagship IT operations focused staging and testing solution, StackSafe Test Center, will be launched at DEMO 2008 in Palm Desert, California, from January 28 - 30.

About StackSafe, Inc.
StackSafe provides software infrastructure testing solutions that enable IT Operations to significantly improve uptime and resiliency. StackSafe's flagship product, StackSafeā„¢ Test Center, directly addresses the challenge of incomplete and ineffective IT Operations staging and testing of changes to multi-tiered software infrastructure stacks. With Test Center, StackSafe provides the first easy-to-use virtualized staging and testing solution that enables IT Operations to understand the business impact of changes--before they touch production systems. Based in Vienna, Virginia, StackSafe serves IT Operations teams across multiple vertical markets. For more information, visit http://www.stacksafe.com

NOTE TO EDITORS: If you would like additional information on StackSafe and its products, please visit the StackSafe Press Room at http://www.stacksafe.com/index.php/press-room.

The trademark "StackSafe" and the StackSafe logo are the property of StackSafe, Inc. and may not be reproduced without written consent of StackSafe, Inc. All other trademarks belong to their respective owners.

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