How can Ostia’s Agile Testing Sandboxes help companies “Shift Left” with their testing

The concept of ‘shifting left’ in the development lifecycle has evolved out of necessity as more frequent and public delivery of applications has required an exponential increase in how much testing must be done, how often it is done and how comprehensive the testing is. In the past, testing was seen to be a final step in the development process before release to the user acceptance environments. This had inherent problems due to the fact that development almost always took longer than expected, requirements changed continually during the project and thus the testing element of the project was always squeezed.

The concept of ‘shift left’ is that more testing is done as early in the development lifecycle (i.e. to the left of the SDLC process diagram) as possible to find defects earlier in the process and fix them there rather than discovering a defect during implementation, testing or worse still when the product is in production and being maintained. What is also clear is that by shifting left, the cost of resolving these defects is reduced significantly as can be seen from the following diagram:


So it would seem to be a ‘no brainer’ that people would ‘shift their testing left’. Unfortunately in many cases it is not possible to do the level of testing in the early stages of development simply because test environments representative of the full production environment are complex, expensive and a scarce resource normally only used in integration and user acceptance testing as illustrated below.


This is where Ostia’s agile development sandboxes can help. Ostia Portus technology enables the creation of sandbox environments that simulate the functionality of your test, user acceptance and production environments. In addition, these environments use synthetic data thus protecting your data. The sandboxes run on premise using commodity hardware and software or can run in the Cloud as they use synthetic data and are not physically connected with your test or production environments.


This means that the test environments can be replicated quickly and cost effectively on demand for development tasks such as prototyping and early development where it was not practical to make a test system available in the past. This relieves the bottleneck that test environments represent.


Agile development sandboxes can enable you to ‘shift left', regardless of:

  • The complexity of your test, user acceptance or production environments.
  • The platform on which your environments run be they legacy mainframe environments or newer (but equally complex) Linux, UNIX or Windows environments.
  • The number of prototypes or developers that need to be supported.

This can help you deliver more quickly, with more quality while saving enormous amounts of cost by finding defects earlier in your development process.