An ongoing debate in the field of software testing is whether or not to rely on test results gathered from testing on virtual machines (VM’s). In the last ten years or so, virtual machines have revolutionized the way software testers work. Before, the virtual machine revolution, testers would often spend their day in front of racks of computers to perform their day-to-day testing. These computers would each have to be setup to specific configurations and this would ultimately result in a large amount of additional setup time to perform each test.
Virtual machines allow a tester to deploy a test environment within seconds, and most testers rely on these today. However, there is a risk that certain defects can only be detected on a real machine, and may not be seen in a ritualized environment. The current trend shows that testers are accepting this level of risk and relying on the virtual machines. There is still much debate as to whether or not this is an acceptable risk, and to be fair will depend on each projects requirements and expectations of the test results.