Definition

cloud testing

Contributor(s): Kim Hefner
This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Guide to cloud application testing

Cloud testing, also called cloud-based testing, is the assessment of a Web application's performance, reliability, scalability and security in a third-party's cloud computing environment.

Cloud test environments can be provisioned quickly and easily in order to eliminate the need for sharing environments among test teams, which helps to eliminate environment-related schedule delays. Built-in collaboration tools allow geographically dispersed development teams to work in a cloud testing environment 24/7 and testers can scale application workloads to thousands or millions of concurrent users in order to identify performance issues before an application goes live.

Compared to a traditional on-premises environment, cloud testing offers users pay-per-use pricing, flexibility and reduced time-to-market. The test processes and technologies used to perform functional testing against cloud-based applications are not significantly different than traditional in-house applications, but awareness of the non-functional risks around the cloud is critical to success. For example, if testing involves production data, then appropriate security and data integrity processes and procedures need to be in place and validated before functional testing can begin.

Like any other technology, cloud testing has its drawbacks. A lack of standards around integrating public cloud resources with on-premises resources, concerns over security in the cloud, hard-to-understand service-level agreements and limited configuration options and bandwidth can all contribute to delays and cost issues.

This was last updated in November 2014

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One additional drawback that should be mentioned is that testers should make sure they are very aware of just how long they keep an environment up and running. IT's easy to spawn environments that don't get shut down, or they get forgotten after awhile. Problem is, the provider doesn't forget and they are metering every moment that machine is running. In short, get into the habit of making sure you shut down machines as soon as you are finished using them. Yes, it will take a few minutes to spawn a new machine again, but it costs a lot less than leaving a machine(s) running indefinitely.
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