Persistent vs. Ephemeral Environments: What You Need to Know

Testing is crucial to software development. It is how developers and ITG experts are able to identify and fix any issues with a software product in development early on in the development process. Now, testing can either be regular (traditional) or continuous.

In DevOps, continuous testing is much more common and even preferred, as it ensures the final software that is released to the market is of the highest standard and better than the competitors. Continuous testing, usually automated, starts early in the development process and goes on throughout the software development lifecycle (SDLC).

Now, for continuous testing in DevOps to be possible, you need test environments. And there are two kinds of environments- persistent and ephemeral. So, what are they? How are they different? More importantly, which is better?

What is a Persistent Environment?

A persistent test environment is a permanent and dedicated environment that is usually created once and then used to test software repeatedly. It is quite common in regression testing, whereby software is tested after code changes and is updated along the way.

What is an Ephemeral Environment?

Ephemeral literally means “lasting a very short time,” which is the best way to describe this environment. An ephemeral environment, also known as a preview environment, is a temporary environment created for just one purpose- to test a new feature in software under development. If the component passes the test, it is integrated, and the test environment is destroyed. If it fails, it is rolled back to development for improvement or “fixing.”

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Persistent Vs. Ephemeral Environments: How Do the Two Compare?

Persistent environments, also called permanent environments, are built to exist all the time. And while they do just as good of a job with regard to software testing, there are some disadvantages. One is, of course, the fact that testing environments are not needed all the time. So, when not in use, persistent environments become a resource waste and an expensive one at that.

Two, if several teams want to test features in one environment, the process can slow down significantly. And to solve this, you will need to create more environments to accommodate growing needs.

Ephemeral enables on-demand environments, that is, environments you can spin and destroy at will and with no consequence. This makes the development lifecycle faster as developers get the feedback they need to move to the next step. Plus, these environments also ensure different activities can go on simultaneously, cutting down on the time to market.

Not forgetting, it makes managing complex developments easier and a lot cheaper. After all, you won’t have lots of permanent environments to keep up with or manage all the time.

Detect & Fix Defects Faster in Your DevOps with Ephemeral Environments

Continuous testing is key for a smooth DevOps process. Ephemeral environments are a dynamic and modern way to do this that saves you time as well as money as compared to persistent environments. The best part is, there are tools today that make creating and destroying these temporary testing environments easier.