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One of the biggest challenges when it comes to software testing using on-premise infrastructure is scalability. The more end-user environments and the more heavy traffic you try to emulate, the bigger investment in hardware is required. Is there an alternative? Yes, there is – read on to learn all about it!
The alternative to on-premise testing is cloud testing, also called cloud-based testing. It is a form of testing performed on a third-party cloud computing environment that uses cloud-based tools to emulate real-world user traffic and their hardware and software configuration. Cloud testing is used to test applications – or websites/services – for scalability, performance, security, and reliability.
If you compare cloud-based testing with traditional on-premise testing, you will quickly realize that the latter’s shortcomings outweigh the advantages it offers. When testing a piece of software or a web app, you need to run it against all platforms, browsers, and devices to make sure that it will deliver value to all its prospective users. This requires scaling up the on-premise test infrastructure, which in turn requires a significant amount of investment, both to set it up right, and to maintain and upgrade it.
By contrast, in cloud-based testing, you do not need to worry about the infrastructure’s scalability or maintenance as it simply does not belong to you. You pay for using it and you expect it to work seamlessly no matter what.
Going for cloud-based testing can bring a lot of benefits to your organization. Here are the most important ones:
Cloud computing allows software testers to increase or decrease computing resources according to their current needs, so they can easily test e.g. various traffic scenarios. This is particularly handy for e.g. testing online stores that experience periods of heavy traffic, or when business requirements for a particular project tend to change.
In cloud-based computing, you spend the budget on what you actually use. You make no investment in hardware or software and you only pay for what you need at a particular moment. This gives you great flexibility as far as scaling things up or down is concerned. As a result, your costs are much lower than in the case of building and maintaining your own in-house infrastructure.
Cloud-based testing can be set up quickly and efficiently, eliminating the need to share environments (or infrastructure) among teams (or team members). Also, since testing is done automatically and in parallel for different combinations of browsers, devices, and platforms, it reduces the time to market your software. And as no time is wasted on mundane, repetitive tasks, your QA team can focus more on fixing any bugs they find.
If you want to properly set up a test environment on multiple devices, it is going to take you a lot of time (and frustration). And if you make any errors during that process, it will be repeated across all devices. Using cloud-based testing allows you to avoid that, as everything has been properly preconfigured by the service provider. Also, cloud testing allows you to emulate any combination of device environments, so you are not limited by what you can test.
Since it is in the cloud, and as such, it is available 24/7, software testing can be performed at any time and anywhere, speeding up your software deployment and testing. And since it allows you to emulate all possible platforms, operating systems, and browser configurations, your testing can be truly comprehensible. You will not have to cut corners and risk that some of the end-users of your product will not get the experience they expect.
Cloud-based testing allows improving collaboration between developers and testers. It becomes easy to monitor each other’s activities, so there is no overlapping in their tasks. This is particularly useful in today's geographically dispersed software production, where people are not only on different continents but also – due to the current COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic – are mostly working from home.
To sum up: using cloud-based testing results in much better test coverage, faster turnaround time and much better product quality.
What types of cloud testing are available for you in the cloud? A wide range of both functional (Does the software meet requirements?) and non-functional or performance testing (Is the software of sufficient quality?). These include (in alphabetical order):
Acceptance testing – to see if the application meets the specific needs of its end users.
Availability testing – to check whether end-users will receive application services on-demand.
Business requirement testing – to find out how precisely an application meets the specified business requirements.
Disaster recovery testing – to evaluate disaster recovery time and ensure that the application becomes available to end users again with minimum or no data loss.
Integration testing – to make sure that the application is compatible with different platforms and works well when moving from one cloud infrastructure to another.
Interoperability testing – to evaluate the application’s compatibility with various environments and platforms.
Multi-tenancy testing – to check whether the application can ensure a sufficient level of security and access control.
Performance testing – to ensure that the application performs correctly no matter how many end users access it at the same time.
Security testing – to ensure that data is stored and transferred safely.
System testing – to evaluate system’s compliance with functional and system requirements.
To be able to initiate the process of moving your testing to a cloud, you first need to set clear objectives for your testing efforts (finding or preventing defects, gaining info on quality, etc.). Then you have to create your testing strategy (cross-browser compatibility testing, security testing, etc.) to estimate your testing budget. Next, you need to plan your infrastructure (tools, for example RTM for Jira which looks the same on both hostings, equipment, procedures etc.) and only then you are ready to choose a reliable cloud-based testing provider. If necessary, use no-commitment free trials offered by some of them, so you can learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of each service.
The key thing to remember when choosing a cloud provider for transferring your data from the on-premise environment or external services is that they need to have an option for data backup, restoration, and failover. This will keep your data from getting lost in the process. On your end, you need to do a backup of all your data (either on your own servers or on another cloud service) and encrypt it before transfer. When migrating to the cloud, make sure to use secure transport protocols (such as HTTPS).
To win in this ever-accelerating race for creating the best user experience, you need to be able to test your piece of software on a number of different combinations of browsers, devices, and platforms. To do it efficiently, use cloud technologies. Not only will you save a lot of money and effort, but also you will accelerate your entire software production process.
Content Marketing Specialist