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CI, Testing, and Build Management in the Cloud

07.02.2010
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Cloud-based development tools - we're seeing more and more of them.  MuleSoft recently released a cloud-ready offering of Tomcat, JetBrains and Electric Cloud are now providing distributed build management running on the cloud, and Sauce Labs is enabling parallel, multi-browser testing on a cloud service.  With several development utilities "going cloud," it's essential to keep track of the organizations at the cutting edge of the cloud-leveraging development movement.

Here is a list of tools in the development stack that leverage the cloud:

Containers

Cloudcat - A new tool from MuleSoft, Cloudcat is the industry's first cloud service offering of Apache Tomcat.  It is a virtual image of Tomcat that makes it easier for QA and developers to build and test Java web applications in the cloud.  Cloudcat contains the latest version of Tomcat along with MySQL running on a Linux distro.  The lead architect at MuleSoft and co-author of "Tomcat: The Definitive Guide," Jason Brittain, said that "until now there has been no easy way to use Tomcat in the cloud without doing a lot of manual work related to installation and configuration."  It will be interesting to see if other organizations try to offer a 'cloud-built' version of Tomcat or some other application server technology.

Testing

Sauce OnDemand - Sauce Labs employs the creator of the popular Selenium testing framework.  The open source startup provides Sauce IDE and Sauce RC as commercially backed alternatives to Selenium along with a cloud-based, cross-browser testing service.  This industrial strength offering, called Sauce OnDemand, allows developers to remotely test their web applications through concurrent, cloud-based testing.  Sauce OnDemand will test virtually every major browser version in use today, and it uses a cloud pricing model where you pay for what you use.

Continuous Integration and Build Management/Automation

TeamCity 5 - TeamCity 5 is the most recent version of JetBrains' Continuous Integration and Build Management software.  The current version brings these two parts of the application lifecycle into a cloud infrastructure, namely Amazon EC2.  By running a TeamCity CI server in the cloud, a large infrastructure with many projects can handle sudden peaks in task loads during release time.  TeamCity 5 uses virtual build agents that dynamically start up on EC2, adding more as they are needed by the build queue.  These instances also shut down when they are idle to minimize EC2 instances' uptime.

ElectricCommander - ElectricCloud's build automation and managment tools are able to harness on-premises or external (EC2) clouds.  ElectricCommander provides step-level parallelization, which increases build speed 5-10x when using cloud infrastructure.  Step-level parallelization means that it breaks down builds into smaller components that run in parallel, reducing time-to-build.  Much like TeamCity, ElectricCommander can provision resources from the cloud to meet peak testing loads.

What other cloud-built tools have you found for the development stack?  Are there other organizations that have CI, Build Management, Containers, Testing, Version Control, or SCM in the cloud?

Comments

Sandeep Tamhankar replied on Fri, 2011/10/14 - 8:06am

FYI, I just released an unofficial Python module for interacting with the ElectricCommander server as an alternative to our existing Perl API. Check out my blog entry for details.

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