Cloud-based Testing is simply defined as a type of software testing in which a software application is tested using Cloud computing. Throughout the software development and delivery process, each team plays a pivotal role in ensuring that the results are favorable. However, the software testing team that comes towards the end of the cycle is often labeled as a bottleneck that slows down the process. Furthermore, business applications are growing in complexity, making it difficult for organizations to build and maintain in-house testing facilities in real-time environments.
It is at this point that Cloud-based testing comes as a favorable option by offering a compelling combination of lower costs, pay-per-use features, and eliminating upfront capital expenditure (Capex). Moreover, the benefits are not limited to the cost incurred and extend beyond it by offering on-demand flexibility, freedom from holding assets, seamless collaboration, better efficiency, and reducing time-to-market for critical business applications.
Several enterprises are approaching Cloud computing because of the same reasons. Multiple factors account for this openness towards testing in the Cloud. Software Testing is a periodic activity and requires new environments to be set up for each project. Testing labs typically sit idle for longer periods, consuming capital, power, and space. Reports suggest that approximately 45% to 70% of the technology infrastructure set aside for testing is underutilized. Even though testing is considered to be important, it is also considered as a non-business-critical activity. Moving testing to the Cloud is considered to be a safe option as it doesn’t include sensitive enterprise data and has minimal impact on the organization’s business activities.
As mentioned earlier, with applications becoming increasingly complex, dynamic, and component-based, new challenges arise for testing teams. For instance, Web and Mobile applications must be tested for multiple operating systems and updates, multiple browser platforms and versions, different types of hardware, and a large number of concurrent users to understand their performance in real-time. The traditional approach of manually setting up testing environments with these complexities and multiplicities consumes huge capital and resources. Cloud’s on-demand provisioning addresses these issues seamlessly. Read on to know more about Cloud-based testing and to know how to get started with it.
Why Cloud-based Software Testing
In a study, it has been estimated that more than 30% of defects are attributable to the inaccurate configuration of a test environment.
Cloud-based testing service providers offer pre-configured software images and infrastructure which are capable of reducing such errors. These actions result in the faster provisioning of the test environment and the ability to meet delivery objectives. Cloud-based testing gives better control to build and execute the test cases, analyze application performance and look for congestion and stress areas while tests are running. The Cloud service provider allows testers to scale up from hundred to millions of users to access the breaking points to meet the highly unpredictable demand levels. This gives test consultants a clear picture of possible runtime errors and prepares enterprises for peak demand time.
Built-in Cloud collaboration and management tools facilitate real-time collaboration with remote teams involved in the project. Once a tester logs in and executes a test, the developer can review the results and can fix the issue over the Cloud itself. This reduces the communication gap between the test consultant and the developer. Supervisors can monitor the project progress and can drill down onto specific tasks for review. As a result, application deployment will improve while minimizing problems and providing users with an enhanced testing experience.
Preparing for Cloud-based Testing: A 7-Step Proven Approach
Large enterprises are keen on building private Clouds to use their internal test infrastructure and arm themselves with security and greater control over data. Private Clouds are customizable and allow test artifacts to be reused for different projects, thereby limiting the purchase of new software and hardware. On the other side, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are expected to lead the adoption of public Cloud for application testing as setting up private Cloud-based testing comes with its own set of challenges. In the case of organizations that do not have sufficient QA teams, there is an option to seek on-demand testing services wherein the service providers undertake complete responsibility for testing in the Cloud.
Below are the steps to keep in mind while preparing for Cloud-based testing:
- Build understanding about the Cloud: Cloud is not the answer to all testing problems. Developers and QA with strong skills should collaborate and conduct unit, functional, and integration tests throughout the lifecycle.
- Set clear objectives: Testing in the Cloud requires closer cooperation between developers and testers to conduct the necessary tests throughout the software development lifecycle(SDLC). Having clear objectives before testing a particular application in the Cloud will give more from your Cloud investment.
- Formulating the testing strategy: When formulating the test strategy ensure that it answers what is intended to be achieved by moving testing to the Cloud. This could include cost savings, easy access to infrastructure, reduced cycle time, and the like.
- Plan your infrastructure: When creating a testing strategy, infrastructure requirements should also be considered for building a test environment. It is important to know the required duration of the test environment in the configuration and also if any changes are required to it.
- Selecting a reliable service provider: Enterprises should thoroughly scrutinize service providers for quality, reliability, security, and any terms and conditions.
- Executing the test cases: This is a critical phase of STLC(Software Testing Life Cycle) where applications are tested according to the planned test strategy.
- Monitor and analyze the test results: It is suggested to monitor the test results in real-time to understand and react to performance-related issues.
Performing Cloud Testing
Primarily, there are three ways of performing Cloud-based testing. We have compiled a tabular column to depict the various ways of performing Cloud-based testing and the tasks performed during each method.
Types of Cloud-based Testing
Typically in the Cloud environment, any application can be subjected to the following types of testing.
- Functional Testing: This testing is done to ensure that the software meets the functional requirements. Some of its types include integration testing, system testing, acceptance testing, etc.
- Non-Functional Testing: This testing focuses on ensuring the quality of the software, and its examples are business requirement testing, performance testing, and security testing.
- Ability Testing: This testing shows whether users will receive application services from the on-demand cloud environment. Some of its types are disaster recovery testing, multi-tenancy testing, and compatibility testing.
Cloud-based testing allows enterprises to reduce their costs and time for software testing, but it also includes some risks and challenges that should be considered before deploying an application to the Cloud. Quality Analysts can be better prepared for testing in the Cloud when they’re familiar with the types of Cloud testing and the existing Cloud-based tools for software testing. Despite some of its challenges, Cloud-based testing is evolving continuously and bringing forth new opportunities to businesses and thus, it would be safe to say that it is the future of software testing.
Senior Consultant- Pre Sales, RapidValue