Cloud-based testing brings many more benefits than can be delivered by traditional test environments.
Software testing in the cloud involves using cloud-based tools to mimic real-world user traffic and environments for testing any type of application, network, and infrastructure. Service providers offer testing environments configured according to an application’s requirements and these may include labs, virtualisation, tools, procedures, and so the list goes on. It is like going to a restaurant for a meal instead of making one at home with your limited ingredients, ideas and expertise. There is a menu, you choose what you want, when you want it, wrapped in the expertise of a dedicated professional. You don’t need your stove and the ‘meal’ comes to you much more quickly with much less work from your side. The result? Quality, reliable availability, and choice. Even better, using the cloud as a test environment reduces costs without sacrificing quality. And you don not need to clear up the mess.
Businesses are no longer debating whether to move to the cloud — 90% of organisations are there, and 86% of companies believe the cloud is essential to digital transformation. Most have used some sort of as-a-Service cloud offering, whether Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) to access physical storage and servers, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), for applications like Google Docs and Gmail, or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). PaaS is where software testing comes in. This service provides the entire development and testing environment on demand. And it is becoming popular — the global PaaS market is expected to grow from $47.29 billion in 2020 to $54.09 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate of 14.4%.
“The DevOps philosophy, development combined with operations, is driving some of the growth of software testing in the cloud,” says Mandla Mbonambi, CEO of Africonology, “It’s in their interests — developers need continuous and rapid release cycles; operations need high efficiency and low latency. Cloud-based testing brings both.”
The efficiencies come with rapid test infrastructure, scalable provisioning and automated test data generation. Teams can test wherever and whenever they want, without the bottlenecks that legacy infrastructure often encounters. Endless manual testing goes away – much of it can now be automated in preconfigured test environments and labs. Assets in the cloud are automatically updated too, which in turn reduces system redundancies and other inefficiencies.
Cost reductions come in the shape of on-demand (SaaS) test tooling, rapid test environment configuration, the reduced cost of fixing defects, and the ability to scale usage to suit time-bound needs. There is no infrastructure maintenance and licencing either.
Collaboration hiccups fade away when teams use shared assets and insights, with the benefit of transparency around progress and obstacles. No one is waiting for their turn to test their application and no one is waiting for their go with a testing device. Cloud testing tools provide access to virtual and real devices without delays. It is perfect for distributed teams too – QA talent can be hired from anywhere with cloud-based tools with no need for a physical office.
Ready, steady, …
You will need to prepare before you move to software testing in the cloud, and this involves:
- Checking that your network is robust: The hardware and platform are safe in the cloud, but access means your internet connection cannot, and must not go down. Perhaps you need a secondary connection, with automatic rerouting if the traffic is too heavy on one.
- Deciding what you want and checking that you get it: What are your expectations in terms of errors found, speed of service, reliability, and so on? Make a list and discuss them with your service provider. It will help with the next step too.
- Working with your provider to check the quality of your staging area. This is where all the testing, configurations and setup are. Do not go live until you have tested it to ensure that it meets your needs.
- Security, security, security: Make sure that the cloud security barrier will take care of your company’s sensitive information. You may want to use security testing tools to check it yourself, and run a disaster recovery test to confirm that your vendor is reliable in emergencies.
Now your team can prepare to switch to cloud-based testing by familiarising themselves with the types of testing, tools and environments out there. Then move on to enjoy the speed, performance, scalability and efficiency of software testing in the cloud, all at a lower cost than traditional testing processes.