Borland Software and VMware are partnering to develop application testing for virtualisation.

Both companies are introducing product upgrades that can function with each other. Borland is announcing its SilkCentral Test Manager 2007 software testing package while VMware is offering VMware Lab Manager 2.5, which is an image library management and provisioning system for virtual machine images.

SilkCentral Test Manager 2007 features UI-level integration with Lab Manager 2.5. With the integration of the two products, applications can be tested across multiple configurations, Borland said. Users can assign individual tests to run on many different configurations or platforms without having to maintain multiple hardware configurations that otherwise would be needed for testing.

"We've integrated with Lab Manager so that when a quality engineer using SilkCentral Test Manager as their test management interface wants to deploy a test on multiple configurations, they can do so with their virtualised environment by leveraging Lab Manager integration," said Brad Johnson, Borland director of product marketing for lifecycle quality management products. "They don't have to leave the SilkCentral Test Manager interface.

"What Lab Manager does is it sets up the environment for the test automatically and SilkCentral can perform the tests," said James Phillips, senior director of software lifecycle automation at VMware.

Johnson pointed out the necessity of testing applications based on each platform. "When QA organisations test applications, they have to test multiple configurations," Johnson said. It is expensive to maintain separate hardware stacks for configuration testing, he said.

With the Borland-VMware combination, tests can be provisioned in minutes rather than days, according to Borland. "You can run tests on different virtualised configurations just as if they were physical configurations," Johnson said.

The value of virtualisation, he said, is users can have different environments deployed on one virtualised server.

"We're embracing the fact that virtualisation is quite ubiquitous in IT shops today," Johnson said.

Virtual test lab management presents an "incredible opportunity for developers and testers alike," said Carey Schwaber, senior analyst at Forrester Research.

"Testers understand that they have a problem, and they often spend upwards of a third of their time trying to manage test environments," Schwaber said. "Dabbling with virtual machines here and there doesn't get you nearly the savings that you can accrue with a virtual test lab management solution. The opportunity for developers is different. Most of them don't even know that they could be building in a production-like environment."

Lab Manager 2.5, which ships on Monday, starts in price at US$15,000. Pricing for a bundle of Lab Manager 2.5 and VMware Infrastructure 3 starts at $35,000. Infrastructure 3 is VMware's core technology for slicing up a server into virtual machines.