Once upon a time, I was all about networking – enterprise networks, carrier networks, and so on and so forth. Even though I do not cover the “networking” sector, the way I view networks has helped me to understand datacenters (since it is a network of equipment in a datacenter) and cloud computing (since users connect to a cloud either contained in one datacenter or deployed over a network of datacenters).

One thing I learned during my “network” days was that before deploying applications or new network equipment, engineers need to test these new elements within the existing network. Typically, that requires a good chunk of time and effort. Engineers usually need to secure resources and schedule the testing without disturbing the production network. On top of that, today’s IT networks may be a blend of legacy infrastructure and cloud resources. Testing physical, logical and virtual resources together is not an easy thing.

However, I recently met a company called QualiSystems that wants to make that process easier. The company is know for test automation. It has an interesting product called CloudShell, which essentially enables self-service for testing.

Think about the experience when you rent IT resources on Amazon Web Services. You build a server, choosing your options for processing power, storage and operating system. After you are done using the resource, it goes back into a resource pool for others to use. The process with CloudShell is similar; a engineer will rent out resources – both physical and cloud-based – pre-loaded into the CloudShell platform. Tests are performed using available software functions or scripts previously used by IT. When the test are completed, the resources are freed up for others to use.

QualiSystems already has some big-name customers. Its latest customer is also significant – EMC (click here for news release). CloudShell will partner with EMC in VSPEX deployments. A good move overall – EMC wants customers to use VSPEX to transition to the cloud, and QualiSystems CloudShell will enable customers to test and deploy VSPEX more quickly. CloudShell can only add to VSPEX’s value proposition – an integrated solution to transition to cloud that can be deployed faster by minimizing the test time via CloudShell. Win-win as I see it.

One last note…thank you, QualiSystems, for reminding me that my networking knowledge remains relevant with all this cloud stuff…