Cloud

Soasta picks up first cross-cloud patent to prevent site crashes

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Cloud-testing service Soasta helps companies set up tests for their app or web site to see if they can avoid crashes and failures caused by heavy traffic. The company has just patented the “cross-cloud grid provisioning” process that makes this testing possible.

The company uses more than 500,000 servers across the globe to simulate hundreds of thousands of users accessing a single app or website.

It’s ideal for extreme test-cases where people suddenly flood a website. For instance, prior to the London Olympic Games, Soasta helped staff prepare the official website for millions of people attempting to buy tickets.

Prior to the invention of cross-cloud grid provisioning technology, a lack of servers constrained this kind of performance testing. Setting up servers in the cloud would take hours. However, Soasta can tap into servers in 60 global locations running on 20 providers, including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Rackspace. Setup takes place in a matter of minutes — even for the largest tests.

“This kind of cloud testing is now done daily by 400 of our corporate customers,” CEO Tom Lounibos told VentureBeat in an interview. When asked about whether the unique patent will make the company more attractive to potential acquirers, Lounibos said Soasta will likely go public.

Analysts agree that the availability of this kind of testing is an important step for the industry as a whole and boosts customer’s faith in the cloud. “Cloud computing depends on rapid deployment and on-demand access,” said Melinda Ballou, program director for technology research firm IDC in a statement. This technology can now provide “immediate access to those load servers across environments to help with the problems users face when trying to utilize different cloud platforms for testing.”

Soasta is often billed as Mercury Interactive for the cloud. Mercury is a testing services provider that HP bought for $4.5 billion. It was formed in 2008 and is currently used by 12 out of the 24 top online retailers. Its most high-profile customers include NASA, Microsoft, and Netflix.

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