As with other benefits of using cloud services, software testing on the cloud helps reduce costs incurred and time spent to put a software through its paces. Since software development businesses — and tech or software startups in particular — operate in an environment of cut-throat competition, any opportunities to reduce costs and improve time-to-market for their products are welcome.
In a scenario where software companies are adopting DevOps and CloudDevOps practices to get a leg up on the competition, taking software testing also to the cloud is only a natural next step.
In general, software development companies have to be as delicate (or flexible) as ballet dancers and as swift as the world’s fastest athlete — one Usain Bolt — if they want to grow and thrive against the competition.
The benefits of cloud testing — or cloud-based testing — are numerous — not the least of which is the scalability offered thanks to the on-demand service model of the public cloud. Multiple tests in parallel become possible as you are no longer faced with infrastructure constraints.
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Cloud-Based Testing Is Here to Stay
The advantages of taking software testing to the cloud may have been particularly obvious during the days of the Covid pandemic. While that pandemic may be a small dot in the rear-view mirror now, cloud software testing isn’t going anywhere.
For example, cloud-based testing enables easy collaboration among distant team members for quicker test cycles — whether social distancing is a factor or not.
When you add other benefits, such as cost reduction and benefits from the virtualization environments implemented on public cloud, cloud testing has some unbeatable advantages over traditional software testing approaches.
Testing Creates Robust Hardware & Software
While we are concerned here with testing software to create bug-free apps that work as desired — on different browsers or different mobile devices or under different workloads and so forth — hardware also undergo testing to ensure they work as desired.
For example, you don’t want to take chances when choosing a launch vehicle for sending a $10 billion payload a million miles into space or sending a rover to Mars or sending a mission to the ‘new frontier’ of Pluto and Charon.
Going back more than 50 years, the Apollo Lunar Module/lunar lander was also extensively tested.
NASA shook, froze, fried, and dropped the test Lunar Rover so that the actual Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) could perform perfectly on the Lunar surface.
“The rovers that revolutionized lunar exploration on the Apollo 15, 16, and 17 missions had to be left behind at the Hadley-Apennine, Descartes Highlands, and Taurus-Littrow landing sites, respectively.”
More on testing of the Lunar Module/lunar lander.
With software too, there is testing needed.
There’s beauty in details. Plus, when you know something in detail — or know what it takes to produce something — you appreciate the thing even more.
Take newspapers. Or, guitars. Or, a Steinway Grand.
Things change. Times Square of the 1900s or 1920s isn’t the same as the Times Square of 2020s.
It’s the same with software testing.
To revise the basics of cloud software testing …
What is Cloud Software Testing
Cloud testing is simply utilizing cloud environments and cloud infrastructure — VMs and other accouterments — to test a software, to put it through its paces, and to measure its capabilities such as performance, stability, functionality, and more.
Whereas traditional on-premise testing faces limitations such as testing budgets, deadlines, and hardware/equipment limitations, cloud software testing takes advantage of the cloud’s scalable nature. When you take testing to the cloud, you convert fixed Capital Expenditure into flexible Operational Expenditure.
This is definitely a welcome cost-saving opportunity for SMB software testing companies.
We cover the types of cloud testing next but those interested in a deep dive into cloud testing and its various implications, here’s a systematic literature review that surveys the topic of cloud testing over the period from 2012 to 2017.
What Are the Types of Cloud Software Testing
Software testing in the traditional software company set-up involves travelling down a well-worn path since the types of testing and the reasons for performing them are all proven and well-established. It’s all settled. When it comes to these types of software testing, we elaborate on a few below.
As to software cloud testing, if a software test can be conducted on-premises, it can also be conducted using cloud resources or on the cloud — occasionally, in a much more efficient manner.
Software stress testing is a kind of testing to measure the ability of the software to ‘work under stress/pressure.’ Stress testing is also categorized under Performance Testing.
Software is tested to check how it performs under high traffic conditions — a spike test is performed to simulate performance under traffic spikes and a soak test is performed to check the software performance when there is sustained high traffic.
It’s the software version of testing aircraft wings by stretching them — in both upward and downward directions — beyond their operational limits — be it an Airbus A350 wing or a Boeing 787 Dreamliner wing.
The benefit of cloud software testing in the context of stress testing is that you can leverage the cloud’s scalability and avoid significant capital expenditures to create on-premises server (and other hardware) infrastructure for testing purposes.
Software for booking tickets for movies or ecommerce software might undergo such spikes on occasion and stress testing will ensure that they work as desired rather than crashing.
Software load testing is one more type of Performance Testing. Load testing is a kind of ‘testing to failure’ where the workload is steadily increased on an application to find out its load-handling limit. With such testing, the operational limits of a software can be discovered.
If you want to test a piece of SaaS (Software as a Service)-based software to find out how many users it can handle simultaneously, you can steadily increase the number of users in a test environment.
To create thousands, hundreds of thousands, and ultimately millions of users in a test set-up, it’s best to go for cloud testing as you can hire cloud infrastructure for a fee on a pay-as-you-go basis whereas you’d need to spend millions to build such infrastructure on-premises.
Such performance testing enables organizations to determine the baseline performance characteristics of their software and applications including loading time, server response time, breaking points, etc.
Cloud software testing is egregiously well-suited for performance testing because you can hire the necessary cloud infrastructure for performing the tests without making huge capital expenditures.
Functional testing is about making sure that things are working as expected and as desired. It is testing for little things like whether the log in function is working perfectly or not and other functional aspects of the application.
User experience (UX) of any app is paramount and UX should remain consistent despite continuous updates being rolled out. When functional testing is moved to the cloud, it’s easier to provision the necessary resources for performing the tests. Thus, the speed of testing increases despite business requirements changing frequently.
Latency testing is about testing the response times of a web page to perform various tasks such as loading images or other page elements. Latency testing also tests the performance of a web page under conditions of slow internet connections.
Cloud-based testing and monitoring tools give updated information about how your website or app is doing at all times.
Software or applications need to work consistently across a wide gamut of devices including desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. They also need to work smoothly on different browsers.
Compatibility testing checks software and applications precisely to see their behavior on diverse hardware/operating systems as well as different browsers.
When compatibility testing is performed using cloud resources such as virtualization, software and apps can be tested across a broader spectrum — in terms of hardware, OS, and browsers.
Smoke testing of software has an old heritage going back to the testing of plumbing systems for detection of cracks, leaks, etc.
In software testing context, smoke testing is a preliminary test of software meant to answer basic questions such as “does the application run.”
Smoke testing can benefit from cloud testing paradigm by utilizing’s cloud’s anytime and anywhere capability.
Benefits of Cloud Software Testing
There are several advantages of testing on the cloud compared to traditional testing paradigm and methodologies.
The common benefits that cloud offers such as scalability and pay-as-you-go can be harnessed by opting for cloud testing. Apart from these, there are testing-specific benefits pertaining to cloud testing.
Here are the major advantages of adopting a cloud testing strategy:
- Cost Savings – Setting up testing hardware on premises is surely going to cost a lot of money. When you choose cloud resources, you pay for whatever resources you use for cloud testing on a pay-as-you-go basis thus saving on capital expenditure as well as on maintenance and upgrade expenses too.
- Scalability – It’s a core benefit of public cloud that cloud resources are eminently scalable; i.e., in the context of cloud testing, you can increase or decrease the cloud compute resources and pay only for as much resources as you need. You can always provision exactly the amount of resources you need — neither any idle resources nor any shortage of testing hardware delaying your testing activities.
- Customized Test Facility – Customized or optimized test environments on the cloud When you hire cloud testing resources, you get testing environments that are properly optimized with the right hardware-software configuration always in place. Performance and load testing becomes possible in numerous combinations and permutations of scenarios. So, you have one less thing to worry about as you focus on the actual testing.
- Easy Accessibility – Seamlessly accessible resources When you opt for cloud-based testing, testers have 24X7 access to resources. Armed with such round-the-clock, you are better placed to take care of any changes in test cases or any client requests. When teams can access resources any time, they can also be based anywhere, in any time zone.
- Speed – Improved testing speed/parallel testing You can test on more operating systems across more platforms and devices in less time when you are using cloud testing resources. This kind of parallel testing saves testing time and is a good fit for agile development methodologies as well as CI (Continuous Integration)-based workflows.
- Reduce Manpower – Increased automation testing Cloud-based automation testing tools will certainly let you optimize your employee allocation.
- Better/Simpler Disaster Recovery – With all testing done on premises, having backups and disaster recovery capabilities require costly investments. However, with cloud testing, recovering assets in the event of a disaster can be as easy as clicking a few buttons with a mouse. Public cloud providers will typically store data on multiple servers and in separate locations; hence, restoring data is a built-in capability of cloud platforms.
- DevOps compatibility – With DevOps practices being much in vogue in the software development industry, CloudDevOps is a natural progression and cloud testing fits perfectly with DevOps practices where silos are sought to be removed and Development and Operations are expected to become more integrated with each other.
Some Challenges with Cloud Software Testing
Naturally, with all the advantages that come with cloud testing, there are some associated challenges to keep in mind as well.
Among the challenges with cloud software testing are:
Vendor lock-in Various public cloud providers develop their own unique cloud architectures and offer their unique services. While these may look attractive on their own, if things change and you wish to change your cloud service provider, you may discover that these services are not transferable to other cloud service providers.
Some cloud service providers may ask for annual fees or even longer-term agreements. In such circumstances, you may be stuck with a cloud provider even if you wish to shift since you have paid for certain services for certain durations.
However, Ace Cloud Hosting provides OpenStack-based cloud architecture which is interoperable with other public clouds. ACH also has monthly billing with maximum transparency.
Security and privacy issues Security of data residing on the cloud may be an issue if the cloud service provider does not adhere to security best practices such as having DDoS protection or providing anti-ransomware protection by default.
Along with having other security measures available on demand including cloud firewalls and cloud Security Information and Even Management (SIEM)/Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR).
Compliance Issues In certain scenarios, you may need to comply with some regulatory requirements such as HIPAA or GDPR. The cloud service provider has to comply with those standards and regulations before you can take your business to that cloud service provider.
SLA fine print You need to go through the Service Level Agreement (SLA) with a fine-toothed comb so that everything mentioned in it is crystal clear as to who bears responsibility about what. Things such as data backup assurances and uptime guarantees pertaining to different aspects of the cloud services should be mentioned clearly in the SLA.
Hidden costs Provisioning of various compute, memory, GPU resources may be automatic — that’s one of the advantages of using cloud; it’s scalable. However, you should be clear about the implications of exceeding your assigned ‘quota’ of cloud resources.
How does the cloud service provider charge you when you consume more resources in the midst of a billing cycle? Such scenarios should be clearly taken care of in the FAQs section of the cloud service provider in their Billing section. Unexpectedly high bills at the end of the month can be deal breakers and nasty surprises that are best avoided.
However, if you are clear about your requirements from a cloud testing service and if you assess cloud service providers carefully before signing on the dotted line, there aren’t likely to be any surprises and everything will be just smooth sailing.
When you have a clear testing strategy pertaining to your cloud software testing plans and you provision the right cloud infrastructure — including testing tools, software, compute, RAM, networking — you can make sure that your cloud testing project will be a satisfactory and profitable experience.
When experience QA professionals spearhead your cloud testing project, you can gain significant advantages with cost reductions and time savings.
Something that is properly tested has a greater likelihood of being ultimately a fabulous product or project. It’s not just cloud testing or cloud software testing — all the tests that JWST went through prior to its launch ensured that things have gone spectacularly well so far and we are ready to be wowed by the first scientific observation made by it.
Finally, if you want to best your competition then you should adopt cloud testing in your organization. Ace Public Cloud can help you take advantage of all that cloud computing and cloud testing offers.
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