Cloud-Based Test Automation Tools and Benefits

Acquiring and maintaining in-house testing platforms for even small-market software applications is expensive and time-consuming. If your software products include mobile applications that support thousands or millions of users, then the sheer scale of testing can overwhelm even well-stocked IT departments. Fortunately, with the availability of a multitude of cloud-based testing environments, there is a better way to meet your testing platform requirements that will cost less and improve efficiency.

Multi-Faceted Cost Savings

To start with, renting cloud-based testing environments means your company avoids huge capital equipment expenditures for servers, networking equipment, OS licenses and so on. Additionally, hardware and software maintenance costs plus the cost of personnel to manage such resources is borne by the cloud service. These are meaningful advantages for any company, especially for cash-strapped startups.

Furthermore, you avoid depreciation costs on test platforms regardless of whether they are in-use or not. That advantage, along with knowing that test platform backups, upgrades, provisioning and configurations are taken care of automatically, brings a strong measure of stability to ongoing cost projections.

On-Demand Testing Expedites Planning

Multiple surveys have indicated that, due to the periodic nature of testing, most companies that maintain in-house testing infrastructure achieve less than 50 percent utilization of that infrastructure. Most cloud-based testing services enable scaling test infrastructure up and down at will, so you only pay for what you actually use at any given time.

Instant scalability of hard testing resources provides an enormous benefit from a planning perspective. It eliminates the scenario where test platforms are acquired or re-commissioned in preparation for large-scale performance and load testing only to have them sit idle after development is delayed.

Additionally, many cloud-based mobile-app testing services provide virtual access to large arrays of released or soon-to-be released mobile devices and various OS versions. When it comes time for full-scale compatibility testing, few companies are equipped with the necessary resources to duplicate such a large and diverse testing environment at almost a moment’s notice.

Reducing False Defects Due to Inconsistent Configurations

A large percentage of software defects can be traced to incorrect test environment configuration. For example, provisioning a platform with a specific OS version plus service packs, databases and third-party middleware or applications on which your software depends is an error-prone process to say the least. Cloud-based testing services excel at providing consistent test platform preparation backed by service level agreements, so that you can avoid wasting time and resources tracking down phantom bugs.

Reducing In-House Test Applications

Besides the advantages inherent in renting versus buying your test platform infrastructure, the best cloud-based testing services also offer world-class testing frameworks with which you can create, run and manage your test suites. This avoids the costs of licensing in-house testing tools plus the costs to install and maintain in-house tools.

Increased Collaboration Improves Time-to-Market

Furthermore, most cloud-based tools make a point of being user-friendly and only require access via a browser. Thus, greater accessibility to the tools, test suites and reports is achieved across development, test and business units. Access can be granted outside the company as well to provide transparency to clients.

Most importantly, because testing resources and tools are virtualized, collaboration between developers and testers increases regardless of their physical locations and the time zones within which they perform their work. Testers can share results instantly via screen sharing with developers, which reduces communication failures and delays immeasurably.

As software products become more complex, more distributed and release cycles are increasingly shorter, maintenance of internal testing infrastructure is increasingly impractical in terms of cost, quality and time-to-market. Although virtualization of such resources via cloud-based testing services will never completely replace internal testing, an emphasis on its use brings immense benefits. The reduction of capital expenditures, ongoing cost reductions, test platform scalability, planning flexibility and enhanced collaboration are advantages too great to ignore.

A final key advantage to cloud-based testing services is that they can be sampled without incurring a large commitment by enterprises who desire hands-on experience of cloud-based testing relative to their particular situation. An experienced partner can save time and provide enlightening insights in this regard.