Posted by:Monica Samuel January 24th, 2012

Software testing typically accounts for 50% of total development costs and consumes minimum 30% of productive time. Maintaining a test environment is as complex as it is critical to the quality of deliverables. An increasing number of businesses are realizing the cost and administrative benefits of cloud-based IT systems. Simultaneously, they are looking towards investing in cloud-based applications or at least using cloud-based testing platforms for application testing.

Recently, IBM acquired Green Hat – a software quality and testing products provider for enterprise developers working on cloud-based applications. CA also acquired ITKO some time back for cloud-based testing services. Obviously, the need for cloud-based software testing services is rising and we can expect a spurt in demand for qualified developers this year. By moving IT infrastructure to the cloud – private, public or hybrid – enterprises cut down on capital investment and the effort and resources that go into maintenance, security management and infrastructure. However, like any other enterprise application, cloud-based apps too have to pass Quality Assurance (QA) tests for performance, stability,scalability, availability, user design, and security.

Cloud testing involves building a test environment that comes with additional CPU and memory requirements. While it offers a number of long-term benefits, migrating testing to the cloud needs heavy initial investments. For this reason, internal provisioning doesn’t make financial sense for all enterprises. Instead, enterprises can consider outsourcing cloud testing services to providers that offer cloud-based Testing-as-a-Service (TaaS) – this includes end-to-end or select services, providing the necessary infrastructure, testing tools, licenses and provisioning.

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The cost of simulation can be very expensive in terms of resource and time for an enterprise – for example, simulating peak load, executing a range of user scenarios, etc. With additional complications of distributed work environments and/or a user base spread across geographies, testing becomes time-consuming, arduous, and even inaccurate. Cloud-based testing platforms create a virtual environment wherein a number of IT infrastructure issues and problems can be simulated for developers to test their apps against, without any hardware and software constraints. The test environment can be readied in a very short time and at a fraction of the cost, helping independent developers and product companies accelerate time-to-market while maintaining the quality of deliverables.

The various kind of testing procedures done on the cloud include stress testing, load testing, performance testing, functional testing, compatibility testing, browser performance testing, and latency testing. Cloud service vendors even provide virtual instances of test environments for automated testing of non-internet enterprise applications.

Overall web reliability of enterprise applications has often been compromised because of the high cost and infrastructure involved in load/performance testing. The cloud’s low cost and accessibility to large computing resources circumvents these restrictions to a large degree, enabling small and mid-sized enterprises to maintain QA standards along with minimizing start-up time.

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