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Startup StackSafe Offers Virtualization To Test Software Changes

StackSafe says its software can capture a replica of enterprise software and then provide a virtual environment in which to test changes.

A virtualization startup, StackSafe, says its software can capture a replica of enterprise software and then provide a virtual environment in which to test changes to it. StackSafe launched its product, Test Center, at the Demo '08 show in Palm Desert late Tuesday.

StackSafe calls itself a second generation virtualization vendor because it's trying to go beyond simple virtual machine creation and management and server consolidation into additional roles for virtualization. But its announcement comes on the heels of a similar one by first generation market leader VMware. VMware announced its Stage Manager on Jan. 21. The pair of announcements illustrates how hot the virtualization market has become and how VMware must stay on its toes to fend off both startups and established players, such as Oracle and Sun Microsystems, as it attempts to maintain its early virtualization franchise. Its fourth quarter results announced Monday showed that VMware's revenues grew 88% in 2007 to $1.33 billion. Still, its stock fell 26% when VMware officials projected only a 50% growth rate for fiscal 2008, disappointing Wall Street expectations.

"The big, unanswered need of today's data center is to understand the impacts of changes before they're released into production," said Jonah Paransky, VP of marketing, in an interview. The StackSafe announcement included a statement from Gartner analyst Donna Scott on how software changes are a leading cause of downtime, with insufficient software testing causing as much 70% of outages.

Minimizing downtime is one of the top three worries of data center managers and often outstrips security as a concern, said Paransky.

A StackSafe feature, Import CD, is able to load a non-persistent client to capture each production server's disk image. Product environments approximating real life operations can then be constructed from the images, and desired changes test driven through a battery of tests.

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