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Lloyds Banks on Service Virtualisation to Cut Cloud Costs

10 January 2019
Moving to the cloud has changed the economics of QA, according Allan Woodcock, QA Engineering Lead at Lloyds Banking Group.

“Cloud changes the way you test; the way you pay for testing, it changes everything,” explained Allan Woodcock, QA Engineering Lead at Lloyds Banking Group and one of the expert speakers lined up for the QA Financial Forum London on February 27th.

“The change is that you pay for every minute your virtual environment is up and running. This is why we’re looking at and using service virtualisation.”

Service virtualisation is a technology that simulates dependencies in apps. These dependencies can be inputs from other pieces of hardware, APIs, or back-end applications. For example, using service virtualisation, testers can test an app that interacts with a cloud server. Once the relevant components are virtualised, testers are not reliant on accessing the physical cloud. And that can save on cloud running costs.

Back in 2017, Lloyds Bank contracted to migrate a majority of the bank’s applications from its native infrastructure to the public cloud. Prior to this, in 2014, the bank had undertaken a three-year programme to encourage the use of service virtualisation across its IT function.

The bank now employs service virtualisation as a standard practice across its QA function. The result has been significant return-on-investment, faster delivery times and improved app quality, said Woodcock.

More: Lloyds Makes the Jump from Service Virtualisation to Full DevOps

But there is still a long way to go, according to Woodcock, in particular because of Lloyds’ increased use of micro-services which, in turn, increases the volume of tests performed. Micro-services technology is a variant of the service-oriented architecture that structures an application as a collection of loosely coupled services.  “We currently use thousands of test environments and we’re looking to reduce this number via service virtualisation’” explained Woodcock. “The more you move to a micro-services architecture, the more you use service virtualisation.”

Coupled with an increasing drive to “shift left” as the bank’s IT function moves to more agile ways of work, the micro-services model requires the bank to do more testing, earlier.

Allan Woodcock will discuss Lloyds’ journey in automation and quality engineering in-depth in a panel at the QA Financial Forum in London on February 27, 2019. For more information and to register for the event, click here.

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