Test automation is a core component of DevOps. As more companies switch to agile, they’re looking for solutions that offer them more freedom and flexibility than on-premise test automation. Using cloud-based automation testing can help them achieve their goals of a shorter feedback loop and faster release velocity while still keeping their upfront investments low. This blog will outline everything there is to know about testing on the cloud – from its advantages and challenges to framework design. We’ll also discuss an innovative test automation solution that will help CIOs realize the various benefits of the cloud while minimizing the risks.
What is cloud-based test automation?
In an agile environment, one of the primary goals is to shorten the testing cycle and accelerate product release. But this is easier said than done. Testers need to draw up testing environments to test code. And every time there’s new code to test, new infrastructure needs to be set up. With user demand being as volatile as it is, development companies need to design, build, and test products at an unprecedented rate. Most existing infrastructure cannot churn out new test environments at the pace required to debug software, make quality products, and meet consumer expectations.
Testing on the cloud offers a unique solution to this conundrum. It uses dynamic cloud-based technology to speed up testing and software releases. Testers can create test environments on-demand on the cloud, enabling them to test faster, better, and more efficiently. All of this without having to invest in any new hardware whatsoever.
Cloud-based testing is divided into four major categories :
- Testing of the whole cloud – Usually pursued by Cloud and SaaS vendors, the entire cloud is considered a single entity in this type of cloud testing.
- Testing within a cloud – Cloud vendors use this testing type to check all the internal features of the cloud before releasing it to the market.
- Testing across clouds – In this category, testing is spread out across different types of clouds, namely, private, public, and hybrid.
- SaaS testing in the cloud – Based on the documented business requirements of the application, functional and non-functional testing is carried out to validate the features.
Automated testing has become a core part of all agile and DevOps methodologies. Over 44% of all companies have automated more than half of their testing, and 24% of them saw an immediate return on investment. Adding cloud-based test automation to the mix can help make testing more streamlined, manageable, and scalable, further condensing test cycles and bringing down costs. Here’s how cloud-based testing can make your organization future-proof and help you meet consumer demands on the run.
Why is cloud-based testing gaining popularity?
The cloud computing market is projected to cross $832 billion by 2025. It has transformed how we view computing today by removing the need to maintain expensive infrastructure on-premise. Cloud is faster, more robust, and comes with a plethora of features that can improve the working of any organization. Along the same note, it has ushered in necessary changes to test automation, keeping in mind the new business requirements of a remote world where agility reigns supreme.
Covid-19 forced developers to work remotely, making it nearly impossible to use the on-premise resources required to complete the testing cycles. For instance, the devices and platforms needed to test in real user conditions cannot be accessed remotely. These devices must be continuously connected, updated, and maintained to make testing possible, and closed offices prohibit that. This made switching to cloud-based testing a critical reality.
The other reason for the accelerated adoption of cloud-based testing is the fragmentation of the mobile devices, OS, and web browser markets. While iOS runs on a stock OS developed and controlled solely by Apple, Android’s customizability means each company, Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei, LG, or Google, has its own custom iterations. Testing the different permutations of each possible device, platform, and OS is tough without significant investments in infrastructure, and testing across web browsers spells a similar story.
It didn’t take long for organizations to realize the inherent value of testing on the cloud.
What kinds of automated tests can you conduct on the cloud?
- Exploratory testing
While happy path testing is crucial to the product’s success, testers should not overlook exploratory testing. Often exploratory testing is forced to take a backseat because of the time and resource investment it demands. This can and will lead to lower-than-desired test coverage and a higher risk of bugs slipping through. Bringing exploratory testing under the ambit of the cloud can strip off the extra time needed to set up complex user journeys. Cloud-based testing makes it much easier to spin up new test environments. Additionally, parallel testing can bring down the testing time drastically.
- Regression testing
Regression testing is another nightmare scenario for testers yet to shift to the cloud. Regression testing ensures that the existing features of the software continue to perform as expected with each released update. It is resource-intensive, like exploratory testing, and requires greater CI/CD pipeline access. Testing on the cloud can make regression testing significantly easier and faster.
- Non-invasive testing
Non-invasive testing refers to the process by which the testing software continues to interact with the System Under Test (SUT) through the UI and not the underlying code. But the dynamic UI demanded by consumers today can make non-invasive testing a headache. But advanced cloud-based testing solutions have image recognition and OCR to capture UI elements quickly and accurately, easing the whole process. Moreover, parallel testing also means you can conduct a variety of different tests at once.
- Web-based application testing
Testing web-based applications across various browsers, devices, screen sizes, and operating systems is challenging without help from test automation. Ensuring watertight functionality, security, performance, and usability across all platforms is key to designing an optimal user experience. But to do so, organizations need to maintain devices and infrastructure on-premises.
Cloud-based testing can eliminate this need and offer many other advantages too. Clouds can simulate devices and their specs to spin up test environments that mimic real-world user conditions. Testers can also avoid the need to maintain test scripts with linear test automation with a model-based approach.
What are the advantages of testing on the cloud?
The primary advantage that stems from cloud-based testing is access to several on-demand testing environments that can run parallelly. This one advantage can translate into several significant benefits down the line.
Scaling test automation efforts in line with greater consumer demand can tax existing workflows and business processes and require additional investments in personnel, resources, and infrastructure. But with cloud-based testing, scaling can be done almost instantaneously with minimal disruption to the business.
Today, applications are launched in multiple countries to maximize the user base. But this leaves the application culpable to the different laws and regulations of different countries. Many cloud-based testing solutions come with geolocation testing that enables you to test your application in other regions without physically moving any code.
Complete tool integrations
Integrating different tools into the test automation suite can be cumbersome, especially regarding CI/CD tools. Fortunately, most cloud testing solutions already have these tools integrated, saving a lot of time for testers.
Testing costs can escalate rapidly when expanding your product line. Costs start adding up when you require new servers, data centers, and other physical hardware, not to mention the maintenance costs for all the equipment and the associated labor. Cloud testing eliminates all these prohibitive upfront costs and improves the bottom line.