Reducing the Burden of Automating Multiple Non-Production Environment Builds

Reducing the Burden of Automating Multiple Non-Production Environment Builds

Envisian has unlocked Veeam Virtual Labs to revolutionise the automated build, avoid common problems and reduce set-up time from weeks to days.

A Tedious Task, no More!

Terry, the head of our virtualisation team, was asked to automate and maintain multiple Non Production environments for one of our customers. He was contemplating the typically tedious, repetitive, time consuming process of using disparate tools to automate the build. Knowing the potential for error and inconsistencies increased with the number of clones, Terry decided there had to be a better way. He found one.

Automation takes Time

You already know that the advent of virtualisation has made it easier and faster to clone a working virtualised production application/prototype, reducing time and improving quality control. We simply clone all the VMs which make up the application and then reconfigure the IPs/networking to create another instance of the application.

Yet automating and maintaining clones has been a tedious, time-consuming process. Traditional IT automation software, such as Puppet, Ansible and Chef, enable a semi-automated, piecemeal approach, at best. To manage a standalone application, cloning and a fragmented or ‘partial automation’ methodology may suffice.

However, our customers’ virtualisation projects are complex and the majority of applications rely on numerous shared services like AD, DNS, NTP, syslog, SMTP etc. When you need to integrate multiple cloned VMs to these as well, that translates into a lot of work, time and effort!

Envisian + Veeam Virtual Labs for the Win

During a recent customer virtualisation project, Terry decided not to follow the traditional, time-consuming path and set out to find a different solution. Whilst installing Veeam Availability Suite Enterprise, Terry unlocked a powerful feature. More than a decade of experience combined with an inquisitive mind led him to explore and then adapt Veeam Virtual Labs to streamline the NPE build.

We now use Veeam Virtual Labs to automate the cloning of VMs that make up the application (along with any shared services), and to create an isolated network bubble to enable all the VMs to run using their production configuration (including IP addresses) without the risk of affecting the production services. With each Virtual Lab, Veeam also deploys a proxy to allow access to the VMs in the Virtual Lab from the existing network, as well as act as an internet proxy (if required).


Our approach reduces project costs for our customers and makes life a little easier for our tech experts.

Saves time:  To say “it’s faster” is a bit of an understatement. In this recent case, a mid-size virtualisation environment, clone automation of key applications was completed in a two days. The old way would have taken two to three weeks. From our customer’s perspective, that meant incurring the cost of just two days of work, instead of 14-21 days. Talk about savings!

Avoids common automation problems:  You know the ones. Like having a Non Production environment constantly out of sync with the Production environment; or changes developed in the Non Production environment creating issues when they are transferred to the Production environment. It can be difficult or impossible to create a like-for-like Non Production copy of an application with hardcoded IPs and references. And who hasn’t found that it can take hours, days or weeks to spin up new development or test environments – even if there is an urgent need for them. Of course, patching and maintaining a Non Production environment can also be a challenge. Using Veeam Virtual Labs to automate the build of Non-Production environments greatly improves synchronisation, duplication, testing and patching – making these very common automation problems virtually non-existent.

Reduces storage, licensing and infrastructure requirements: One of the key benefits is that a simple batch job can recreate the entire environment when needed. Virtual labs can be torn-down/stood-up quickly and easily, allowing you to reclaim and re-allocate the resources this project would normally have taken. And using just one product not only streamlines the process, but also reduces licensing and infrastructure requirements in Non Production environments.

Innovation to Add Value to our Clients

Dissatisfied with the existing industry standard procedures, Terry looked for, and found a better way. He used Veeam Virtual Labs to significantly reduce the time spent on this recent customer virtualisation project, and in the process he created a new standard procedure for Envisian to save time and money for our customers.