Green Hat, the independent developer behind technology testing solutions, is to be acquired by IBM.

The firm, founded in 1996 and based in London, has eased the cost of quality assurance tests by enabling developers to use cloud computing technologies to conduct tests on software prior to its delivery.

Using Green Hat's solutions, a virtual test environment can be set up in minutes instead of weeks, and at a fraction of the cost. This environment simulates a wide range of IT infrastructure elements, without the constraints of hardware or software services.

Historically, development teams have had to construct testing labs made up of both hardware and software, a fact which has become compounded by the pressures of short development cycles.

Software testing represents more than 50 percent of overall development costs, and testing teams often spend upwards of 30 percent of their time managing the complexity of the test environment, according to reports by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Peter Cole, CEO of Green Hat, said: "We are looking forward to bringing Green Hat's innovative application virtualisation and continuous integration testing expertise to IBM customers who have a growing business need to better manage their complex testing environments."

IBM is looking to maximise its business by applying Green Man's technology in its existing services.

"This acquisition extends IBM's leadership in driving business agility and software quality by changing the way enterprises can manage software development cost, test cycle time and risk," said Kristof Kloeckner, general manager of IBM Rational.

"Together, we offer the most complete solution available today for agile software development and testing, with flexible options such as the cloud. Green Hat's application virtualisation capabilities will help our customers accelerate their delivery of business critical software."

After the acquisition, Green Hat will join IBM's Rational Software business. The companies' software testing solutions also will be offered through IBM Global Business Services.