Startup Of The Week: StackSafe Tackles Software Testing

Test Center will let IT departments assess upgrades, patches, and new apps before deploying them.

John Foley, Editor, InformationWeek

December 7, 2007

2 Min Read

Never introduce another line of code to your company's IT infrastructure without testing it first. That's the thinking behind StackSafe's soon-to-be-released product, which creates a virtual image of your software environment for staging and testing upgrades and patches before implementing them on run-the-business Linux and Windows servers.

PRODUCT: StackSafe Test Center for pre-deployment software testing

PRINCIPALS: Loren Burnett, founder, president, and CEO; Andrew Gross, chief scientist and architect; Cal Jeffrey, VP of sales

INVESTORS: Novak Biddle Venture Partners, Chart Venture Partners

EARLY CUSTOMERS: Just completed beta testing among a "substantial number" of unnamed customers

Burnett: Don't fall victim to glitches

THE CHALLENGE Software stacks aren't static. They change as operating systems, databases, and Web servers get updated or patched, and as new applications get introduced. How do system administrators know that changes will go smoothly? Without testing, it's a leap of faith. StackSafe is an alternative to investing in a test environment that duplicates operational systems. BY THE NUMBERS Companies with more than 1,000 employees or more than 100 servers are StackSafe’s target market. Test Center will be priced around $50,000 for an annual subscription license. StackSafe has received $5.6 million in Series A venture funding. Return on investment for customers? Burnett asserts that Test Center will pay for itself in increased system availability. A survey commissioned by StackSafe this year found that companies experience, on average, 15 downtime incidents annually. AVAILABILITY StackSafe Test Center for Linux is scheduled for general availability Dec. 19, with a formal launch at the end of January. A Windows Server version will come "shortly thereafter," according to Burnett. VIRTUALIZATION StackSafe remains tight-lipped about the technology under its hood, but it sounds like a virtual machine environment, possibly employing the Xen hypervisor. "We have embraced open source," admits CEO Burnett, without going into detail. It's not uncommon for application developers to test their code on VMs before deploying on live systems. StackSafe seems to be mimicking that approach for IT operations. Test Center imports "images" of production software stacks for testing and analysis. TIMELINE Timeline Chart

About the Author(s)

John Foley

Editor, InformationWeek

John Foley is director, strategic communications, for Oracle Corp. and a former editor of InformationWeek Government.

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