SLAs and Cloud Testing

A test team’s job is to report test results, not set or guarantee that you will meet the SLAs.

In the rush to cloud services, with everything-as-a-service, you will hear people talking about SLAs. What is this about and what does it have to do with testing?

A Service Level Agreement, or SLA, is a contract a service provider promises for a defined level of service, such as response time, throughput or capacity.

When a customer signs up for service, the provider promises, in contract, certain levels of service. The most important aspect is usually availability. 

Availability is the ability to access the system. Everyone wants their service available all the time. This is an impossibility for both good and bad reasons. Good reasons – downtime, patches, new build migration and system upgrades. Bad reasons – system crashes, security problems – denial of service, network/infrastructure problems.

Downtime happens and SLAs are meant to provide a promise from the provider, of how available the system will be.

This is an important part of marketing, sales and contracts for any cloud service provider, from HP and Amazon to consumer products in the cloud like Netflix and Foursquare.

Gartner analyst Lyida Leong blogged that Amazon Web Services, which Gartner named a market-leader in infrastructure-as-a-service cloud computing, has the “dubious status of ‘worst SLA (service level agreement) of any major cloud provider.” She also wrote, “HP’s newly available public cloud service could be even worse.”

What are reasonable SLAs for availability? What is common? The answer differs based on the service. For example, many people use “4 9s” which represents 99.99% uptime:

Think about this: for four nines availability allows 1 minute downtime per week. Wow. How safe do you think it is for a company to guarantee this? In one full year, that means down time of less than an hour.

So what does this mean for testing? Testing SLAs is all about system performance testing; load testing, stress testing. It is measurement of the various attributes of the product; capacity, response time, against agreed upon standards. What you have to remember is a test team’s job is to report test results, not set or guarantee you will meet the SLAs.

Michael Hackett
Michael is a co-founder of LogiGear Corporation, and has over two decades of experience in software engineering in banking, securities, healthcare and consumer electronics. Michael is a Certified Scrum Master and has co-authored two books on software testing. Testing Applications on the Web: Test Planning for Mobile and Internet-Based Systems (Wiley, 2nd ed. 2003), and Global Software Test Automation (Happy About Publishing, 2006). He is a founding member of the Board of Advisors at the University of California Berkeley Extension and has taught for the Certificate in Software Quality Engineering and Management at the University of California Santa Cruz Extension. As a member of IEEE, his training courses have brought Silicon Valley testing expertise to over 16 countries. Michael holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

The Related Post

Introduction Everything changes. It’s the only constant. The landscape of software testing is undergoing a fast and dramatic change driven by societal, business and technology changes that have placed software everywhere. Computing is ubiquitous. There is hardly anything today that doesn’t contain a CPU or information transmission capability, with software to drive it. From smart toasters ...
As a software development company, what is your goal? What is the one thing you feel you need to do to ensure you have a job at the beginning of each wonderful work week? The answer is actually quite simple; You need to deliver a quality product. Like how I used the word simple? Although the answer I ...
From the culture shift, to differences in Agile, Dave Farley and Michael Hackett discuss the nitty gritty of Testing in DevOps. For this issue of LogiGear Magazine, our very own Michael Hackett sat down with one of the godfathers of Continuous Delivery, David Farley. In this exclusive interview, David discusses how test teams and automation ...
How Halliburton leveraged outsourcing to achieve their goals. Organizations are focusing on speed, both in Continuous Integration and rapid deployment as a competitive advantage. Many software development organizations can significantly shorten development cycles by implementing one or a combination of Agile practices, continuous integration & deployment methods, and feature branches. While these frameworks and techniques ...
Making the leap to CT is easier than you think— follow this guide to transform your testing process No pain, no gain! Achieving Continuous Testing shouldn’t take a “Hans and Franz” attitude. It should be painless, more like a natural progression from implementing certain practices over time.
Special considerations that should be applied to an application running in the cloud. Over the last weeks, I have found myself in several rather intense discussions about “cloud testing”: what it is, what it isn’t, and what it means for testing and QA professionals. The major source of confusion in these discussions usually revolves around ...
Over the years we’ve provided an extensive number of articles, videos, and infographics that provide a wealth of knowledge about Continuous Delivery.
LogiGear University announces the launch of a new, free video series on Testing in DevOps and Continuous Testing which is available today.
Do you want to speed up your automated tests by a factor of 10 and deploy your application continuously? In this article we share how the JIRA development team at Atlassian has accomplished this using Stages in Bamboo. Stages have allowed the JIRA Development team to take a week’s worth of testing and condense it ...
Fitting QA into a modern DevOps group In a traditional software engineering organization, the QA group is often seen as separate from the Development group. Developers and testers have different roles, different responsibilities, different job descriptions, and different management. They are two distinct entities. However, for folks outside the engineering team – say in Operations ...
It is a fundamental role for testing teams to align their test design, test automation, and test case development with DevOps–not only to verify that code changes work but that the changes do not break the product. A key differentiator of DevOps is testing maturity. An organization can automate their integration, testing, delivery, and monitor, ...
It’s no secret that the cloud is growing at an exponential rate. By 2016, two-thirds of the world’s server workloads will exist in the cloud. But according to Cisco’s 2012 Cloud Index, less than half of server workloads currently run in the cloud. Closing the gap between current capabilities and future requirements is a mission-critical ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay in the loop with the lastest
software testing news

Subscribe