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Taking Testing to the Cloud

NASA decides to embrace cloud based load testing

This might be a stale topic to blog about, but I want to touch upon how NASA’s site was flocked last week to watch the landing of Mars rover Curiosity. What did NASA do to make sure it could handle the traffic and keep the stream going? It had to ensure that its application stack can handle this load without any interruptions.    It decided to partner with SOASTA , pioneers in the cloud based load testing service.

And my focus has been to see how cloud based testing can be easily leveraged for mobile applications which would help to circumvent some of the challenges currently experienced in the mobile space.

Introducing cloud based testing for mobile

The premise is based on using virtual servers to simulate real-world load on applications and test for various what if scenarios on several platforms — smartphones, tablets, social media sites the list is endless.   Cloud based testing has altered the testing game drastically by reducing the time to test, increasing the scale of test from hundreds to millions of virtual machines and slashing the cost of testing by removing the manual element out of testing.

Taking testing to cloud

The mobile market although lucrative, is extremely fragmented and dynamic.   There is a slew of devices — phones and tablets, OS’s, different versions of OS’S and zero standardization. Maintaining application quality in this kind of an environment is very challenging.

With cloud based testing, there is a web-based access to a huge number of devices that are connected to live networks that are spread across different geo-locations. This provides enterprises complete control over all their testing needs — manual and automated. Automated tests can be run on multiple devices, and can easily scale to support all types of intensive testing and the SaaS approach ensures that users always have access to the latest version of devices, platforms and OS’s.

There are huge cost savings with this approach obviously, because the ‘dedicated infrastructure and resources’ do not need to exist anymore. And not to mention the fringe benefits like on-demand flexibility, greater collaboration and reduced time to market for key applications.

The flip side

There are still a lot of issues and questions related to lack of standards and security practices especially in the public cloud.   Current encryption techniques are not considered sufficient. Some of the SLA, terms and conditions are sometimes difficult to comprehend. And of course, since public clouds are shared by multiple users, there might be some latency issues or disruption of service issues due to network outage.

Inspite of this, embracing the cloud especially for testing seems to be a no-brainer. It is very well suited from resource flexibility (commissioning and decommissioning) and security concerns point of view. So, it is time to take first-mover advantages which outweigh the risks significantly.

Next, we’ll talk about an execution strategy that needs to be in place before venturing into cloud based testing.



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