Test Platforms – Evolved

We’re making some changes – here’s what you should know.


The heart of quality development methodology

As you know, at Enterprise Automation, our tagline has always been “Nothing Leaves Enterprise Untested.” At the core of this quality philosophy is the use of offline development environments or Test Platforms.

These systems are securely located on EA’s premises, allowing our team to develop and bench-test networking, code, graphics, and other key elements of modern-day industrial control systems. As an almost exact replica of your system, they provide a safe and efficient method for development and support. All work is performed and tested at EA’s offices on the test platform, and then once QA’d, it is allowed to be released for deployment into “production” on your systems on-site. This is considered industry and EA best practice.

How are we evolving our approach?

Historically, EA has made it the responsibility of each client to provide Test Platform hardware. While it resides at EA, we manage and maintain it, but it remains the client’s property. As we’ve grown and diversified our client base, this has become increasingly difficult to maintain. Imagine 25+ separate physical servers and systems that are mostly different in vintage, manufacturer, size, etc.

Moving forward, we will no longer use this model of owner-provided – EA-managed test platform hardware. Instead, we will begin providing hosted internal infrastructure where virtualized test platforms will be set up to provide the same replica functionality as our legacy approach. While active, each client will be required to pay a monthly fee for using this test platform and development environment. The benefits to EA and you are numerous.

Old Model

  • Client required upfront investment in hardware
  • EA overhead was high to manage and maintain a vast array of equipment.
  • Shorter or smaller projects and clients found investment prohibitive
  • Extensive server infrastructure space to house multiple client servers.

New Model

  • No upfront costs and everything is handled with monthly fees
  • Reduced overhead through a centralized and common management platform
  • Scalable and flexible costs, fit all sizes of clients and projects
  • Even greater use of virtualization, limiting space requirements.


How much does it cost?

The cost will vary based primarily on the quantity of Virtual Computers (VMs) required to support your production system. See the cost outline structure below.

If I provided a physical test platform, how am I affected?

The transition process for each client will be individual. All servers have a useful life, and in our existing model, clients were responsible for replacing these test platform servers every 5-7 years or so. Clients will be transitioned to the new program when that cycle comes due, ideally sooner with a discussion.

Is my system secure? Is it isolated from other systems?

Absolutely, your system is isolated from all others. While the physical infrastructure is shared, the virtual infrastructure setup for each client is unique and segregated. If you’d like to discuss the details of how this is done further, let us know, and we’ll set up a call with one of our OT architects to explain more.

Is this a profit generator for EA?

This approach is not even fully funded by clients through the monthly fee. EA always has, and will still be, contributing additional funds to ensure this system is available and sufficient. This approach makes overhead costs less and allows us to offer better service, which is the core focus of our business.