Lloyds Bank cuts app development costs with service virtualisation

Lloyds Bank has revealed how using service virtualisation has helped it cut app development costs by reducing testing times and highlighting defects earlier so that they can be fixed more cheaply.

The bank, which uses CA Technologies’ LISA service virtualisation, told the CA Expo 13 conference in London how its DevOps team used the tool to help deliver major business changes - expanding its internet channel, developing its mobile proposition and optimising business processes - more cost effectively.

“By delivering virtualised environments, we can do testing much quicker and cheaper than traditionally,” said Nick Stemp, principal lead architect at Lloyds Banking Group.

According to Stemp, Lloyds has 10 million internet banking users, processes 110 million transactions each day and “every hour, five times Wembley Stadium” logs into the internet channel.

The scale of the bank’s service is why it has to have an agile technology platform, he said, that also maintains high service levels for customers.

Lloyds has been using CA LISA across development and quality assurance for 16 months. Before rolling it out more widely, it started with a proof-of-concept project, which involved replacing one of its systems used to provide foreign exchange rates.

“We saw savings in terms of cost of licences for some of the infrastructure, and avoided us needing to deploy a platform that perhaps wasn’t standardised in the group. We didn’t need a Solaris server, we didn’t need an Oracle database. That kind of thing,” said Stemp.

Meanwhile, software testing has become “far more efficient”. Stemp said: “It used to take us five people days to do 20 tests. Now it takes one person and one minute to do the same.”

Stemp is responsible for delivering test strategy, test environments and working with operations staff to bring learning back into the production process.

He said: “We’re seeing more defects in development, which is where we want to see them. People doing the testing can do the fix, which saves us doing the fixes later in the lifecycle [where it is more costly].”

The tool has also enabled the bank to reduce the number of local testing environments it needs, which is substantial.

“We’ve got a huge dev team - over 40 dev areas all trying to get change in production constantly. Large-scale change was needed and extensive testing was required,” said Stemp.

Lloyds has created over 200 LISA service virtualisation assets that are used across different software development lifecycles. It has also removed the need for some test environments in system integration testing (SIT).

Importantly, they are “reusable” assets, Stemp said, which is another cost-saving factor.

“We’re looking to take the tool and use it in NFT [non-functional testing], where providing scale in NFT that mirrors production is really expensive,” said Stemp.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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