Software tester moves to offshore cloud

Liz Tay | Feb 7, 2012 12:00 PM
Faster, cheaper load testing for finance, government clients.

Software testing firm TestPro is considering moving its email and knowledge management systems offshore after taking up IBM’s Singapore-based cloud offering last August.

The 30-person company retired three physical servers last year, when it moved its IBM Rational Team Concert project management software out of an Australian managed service facility.

TestPro managing director Scott Marchant said the move to utility pricing shaved two-thirds off the company's infrastructure operating costs in December.

The company currently consumes Microsoft Exchange email as a service from a Western Australian provider that Marchant described as “alright, just not as cheap”.

He expected TestPro to consider moving to another, cheaper cloud-based email provider this year.

“We’re in the process of working that out in the next couple of months; our interest will be to do that in the next three to six months,” he said.

IBM introduced its SmartCloud Enterprise service last April, allowing customers to rent virtual servers on an hourly basis.

At the time, TestPro, which has used Rational software for more than a decade, was reviewing its service contracts after having moved from data centres in Western Australia, Canberra and Sydney.

Marchant said the company reviewed its contracts every 12 to 18 months.

The company, which tests ERP, web-based and custom-built applications on behalf of organisations in the financial services, retail and government sectors, picked SmartCloud for the “best mix of price and performance”.

It spun up a virtual Windows 2003 server and two Windows 2008 servers in IBM’s Singapore data centre within one week, and decommissioned its Dell eight-way server and two HP G4 servers two weeks later.

Besides being cheaper, Marchant said the public cloud also allowed TestPro to respond more quickly to clients’ demands, spinning up new servers for projects in 20 minutes instead of days.

He did not expect offshore servers to be an issue for TestPro’s clients, since it did not need to move clients’ data to test their applications.

Marchant acknowledged that TestPro did not conduct detailed analysis of other cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services, but did not expect lock-in to be an issue should the firm decide to move off SmartCloud.

“It would take us the same amount of time to move off [IBM] as to move on them,” he expected.

“We’re not scared of moving, but – like a mobile phone service – you don’t just pick up your phone and move carriers every couple of months to save a few dollars.”