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Cloud Testing: The Future And Beyond
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With increased growth in the development of mobile and web based applications, testing the same has assumed critical significance in terms of ROI, gaining quick market access, and enhancement of brand value of a company. However, increased complexities of applications and the difficulties of testing them on multiple operating systems, hardware, and browsers with real time users that are separated by distance and time zones have made traditional testing redundant.
Given such a scenario, Cloud Testing has become the new buzzword. Before getting further into cloud testing it is important to know the concept of cloud computing. It offers complete IT solutions by sharing resources (applications, hardware, networks, operating systems, databases etc.), as ‘services’ on a pay-per-use basis. This concept does away with the need to set up physical infrastructure and obtain licences for getting access to ‘resources.’ This leads to savings on cost and time, which is critical in today’s market dynamics.
Advantages of Cloud Based Testing
Flexible testing environment: A real test environment in traditional testing model needs access to physical infrastructure, software, users, licences and other equipment’s. However, these parameters are not always available due to constraints of money, network, distance, third party ownership, and time zone. Cloud testing can get rid of these constraints by making them available on demand.
Scalability: In this model, scaling of the test environment and its requisite parameters to suit testing requirements can be carried out without any additional cost. For example, the input data can be scaled up or down in terms of its type and volume, to check for any abnormal behaviour generated by the application.
Minimal effect on business: While testing cloud services, most testing parameters as part of the test environment are virtualized. This prevents the actual use of critical business data and allows the organization to go about its business without any interruption.
Reduces multiple dependencies: As applications need to get tested across multiple operating platforms, hardware, browsers and their versions, networks etc., with multiple users separated across distances and time zones, using virtualization technique to simulate the behaviour of these in house can be resource and cost intensive. However, the same can be accessed through Cloud Application Testing method on a pay-per-use basis thus addressing resource crunch and cost escalation.
Cost saving: The physical infrastructure in any company earmarked for testing is not always utilized optimally. Moreover, the licences of such infrastructure are needed to be updated from time to time leading to cost escalation. By sharing infrastructure and resources from the cloud whenever and wherever needed, can lead to savings on cost. In fact, this remains the primary motivation for transition towards cloud testing.
Even though cloud testing offers such lucrative prospects for application testing in the future and beyond, there are a few challenges as well.
Inadequate security standards: As this model is still evolving there are issues of security and standards that are needed to be addressed. These include security of applications, use of security methodologies, and establishment of security protocols.
Time consuming: Cloud testing involves sharing of resources with many users on a pay-per-use basis. This can lead to delays, as the requisite bandwidth may not be adequate to support sharing of heavy resources. Also, as maintenance of cloud based services is not under the control of the organisation that seeks its services, any downtime or outage can lead to delays.
Difficulty in simulating customer environment: Often the configuration requirements for testing in an organisation in terms of servers, storage and networks may not match the ones provided by the cloud provider. As a result, this will not adequately capture the behaviour of customer environment.
Conclusion: Notwithstanding the challenges presented by Cloud Testing, its numerous benefits in terms of scalability, flexibility, sharing of resources, and cost savings cannot be overlooked. Given the intense competitiveness of mobile and web based businesses, using Cloud based testing rings a big positive for the future and beyond.
Michael Works for Gallop Solutions, it is a 10 year old, US based Colocated Independent Software Testing & QA Staffing Services Company with offices in Dallas and Philadelphia.
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