Cloud testing: Why, what, when and how?

In recent memory, cloud computing has morphed from a much-hyped but not used technology into something that is now central to just about every business imaginable. For example, according to one 2014 study, the percentage of apps hosted in the cloud is expected to rise from 20 percent in 2013 to 35 percent by 2017. By 2020, it’s possible that next to nothing will be on-premises in the traditional sense anymore.

As part of this broader trend, enterprise test management has also been shifting to the cloud of late. Cloud testing is an increasingly popular option, but like it was with the cloud itself during the technology’s earliest days, there is still some confusion about what it is and what it actually entails.

What is cloud testing?
Essentially, any time you use an enterprise test management solution or otherwise conduct testing in a hosted, virtual, off-premises environment, you’re engaged you’re engaged in cloud testing. Despite the confusion that surrounds the term, cloud testing is really just any test that’s run in the cloud.

A cloud-hosted testing environment can apply to any kind of software, not just software-as-a-service or a cloud app. While programs made specifically for the cloud are presently the most likely to be tested in the cloud, cloud testing works for any kind of software or app no matter where it will be hosted in the end.

Why should you consider cloud testing?
Cloud testing provides a number of distinct benefits to software development, operations and testing professionals:

  • It enables you to run tests and use enterprise test management software without having to outright buy the underlying hardware, enabling you to eliminate CAPEX expenses and only have relatively low monthly operational fees to worry about.
  • It allows you to easily scale your tests up and down as needed, as scalability is one of the cloud’s central tenets.
  • It provides you with the opportunity to more effectively determine how the final software or app will function under real-life conditions.
  • It can better facilitate collaboration among developers and testers, especially if team members are remote.
  • It is typically better optimized for DevOps agile workflows than an on-premises environment.
  • It is highly customizable, enabling you to tweak just about all elements to more effectively fine-tune all tests.
  • It is generally highly reliable, as your cloud service provider maintains the environment for you and will likely provide a service-level agreement to guarantee that.

When is the right time to adopt cloud testing?
Any time can be the right time to adopt cloud testing, as you don’t need to meet a very strict set of criteria before beginning with it. However, it can be helpful to ensure that you and your team have at least a rough set of guidelines to follow set of guidelines to follow when first adopting cloud testing in a significant way.

First and foremost, organizations need a firm use case for cloud testing. This could be as simple as wanting to experiment with it to see if it’s right for you. However, it’s entirely possible that cloud testing is not right for you. If you can’t establish a firm use case for cloud testing, then it may not be the right option for you at the moment.

In addition, teams need to make sure they have the right tools, resources and know-how for cloud testing. Do you have an enterprise test management tool that’s built with the cloud in mind? Do you have easy access to reliable cloud infrastructure? Does someone on your team know enough about cloud environments and how they behave? Cloud testing is right for you only when all of these questions can be answered in the affirmative.

How can you go about cloud testing?
Cloud testing is usually a fairly straightforward process, in that tests run the same more or less no matter where they are hosted. Once a use case for cloud testing has been established, the next step is to sign up with a cloud hosting provider to get access to the resources you need. Then, be sure your quality assurance team is equipped to use the cloud, and this may mean getting the proper training.

The last key test is to obtain an enterprise test management tool designed specially for the cloud. Software testing professionals have many options at their disposal in this regard, but the best option is to seek a cloud-centric solution made by the same people responsible for other tools you already know and love.

It may be time to now start testing in the cloud.

Sanjay Zalavadia
As the VP of Client Service for Zephyr, Sanjay brings over 15 years of leadership experience in IT and Technical Support Services. Throughout his career, Sanjay has successfully established and grown premier IT and Support Services teams across multiple geographies for both large and small companies. Most recently, he was Associate Vice President at Patni Computers (NYSE: PTI) responsible for the Telecoms IT Managed Services Practice where he established IT Operations teams supporting Virgin Mobile, ESPN Mobile, Disney Mobile and Carphone Warehouse. Prior to this Sanjay was responsible for Global Technical Support at Bay Networks, a leading routing and switching vendor, which was acquired by Nortel. Sanjay has also held management positions in Support Service organizations at start-up Silicon Valley Networks, a vendor of Test Management software, and SynOptics.