After more than two years of testing, implementing and validating their enterprise-class cloud computing solution, German car engineering company BMW's private cloud solution will go live in November 2013. Computer Weekly said the team started looking at the cloud in 2011 as a way to become more available and resilient, with BMW's vice-president of IT infrastructure Mario Mueller adding that they wanted zero downtime for their infrastructure. While the IT department was reaching 99.96 availability as of 2012, that number was not good enough for the team.
"We have to do a lot of maintenance work and patches, which means there is a lot more planned downtime in the current infrastructure," said Mueller, adding that the company will be building and designing its own cloud infrastructure. "When we planned our private cloud strategy, we were not able to find any solutions in the market that fulfilled all our requirements."
The main reason BMW wanted to start building its own enterprise cloud was that the company didn't want to be locked into any single vendor and wanted to be able to move data back and forth as it pleased. Currently the manufacturer's IT infrastructure can support 1,000 web applications, 4,700 application server instances and 8,400 web server instances. There are also thousands of smartphones, mobile devices and laptops supported, making it essential that the move toward the cloud goes exactly as it should.
Now, after years of testing Mueller told Computer Weekly that they are ready to start familiarizing themselves with the cloud before using it for production, as they want to get any kinks that remain out before that happens. This is all running into what he said will be a long-term vision for how the cloud works within the company.
"It will be a slow process and will be another three years before we have a majority of our IT running on the cloud," Mueller said. "Using the cloud for as many applications as possible will yield us real returns."
Cloud can open up new opportunities for testing
InfoTech said there is a challenge for companies to help their cloud grow and provide a new framework for not only testing the cloud itself, but the applications that run on it. Expectations of continuity among employees and customers are there, so organizations must make sure they are doing everything correctly.
"Cloud technology does not change the traditional testing processes that many organizations have accepted and adopted," the website said. "It does, however, enhance traditional practices with increased replication capacity, execution speed, and compatibility through its virtual infrastructure and automated processes. Consider these factors when developing the cloud testing strategy."
Other testing factors that should be considered include:
- Involving the business in the development and adoption of the cloud
- Having testing solutions during the implementation process of the cloud to be sure business objectives are realized
- Realizing that there are limitations of testing the enterprise cloud, but there are also strengths the organization can play to
- Standardizing testing to be sure it is done regularly and efficiently