Akimbi Rides the Virtualization Wave to Improve Testing
Published: March 15, 2006
by Alex Woodie
Akimbi Systems, a developer of software that takes advantage of virtualization to help quality assurance (QA) teams manage hundreds or thousands of test cases, unveiled a new reseller channel program this week that will give its software much more visibility. By partnering with some of the biggest resellers of virtualization software, Akimbi's product, called Slingshot, will be included in the deal when people buy VMWare or Microsoft virtualization software from those resellers.
Slingshot is a Windows Server 2003-based product that uses virtualization software to reduce the time and complexity involved in setting up QA tests for applications that run on Windows, Unix, Linux, NetWare, FreeBSD, and MS-DOS platforms. Instead of keeping a room full of physical servers configured with the entire spectrum of old and new operating systems, databases, middleware, and other programs--or requiring testers to manually provision these setups each time they're needed--Slingshot enables users to store the various configurations and possible permutations in virtual iron, using either VMWare or Microsoft's Virtual Server (the open-source Xen virtualization software is not supported--yet.) Testers can then pull up the required configuration as needed from a Web interface, resulting in faster and more accurate QA testing, and quicker time-to-market with the final product.
Akimbi CEO James Phillips says business has been good since his Northern California startup delivered Slingshot last fall (see "Akimbi Leverages Virtualization for QA Testing"). Akimbi has attracted a couple of dozen customers for Slingshot, including big names like Symantec, Intel, Juniper, RSA Security, Experia, and Coldwater Creek.
Akimbi's customers are using Slingshot to test a spectrum of mission critical applications, from equities trading systems to e-commerce Web sites, Phillips says. "It's been a really good six months," he says. "We've been doing pretty well out there."
Now that the first set of reference customers are under Akimbi's belt, Phillips is entering the next stage of his business plan: ramping up the reseller channel. While the direct approach has worked so far, "I think we're going to make a heck of a lot bigger killing from the channel," he says. "The intent has always been to be 100 percent channel-based."
On Monday, Akimbi announced the signing of 14 consulting groups and systems integrators that are active in the virtualization space to its reseller channel. These companies include AccessFlow, Adeara, Agile360, Brigh Technologies, Collective Tech, Entisys, Foedus, IPM, ITPartners, LogicsOne, New Age Technologies, Programmer's Paradise, RapidApp, and VMPowered. There is room for one more partner in the channel, as Akimbi wants to limit it to 15.
Several studies have shown virtualization to be one of the hottest business technologies in the industry entering 2006. Coupled with server consolidation, server virtualization has the capacity to directly impact the efficiency of IT organizations struggling with the management of X86 technology. Phillips says the plan is to piggyback on this new form of technology with Slingshot, while providing companies with an innovative solution to an ongoing problem. "We're drafting substantially off the rapid adoption of virtualization technology in the enterprise," Phillips says.
Akimbi's new partners are eager to begin offering Slingshot to their customers. "Akimbi's value proposition is focused, clear, and compelling and I easily saw the benefits it would bring to my client base," says Jeff Brooks, director of the virtual infrastructure practice at Sugar Hill, Georgia-based LogicsOne.
Rod Lucero, CTO of Circle Pines, Minnesota-based VMPowered says "virtual machine technology used in application development and testing will bring immediate improvement in time to market, costs, and quality for our customers."