The industry is indeed talking more openly and volubly about cloud testing now. The cloud may always be virtual, but you can still test in it, of it and for it.
By now, most of us have gotten used to the idea of cloud computing. When a technology starts to feature in consumer advertisements without every really explaining what it is, then - arguably - it has reached critical mass. Think about the number of shampoo or skin treatment ads you’ve seen with products featuring new WonderwhizzTM (not real) granules. It’s something fabulous and seemingly inexplicable that provides a new experience… and you don’t even need to know how they make it.
That’s kind of like cloud computing to a degree.
The idea is that the cloud services provider handles all the backend engine room work to host your applications and databases and supplies them as-a-Service down the Internet pipe. Customers don’t need to worry about keeping servers online or even installing updates to applications, because that all happens at the backend. What the customer sees at the front end is a virtualization of a computing department, which (obviously) is why we refer to cloud instances running on Virtual Machines (VMs).
Shampoo cloud magic
So with cloud, you don’t need to worry about your apps and data at all and you can just focus on getting a nice rinse and blow dry because the shampoo did all the magic, right? The answer is yes, to a degree, but also no, because cloud computing is so inherently dynamic.
This leads us to the cloudy (sorry) area of cloud testing, so what is it? Strictly speaking we could define cloud testing in two ways:
● Cloud testing is the process of testing your application and database performance in the cloud, to make sure that it is fit for purpose.
● Cloud testing is also the process of testing your application and database deployments in ‘test clouds’ before deployment, to make sure that you’re ‘provisioning’ for the right amount and type of cloud resources.
In practice, we normally refer to the first bullet above as cloud monitoring leaving the second bullet to more directly refer to cloud testing as an experimentation and investigation process. That being said, the two are inherently similar and share a lot of overlap.
Test management consultant at NTT DATA UK Pooja Tyagi says that whether an organization is looking to extend an existing application, or build something entirely new, using cloud-based resources can save you time and money.
“There are real advantages to moving your development and testing test efforts to the cloud, regardless of your application deployment or the size of your organization. From the testing process itself to developer collaboration options across the cloud, in many ways, the cloud model is a much better alternative to manual testing on a company’s infrastructure,” said Tyagi.
She explains that testing in the cloud incorporates and encompasses issues including availability (i.e. uptime), security, performance (i.e. speed), interoperability, disaster recovery and multi-tenancy (i.e. ability to host multiple Virtual Machines on one server) testing.
“Testing is performed in three distinct areas of cloud: infrastructure, platform and service. The aim of cloud testing is to ensure high quality service delivery and help avoiding data outages by comprising of testing inside and outside datacenter,” said Tyagi.
Simulation for load testing
NTT DATA’s Tyagi explains that using the cloud for testing is helping organizations to acquire the required tools, software licenses, infrastructures at a very low cost without having to set it up themselves and later worry about its maximum utilization.
"Cloud testers can use the cloud to generate massive distributed load tests, simulate a large number of mobile devices, or run functional and performance monitors from all over the world," she said.
In summary then, the industry is indeed talking more openly and volubly about cloud testing now. We know that cloud tests will need to be run over an enterprise’s whole cloud estate, inside specific instances of cloud, across different (public, private & hybrid) clouds… and inside specific cloud application functions.
The cloud may always be virtual, but you can still test in it, of it and for it.
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