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Akimbi Slingshot

Akimbi Slingshot is the industry's fastest, most comprehensive Virtual Lab Automation System - a new class of software development and test infrastructure that automates the rapid setup and teardown of even the most complex multi-machine software configurations, shaving man-months off of software development projects.


Building on virtual machine technology from Microsoft or VMware, Akimbi Slingshot enables software developers and QA engineers to suspend, then capture to a shared storage library, the complete state of a "complex configuration" - that is, a collection of running, interdependent computer systems that span multiple machines. Over time, an organization builds up its library, including test scenarios, production environments, and customer configurations.

Test Lab Automation

1. Using the VLA browser-based interface, a user chooses a configuration in the library to "check-out'.  2. The VLA Server selects the best host servers in the pool, deploys each machine image to these hosts, and starts the machines.  3. The user can now interact with all machines via the fully-interactive VLA remote console, or by using any tool which enables remote machine interaction (web browser, FTP client, VNC client, etc.)

When a configuration in the library is later needed for development or test purposes, for example to test a new software build in the context of a customer production environment, Akimbi Slingshot can instantly deploy the entire configuration to the best available resources in a pool of managed servers - exactly as it was captured, running and ready for use.

Akimbi Slingshot-managed capture-and-restore operations literally take seconds. What would normally be a painstaking, multi-hour exercise (gathering machines, installing operating systems, installing and configuring applications, establishing inter-machine connections) can now be done with a single click of the mouse.

Key Benefits

The benefits of Akimbi Slingshot extend to your company's bottom line. With Akimbi Slingshot, some of the world's most effective software development organizations are able to:

  • reduce development and test equipment costs
  • slash software development and test cycle times
  • dramatically increase the quality of delivered software systems
  • take the weekend off

Key Capabilities

Akimbi Slingshot allows you to optimize resources and shave man-months off your software development projects through these powerful capabilities:

  • Pool and share server, networking, storage and other resources between development and test teams and individuals
  • Automatically and rapidly set up and tear down complex development and test configurations
  • Maintain a complete library of multi-machine customer and production system environments - and instantly recreate them as needed
  • Capture a multi-system configuration exhibiting a bug or unexpected behavior during test, ensuring reproducibility at debug time. Akimbi LiveLink™ allows instant sharing of the running error state.
  • Provide every developer or test engineer the equivalent of their own fully-equipped data center with dedicated provisioning staff
  • Efficiently move and share multi-machine configurations across software development and test teams and facilities

Multi-Machine Configurations

  • Create multi-machine configurations in seconds using machine templates - no limit on machine count, no manual adjustments
  • Mix and match virtual machine technologies even within a single configuration
  • Workspace - View configurations in use with thumbnail console views, public-private scoping and list filtering
  • Act on machines in a configuration as a unit: suspend, multi-snapshot, revert to, shutdown, turn on, turn off, suspend, reset, deploy, undeploy, clone, capture to library, and modify properties
  • Private and public sharing of templates between users
  • LiveLink™ capability - URL-based sharing of captured live configurations - "send me a LiveLink"
  • Interact with all configuration consoles side-by-side on a single
    browser page
  • Setup machines in a configuration to boot in controlled sequence

Configuration Library

  • Up to five storage servers per Akimbi Slingshot server - virtually unlimited library growth
  • Application-specific storage compression strategies maximize library entries per storage server
  • Public and private library configurations
  • Scoped and filtered views of library
  • Simultaneous use of library configurations by multiple users, with active conflict avoidance through Akimbi Fenced Deployment technology
  • Near-instantaneous check out of configurations

Media Library

  • Central repository for all development and test media
  • Tag media with descriptive attributes
  • Upload media directly from the browser or directly to the file share
  • Easily make media available to Akimbi-managed virtual machines

Deployment

  • Browser- or Web service-initiated deployment
  • Copy from or execute from storage library
  • Deploy configuration as a unit or individual machines one-by-one
  • Side-by side execution of cloned configurations spanning physical server boundaries, even when IP addresses duplicated on a subnet
  • Selectable provisioning heuristic - rapid start, maximized performance
  • Predictive caching and "elevator algorithms" tuned through learned systems usage patterns - ensures rapid iteration through test configurations

Machine Templates

  • Bundled machine templates pre-installed with popular operating systems
  • Wizard-driven creation of machine templates
  • New template creation via cloning and modification of existing templates
  • Import pre-existing VM images for use as templates
  • Template personalization on first use - automated assignment of MAC and IP addresses, and SID (for Windows systems)
  • Automated installation of VM mouse and keyboard enhancements
  • Maintain private and shared templates
  • Filtering and searching of template list
  • Optional Physical-to-Virtual (P2V) capability for storage and management of existing machines

Resource Management

  • Automated tracking, issuance and management of IP addresses and other network settings
  • Effortlessly add or delete IP addresses from the managed pool
  • Storage server management: add, delete, refresh, modify properties
  • Server management: add, delete, refresh, remote agent upgrade, remove from service, modify properties

Monitoring

  • Extremely easy-to-use browser-based interface - use and monitor operations even from multiple facilities with ease
  • Unified "in motion" view of server pool and VM operations
  • Drill-down on server, configuration and machine details
  • All deployed machines view
  • Comprehensive logging and support diagnostics

Web Services Interface (Automation API)

  • Full programmatic control of capture-and-restore operations
  • Multi-location deployment coordination
  • Standards-based interface (SOAP, WSDL, HTTP)
  • Sample .NET and Java code illustrating use of APIs

Out-of-the-Box Integration with Leading Test Automation Tools

  • Segue SilkTest
  • Segue SilkCentral Test Manager
  • Rational Functional Tester
  • Rational Robot
  • Mercury TestDirector
  • Mercury QuickTest Pro
  • Mercury WinRunner

Administration and Security

  • User, permission and quota management
  • Out-of-the-box support for LDAP
  • Administrator role assignment to multiple users
  • User self-managed preferences
  • Guaranteed and seamless upgrade path between editions and releases
  • On-screen help and comprehensive documentation

Support

  • SupportLink™ connection accelerates support request resolution
  • Direct link to Akimbi Support via user interface
  • Menu of available support packages includes 24x7x52 coverage with response and resolution guarantees

Installation

  • Standard Windows setup.exe installer for all components
  • 15 minutes from installation to first deployment
  • Automated addition of managed servers to deployment pool
  • No special hardware required (e.g. SCSI, RAID, multiple CPUs)

Supported VMM Technologies

  • Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 Standard and Enterprise Editions
  • Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 Standard and Enterprise Edition
  • VMware GSX Server 3.2
  • Bundled Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 option

 


Akimbi Slingshot Library

Akimbi Slingshot Library

With a single mouse click, users can “check out” and instantly deploy configurations from the Akimbi Slingshot library, a central repository for "live" captures of your reference platforms, target systems, historical releases, and customer production environments.


Akimbi Slingshot Workspace

Akimbi Slingshot Workspace

The Workspace serves as a user’s dashboard of configurations deployed to the shared server pool. The Workspace displays the current state of machine consoles and enables single click drilldown and effortless control of configurations.


Live Machine Console

Live Machine Console

Akimbi Slingshot provides a browser-based remote-control view of a machine console, giving you desktop access of all remotely deployed machines. A user can even see all machines in a configuration, side-by-side on a single configuration console page.


Server Pool Monitoring

Server Pool Monitoring

Akimbi Slingshot provides a real-time, graphical view of the shared server pool, giving administrators a bird’s eye view of all deployed virtual machines, available capacity, resource utilization, and enabling drilldown by physical server or virtual machine for detailed analysis.


IP Address Pool

IP Address Pool

Akimbi Tools technology automatically assigns a new IP address, MAC address, Machine Name, and Security ID (in the case of Windows) to machines created from cloned machine templates. Akimbi Tools exist for all popular operating systems.

User Management

User Management

Akimbi Slingshot makes it easy to manage users, their roles, permissions and resource quotas. In addition, Akimbi Slingshot provides out-of-the-box integration with Microsoft Active Directory and other LDAP-accessible directory servers.



permalink [Permalink] - Updated: Tuesday, May 30, 2006

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