July 26, 2011

Development and testing in an SAP/Oracle environment typically means the creation of a large amount of static, duplicate data and running the testing in a duplicate environment to the production system, if not on the production system. Just like the good old days when I worked on mainframe operating systems, the million dollar platform (back in the 70’s when a million was big money) would be turned over to us in the early evening and we would perform brain surgery all night until the day shift turned up to begin reverting back to the production system. Like other nocturnal creatures, we would crawl off to our dens to sleep all day and return to our surgery when the sun went down. This problem is further complicated in modern environments where production resources must be shared with trouble shooting, QA, training, pilots, acceptance testing and operational reporting, not to mention data protection.

Today’s best practices imply the use of virtual machines to perform the development and testing, but a big problem remains. The databases do not interact in a virtual environment. This is where Delphix comes in. We caught up with Delphix CEO Jedidiah Yueh (the wunderkind of Avamar, acquired by EMC) who explained the approach that can cut development project schedules in half and typically yield cost savings of ten times over traditional methods. Delphix has developed a virtualization layer that uses the Oracle APIs to access the database. Up to ten databases can be accessed via a Delphix server and up to 20 virtual databases can be run on a Delphix server. The server then offers up the database to a virtual machine test environment and continually or periodically synchronizes with the production data as it changes.

Other advantages of Delphix’s platform include rapid provisioning, and increased data security because the location of the production data is always known. Many data breaches occur from copies of data spread around development and QA systems.

Data as a Service (DaaS) is the term coined by Delphix for this functionality. While focused on the development and maintenance environment currently, one could envision the use of DaaS as a bridge between legacy environments and future elastic computing capabilities.

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