CA Service Virtualization Review
We evaluated HP and CA but found HP to be behind in it's capability compared to CA Service Virtualization..


Valuable Features:

The ability to virtualize test environments. This allows us to test on an environment without having to wait for time windows, thus eliminating a bottleneck in a traditional shared test system.

Improvements to My Organization:

It eliminates bottlenecks in the test system sharing.

Room for Improvement:

It is complex technology which takes a high end skillset to set up. You are very dependent on consultants from CA or a small subset of CA partners to implement CA Service Virtualization in the beginning. The training offered by CA is also not up to par. It is not realistic to expect that you can purchase CA Service Virtualization, send a couple of folks to CA training, and get yourself up an running with CA Service Virtualization environments without outside help.

Use of Solution:

I've been using CA Service Virtualization for more than three years

Deployment Issues:

Yes, we had to thoroughly train and vet the engineers that we hired as CA Service Virtualization consultants. We were partners with ITKO, the original developer of CA Service Virtualization, prior to CA acquiring them. The ITKO development team worked closely with us for more than 6 months to get the team ready. Finding the right skillset was key, plus investing the time to train them properly. In the end we built a lab and the successful engineers gained experience through practice.

Stability Issues:

No, the product is very reliable.

Scalability Issues:

No, the product allows for great scalability.

Customer Service:

I would rate customer service from CA to be very low AFTER you have purchased the software. They are great before you buy, and disappear afterwards. However, I will caveat this by saying the CA Tech support for Service Virtualization is very good. Just don't expect any warm and fuzzy customer service.

Previous Solutions:

We had a fairly mature testing consulting practice for more than ten years based on Mercury's platform (Quality Center, now owned by HP). We still use Quality Center extensively and have added CA Service Virtualization to our 'tool bag'. We did not purchase CA Service Virtualization as a replacement for any product we were using. We viewed CA Service Virtualization as a game changer, giving us the ability to add test environment virtualization in order to reduce test cycles for our clients.

Initial Setup:

It was very complex initially, once you have one or two people on board that gain experience setting up environments, you will eventually be self sufficient. Expect to use outside professional services for the initial implementation though. Don't let the vendor's sales people convince you to buy just the software, some training and "starter pack" services. The services and training will not be enough. A more realistic approach is to rent qualified engineers for the first project or two where you are going to leverage CA Service Virtualization. Send your own staff to training and have them work alongside the consultants for these initial projects. after a project or two, your team will become self sufficient.

Implementation Team:

Initially we learned through the vendor, which took 6 months and was expensive. The ITKO team was very good. However, many of them left CA after the acquisition. There are a couple of partners in the CA channel who are also very good.

ROI:

It is hard to put a dollar figure on it. If you have multiple large development efforts and are sharing common test environments, CA Service Virtualization is a huge benefit because you don't have to schedule your testing based on when the test system is available. However, if you are a smaller shop with one development team who works serially, CA Service Virtualization is overkill.

Cost and Licensing Advice:

This varies greatly across several clients. CA will offer a fairly good discount because they are motivated to sell right now. The consulting rates can be high, because the population of skilled, available CA Service Virtualization engineers is very small.

Other Solutions Considered:

HP has it's own approach to test virtualization which we evaluated at the same time we evaluated CA Service Virtualization, but we found it to be behind in it's capability compared to CA Service Virtualization.

Other Advice:

Work closely with a CA partner in their Service Virtualization channel to get your in house resources ramped up on CA Service Virtualization. Expect this to take time and require investment in professional services, training and mentoring.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.

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