SOASTA Awarded First Cross-Cloud Grid Provisioning Patent

By Peter Bernstein January 15, 2013

Ever wonder how companies can find out whether their mobile apps and websites can stand the stress of being accessed en masse? To be frank, simulating extremely high-volume traffic has been (to be polite) a challenge. This has been true not just for operators of major websites and those with popular mobile apps, but for the testing community as well. Mountain View, CA-based SOASTA®, Inc., a leader in cloud and mobile testing, has been hard at work solving that problem for several years.   The fruits of the efforts have paid off with the announcement that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued SOASTA the industry’s first-ever patent for Cross-Cloud Grid Provisioning, U.S. Patent No. 8,341,462

Like good wine, the patent process takes time. The technology, which SOASTA invented in 2008, enables SOASTA and its customers to simulate mobile and Web traffic by deploying thousands of servers across different cloud providers simultaneously.  This cross-cloud provision is part of SOASTA’s platform. It has already been employed  to ensure the performance and reliability of mobile apps and websites by NASA, the London 2012 Olympics, Microsoft, Netflix, Intuit, and American Girl just to name a few.

An industry milestone

“SOASTA was one of the first companies in 2008 to deliver cloud computing as a service,” said Tom Lounibos, SOASTA CEO.  “We knew it was critical for our customer to quickly simulate mobile and Web traffic anywhere in the world to reliably test their online properties.  SOASTA’s engineering team responded by developing and designing innovative technology to automate the difficult task of manually provisioning across different clouds.  Now our customers and employees can easily set up and tear down huge cloud grids on-demand, deploying thousands of servers in minutes.”

 The problem being addressed, due to the magnitude of traffic, is non-trivial. In fact, as SOASTA points out, prior to their innovation, performance testing has been constrained because of a lack of access to a large number of servers needed for doing proper validation. And, they also explain that even today, setting up servers in the cloud can take many hours. 

The company is now proudly stating that, with Cross-Cloud Grid Provisioning, SOASTA’s Global Test Cloud is now able to leverage more than 500,000 servers in 60 global locations running on 20 providers. And, they are talking very large customers which include Amazon, Rackspace, IBM, Microsoft, and GoGrid.  Plus, instead of hours of manual set-up, the process now takes only minutes even for the largest tests. This is very valuable to such customers where being fast to market, fast in the market and best market can literally mean the difference between success and failure and where the penalty for not getting it right the first time can be very harsh.  

This thought was articulated well by Melinda Ballou, Program Director for IDC's Application Life-Cycle Management research who noted that, “Cloud computing depends on rapid deployment and on-demand access…Workloads like load and performance testing that can depend on a large number of variegated servers driving traffic from different locations are a logical application for cloud computing. Grid provisioning technology like SOASTA's can provide immediate access to these load servers across environments to help with the problems users face when trying to utilize different cloud platforms for testing.”

 Customers have also recognized the achievement of this industry milestone. “As the largest born-on-the-Internet apparel eCommerce company in the US, it is critical for our web applications to perform to our customer expectations, no matter where they are located," said Michael Hart, Chief Technology Officer at Bonobos.   "This latest SOASTA patent is unique in the cloud computing industry, allowing fast, scalable access to over 20 major public cloud providers to ensure that web applications like ours perform to their maximum capacity."

There is an old saying Russian proverb, “Doveryai, no proveryai,” which means “Trust, but Verify!” Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan made this famous when he signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 1987 to the chagrin of the then head of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev. In fact, history says that Gorbachev told Reagan, "You repeat that at every meeting," to which Reagan answered "I like it." Truth be known, SOASTA’s massive test and verification capability is something that the big providers of content already like, and SOASTA has reason to highlight the USPTO’s recognition.  

Edited by Rich Steeves
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