By Software Magazine Staff
As technology evolves to the cloud it often adds complexity, testing tools are no exception. “People talk about how the cloud simplifies things, but for businesses, the cloud can add complications. A company’s cloud strategy may include a single cloud application, cloud services, hosted solutions on a private cloud, public cloud, or any combination. Most large firms have a hybrid cloud approach, which includes all of the above,” says Shoeb Javed, CTO, Worksoft.
Enterprises benefit from having a choice in solutions, and cost savings is an advantage to many cloud-based applications. Software as a service (SaaS) implementations typically enable subscription or pay-as-you-go models, which are appealing to many organizations. “Cloud and SaaS solutions eliminate the need to implement on-premises test solutions and pay for them as capital expenditures. Instead, SaaS pricing enables them to pay for test costs as operational expenses,” says Tom Fisher, senior manager, product marketing, Borland, a Micro Focus Company. This approach also allows a company to add additional on-demand test capacity.
Cloud solutions can reduce investment costs because an enterprise doesn’t have to set up test labs for different projects, which is especially important for enterprises with multiple geographical locations or projects to test. “Additionally, the cloud offers standardized infrastructure, which means testing errors that arise due to inaccurate configurations are significantly reduced. Time-to-market is drastically reduced as companies don’t have to worry about setting up a test environment or installing software,” points out Nikhil Kaul, product marketing manager, SmartBear Software.
Agile enterprises stand to benefit most from cloud-based testing solutions, according to Wolfgang Platz, CPO/founder, Tricentis. “Cloud-based solutions are a good fit for agile enterprises looking for a solution that allows fast access for remote team members in various time zones, would like to avoid hardware costs, and are looking for solutions that are easily scalable,” he says.
Some testing providers already leverage cloud solutions to provide real-time analytics and actionable data. Brad Johnson, VP, product marketing, SOASTA, believes other testing providers will follow suit. “It is a given that test automation will enable faster development cycles. However, as the ability to include actual user data is incorporated, enterprises will be able to better utilize real-time user behavior to provide better business metrics,” he says.
Cloud-based solutions work for nearly any enterprise, but adoption is common among smaller and larger companies, rather than mid-sized ones, suggests Genefa Murphy, VP, product marketing, application delivery management, HP Software. For smaller businesses, the cloud is appealing because it’s associated with flexible pay methods and lab-free access to testing, explains Murphy. For larger enterprises, it’s practical due to of the decentralization of IT and because they’re often looking for quick, easy solutions for line-of-business applications.
Worksoft’s Javed notes that for business process testing, “the cloud offers a host of possibilities that are appealing to large enterprises—faster deployment of new technologies, more affordability, and improved sustainability of technology platforms.”
Easy setup and access to new features and security updates are also benefits, observes Brian Harry, corporate VP, Microsoft Developer Division, Microsoft. He believes the cloud presents an opportunity for a variety of testing, albeit with a caveat. “A cloud-based solution is a good fit for the vast number of enterprises and for those that it doesn’t go well with, a hybrid solution may be the right fit. There are always some exceptions, however, and some sectors, such as healthcare or finance, may be subjected to regulations on using cloud-based solutions,” he notes.
The need for increased security is an oft-cited limitation of the cloud approach. “Many forward-thinking organizations have started to leverage cloud solutions, while more conservative industries where security is top-of-mind tend to look towards traditional solutions or on-premises offerings,” observes Daniel Levy, director of product strategy, ALM, Telerik.
SmartBear’s Kaul also sees drawbacks, noting that, “the network latency means results take a longer to get updated than on-premises software. Public clouds are often shared among many testers so availability can be challenging.”
Although the cloud isn’t a universal panacea for testing, most vendors view cloud solutions as a still-maturing option that will only become more relevant as time goes on.
“As cloud integration continues, test automation is going to have instant scalability and high availability from tool and infrastructure perspectives going forward. Having seen the evolution of solutions from desktop to Web to mobile, the core concepts of the tools will remain ‘traditional’ ones going forward but the operating environment will become more cloud-based,” says Shah.
Fisher believes on premises and SaaS solutions will combine even more in the future, with industry leaders identified by the ability to offer elastic solutions to enterprises.
“Hybrid test environments will be as popular and as widespread as hybrid computing environments. Organizations may choose to use on-premises tests for steady-state testing and then burst into the cloud when additional test capacity is required.”
The Internet of Things as well as the demand for data storage and analysis also fuels the importance of cloud solutions. “As software interaction becomes more complex and the collection of sensitive data more prevalent, test automation for quality and security will be ever-more important to ensure safety, privacy, and reliability,” predicts Dennis Chu, senior product manager, Coverity. SW