Benefits And Challenges Of Cloud-Based Testing

By Deepshikha Shukla

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Testing as a Service (TaaS) enables running as many tests in parallel as needed. This helps perform cloud-based tests faster than those that are hosted on local hardware.

Cloud-based testing utilises cloud-based tools to emulate real-world environments and user traffic. It can be applied for testing cloud, Web and installed applications. Providers of cloud testing services and tools offer test environments that can be configured according to the application’s requirements.

Cloud technology has given rise to Testing as a Service (TaaS), which allows organisations to outsource their testing efforts. TaaS can be used for overall software testing as well as for conducting specialised types of testing such as performance, security or functional.

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Before choosing the type of cloud-based testing, it is important to consider the benefits and challenges of cloud-based testing.

A cloud-based test grid makes it easy to test an application against a large variety of environments without setting up any infrastructure. A test cloud can collect and display data about test results that can help quality analysis teams to understand why some tests fail for reasons that are hard to track down. It can also help collect and interpret this data from a local test grid.

Cloud-based testing offers a number of advantages for organisations to run tests on a recurring basis as part of continuous delivery pipelines. It allows organisations to significantly reduce the time and cost for software testing.

Continuous practices
Continuous practices

Benefits of Testing as a Service

TaaS enables running as many tests in parallel as needed. This helps perform cloud-based tests faster than those that are hosted on local hardware. So, one does not have to wait for one test to complete to use the infrastructure to run the next one. Capacity of the test infrastructure is virtually unlimited in cloud testing, which further increases speed.

Advanced test clouds enable the ability to record videos of tests in action to use at a later time. This can be tremendously useful when there is a need to troubleshoot a test or gain deeper insight.

When a new version of a testing framework is deployed, it needs to add tests for a new type of device or operating system. With a cloud test grid, updates happen automatically, and cloud test vendors handle software updates for the users. This means users can spend more time improving their apps, while someone else keeps their test grid up-to-date. Cloud testing enables them to perform tests on real devices, while also providing access to simulators.

Cloud computing allows testers to increase or decrease computing resources according to their needs. It lets them use the testing environment they need at the moment and pay only for that environment. Users can have all the software and hardware they might need at their disposal, while only paying for it when they actually use it.

Cloud-based testing avoids any errors made during environment configuration and their repetition across all devices. Software testing in the cloud is available to testers at anytime, anywhere. Cloud-based testing allows software companies to better implement DevOps, which requires collaboration between developers and testers.

Types of cloud testing

The following order may be helpful for testers in getting ready to use cloud-based testing tools:

  1. Set clear objectives.
  2. Create testing strategy.
  3. Plan the infrastructure.
  4. Select a reliable provider.
  5. Determine service access.
  6. Use free trials.
  7. Monitor and analyse test results.

In cloud environment, any application can be subjected to three types of testing: functional, non-functional and ability.

Functional testing

This ensures that the software meets functional requirements, which can be of three types:

  • System testing that analyses the system’s behaviour and design, and how it meets the customer’s expectations.
  • Acceptance testing that ensures whether the application meets certain needs of its users.
  • Integration testing that proves that the application is compatible with different platforms and works well while moving from one cloud infrastructure to another.

Non-functional testing

This allows checking the non-functional aspects of software such as its performance, usability and reliability. This can be done at three levels:

  • Business requirement testing that verifies how precisely an application meets the specified business requirements.
  • Security testing to ensure that data is stored and transmitted safely.
  • Scalability and performance testing to measure software response time while the system is subjected to increasing load.

Ability testing

This verifies whether users really receive application services on demand. To check this, the test team can conduct the following types of testing:

  • Compatibility and interoperability testing to evaluate the application’s compatibility with various environments and platforms.
  • Disaster recovery testing to evaluate disaster recovery time and ensure that the application becomes available to users again with minimum data loss.
  • Multi-tenancy testing to verify whether the application can ensure a sufficient level of security and access control when multiple users invoke it in the cloud.

Challenges of cloud-based testing

Although cloud-based testing has many benefits for assuring quality, it also has operational challenges that the testers should be ready to overcome. Vendors of cloud-based tools provide terms and conditions of their cloud services that differentiate the responsibilities of the vendor and the cloud user.

There is a lack of standards for how testers can integrate internal resources of their companies’ data centres with public cloud resources. Since architectures and operating models are developed by public cloud providers, these cloud services have little interoperability. Thus, testers may face compatibility issues if they want to switch cloud vendors because different cloud vendors might not offer the same services.

Security in the cloud still raises many concerns, as encryption techniques are far from perfect. There are still concerns about security of data that may be stored in a remote location beyond a company’s legal jurisdiction. While providers guarantee round-the-clock availability of their services, even the least bit of downtime can cause negative consequences to testing processes.

Types of testing in the cloud (Credit: www.apriorit.com)
Types of testing in the cloud (Credit: www.apriorit.com)

Before selecting cloud-based testing tools, it is necessary to make sure the provider offers all configurations, storage and technologies that are needed, as it may be difficult to emulate customer environments if some configurations are not supported by the provider.

Moreover, creating a test environment that includes all necessary settings and data can be time-consuming for testers.

Although, vendors inform their clients about prices for their cloud-based services, improper use of test environments may significantly increase costs. To avoid hidden costs, testers should thoroughly plan their test environments to take into account additional costs such as for data encryption and monitoring the use of cloud resources.

Future of cloud technology in measurement

Cloud-based testing offers Web-based access to real devices spread globally and connected through live networks, providing end-to-end control for manual and automated testing practices. For teams spread across different locations, cloud-based test management platforms make collaboration possible. Users can log in from anywhere in the world, at any time, on any device and get access to the test environment.

Cloud-based tools provide real-time report generation and upgradation. This makes it infinitely easier to share important data, track and communicate with each other. A tester in any company office can connect to the cloud and select the machine he or she wants to test an application on. Every time the tester adds a piece of code, tests it and then redeploys it, the app immediately moves to production and release. This allows all members of the project team to collaborate in real time on a test so that problems can be identified and resolved rapidly.

Cloud-based tools have 24/7 support, and users should seek a contract where they are compensated for any downtime. Cloud-based tools reduce IT management tasks like installation, adding or replacing users, licensing and upgrades in systems across geographies. Users have a simple browser log-in that is accessible on any device, and they should be able to add or remove licences whenever they need to. Cloud-based test management tools are flexible and agile-friendly.

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