Hewlett-Packard expands service virtualization palette

HP Service Virtualization 2.3 can now mimic JDBC databases and legacy TCP/IP applications

Hewlett-Packard has updated its service virtualization software, giving developers a broader palette upon which to test their programs.

HP Service Virtualization 2.3 can now mimic the behavior of JDBC (Java Database Connectivity) database calls, as well as simulate in-house applications running over TCP/IP, said Roi Carmel, who is an HP senior director of product management for the company's application life cycle management software.

An emerging technique in software engineering, service virtualization simulates the operations of external components that a software program being developed relies upon, such as a database or a connecting program, so developers can fully test how their code would operate in a production environment.

In addition to HP, other companies such as IBM, CA Technologies and Parasoft provide service virtualization software. By simulating how third-party applications would operate in a real-world environment, service virtualization software eliminates the need for applications to connect to external sources, which can be expensive or even not possible in a cloistered test environment. Such stubs, as the simulations are called, provide sample data and even approximate the latencies of the original applications.

The need for service virtualization tools arose out of the increasingly interconnected nature of today's programs, Carmel said. Today's multi-tier programs often rely on external components to complete a job, especially those built on SOA (service-oriented architecture). "New technologies are allowing developers to integrate different applications into one single coherent business process, or [develop] a single application with reusable components," Carmel said.

HP Service Virtualization has offered a wide range of connections it can simulate, including those based on XML, on mainframe services, and on those that require REST (Representational State Transfer) or LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol).

Version 2.3 of the software offers a broader menu of simulations. The JDBC connectivity will allow the software to mimic enterprise Java database calls. Prior versions of the software could not interact with JDBC databases, unless the user created a separate JDBC Web service that the HP Service Virtualization could then model.

The software can now also mimic any in-house programs that run over TCP/IP. "We've created a framework that allows our customers to create an extensible protocol for virtualization, [which] they can construct according to how they built their applications," Carmel said.

The new version also broadens the support for applications built using IBM WebSphere MQ (message queue) messaging middleware. Version 2.0 of HP Service Virtualization, released earlier this year, first supported MQ, though this version expands how MQ could be modeled, based on subsequent user demands.

HP Service Virtualization 2.3 can be used in conjunction with the HP Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) software, or as a stand-alone application. HP does not publicly reveal the price of this software.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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