Five reasons to go cloud in test automation

Aug 11, 2020 / by Henri Terho

One big topic at least in our company has been the discussion on how cloud based test automation affects your business and how it can drive transformation, and performance in your company.   

Going to a cloud based as a service enables a lot of gains in multiple subdomains and can really help you scale and test your product aggressively when you are looking for growth. The most obvious advantages being development speed when the whole testing infrastructure is provided as a service, helping your company scale or even Blitscale without slowing down on the testing bottleneck. Second big thing being scalability, where cloud based platforms will not run out of steam. Third is accessibility. Your testing setup is available not just from the local net, but from the cloud, enabling full remote work for your company. The second part is Security. As the platform exists in the cloud, the web environment forces you into best practices on security and the platforms can provide you with multiple ways to build authentication and safe design patterns into your product. The last thing I want to mention is the way we can speed up your development cycle with faster deployments and faster tests in the cloud environment. Also because the tests are focused into one place, the maintenance becomes a lot easier. Let's dive into each of these points.

1. As a service

SaaS (Software as a Service) as a business model has been growing rapidly in the last ten years and for a good reason. The global marketplace has created an environment where the evolutionary pressures for companies are high and this has driven many companies to specialize and focus just on their core competences. This is enabled by building your company's offering on top of giants providing their platforms as a service, such as Amazon, which runs 43% of all cloud services or Microsoft Azure with 11%. Software companies have deeply adopted IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and found it as a way to quickly scale their business when they can dynamically build services on top of a managed infrastructure and focus on the core competences. The same has been happening with testing and test automation is also heading to the platform age. By taking a test development platform into use, you do not have to set up your own infrastructure and to manage it, thus lowering your maintenance costs and enabling you to quickly switch your setup around if your product experiences a major pivot.

2. Scalability

On top of what was said in the previous as a service paragraph, one main reason to go for platforms is also the scalability. Cloud platforms are built to scale to your needs and downscale when you do not need it. This enables organic growth for your test setup, without the need to do incremental investments into new hardware, which will grow old in a couple of years. Also testing in its inherent nature is not a stable workload. Typically testing load is spiky as your product undergoes more and more testing before a major release for example 4 times a year. If you are buying hardware for testing, do you buy enough hardware to run these extensive testing sessions 4 times a year and let the equipment languish under light load for the rest of the time, or do you buy your setup for the typical load, and are stuck with not enough capacity for major release testing? This is not a problem in cloud platforms as you can dynamically allocate new resources when needed and match your needs exactly. And pay only for what you need!

3. Accessibility

Third topic that is not typically discussed is the accessibility of your test setup. Nowadays when the whole development pipeline is being transferred more and more into cloud and on top of cloud services, running a testing setup locally, which might be behind firewalls or otherwise behind limited access is complicated. This might be setup to work over VPN, but it requires extra steps for developers to run tests or develop through VPN connections. By transferring the whole setup to the cloud you can use typical access managers like Microsoft Azure active directory (which itself has been transferred nearly fully to the cloud!) to manage who can access your testing setup and make the setup even more secure and accessible to developers working fully remotely for example.

4. Security

Talking about security, you might be led to thing that cloud environments are less secure than local ones, but typically local environments are less secure. Because of the feeling of safety in local environments, what might happen is that you have the passwords on a post it somewhere, you might not even run passwords on the setup, because its just local, or with no encryption. Then your company network is breached through some other means and all your servers and testing setups are up for grabs. What was the last time you encrypted your local testing machines and their databases? This encryption happens pretty much natively in the cloud and because of the more "hostile" environment of the open internet, these services have quickly evolved to incorporate a lot of access and safety features that local setups might not even have. For example secrets management in the cloud can enable the use off passwords that only one person in the company knows, but others can use them through the managed secrets manager. This means better password and configuration security on top of your already encrypted, logged and access managed environment. We have all of these security measures in place at Qentinel Pace if you want to check them out in action.

5. Quick Development cycle

The final topic that kind of summarizes the benefits of all the others listed here is the speed up development cycle for your application. By going hosted, you can quickly spin up new test environments, scale them to the level that you need, give access to the right people in your development team and secure the environment that no one else can get in there. It has been widely regarded that faster development cycles drive innovation, by basically outsourcing responsibilities from different parts of your systems to service providers, you focus more on your core competences and stand on top of giants. This raising of abstraction level in the software development industry has been progressing since the nineties. Then you had to manually manage the memory of your applications, but now you can use lowcode platforms to quickly mock up mobile applications and create fast prototypes to test your hypotheses. All this will lead to you finding you scalable business model faster and to make even larger projects more profitable by outsourcing responsibilities of maintenance to those who do that as their core competence.

Did these five points impress you? Do you want to check out what managed cloud testing platforms could help you with? I and Qentinel have been developing a hyperscalable testing platform with easy to use testing scripting, which utilizes machine vision. You can check out our introductory video here and then test our Pace platform with the free trial, which offers perpetual 60 minutes of testing every month for free! Go check it out and thank you for your time, hopefully these points increased your knowledge of testing cloud platforms and if you want to know more or even argue some points, please do not hesitate to contact me!

Henri Terho, henri.terho@qentinel.com

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Topics: Test Automation, Software Development

Henri Terho

Written by Henri Terho