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Maintaining Test Environments in a Cost-Efficient Manner

blur Content | December 10, 2013 | Technology

In the production process, it’s a long road to release. How can you minimize the cost of testing?

The Cloud has decentralised production. Freelancers with an internet connection are collaborating using Cloud platforms to produce content regardless of their geographic location. The benefits of producing software using these new methods are many, but can also present unique challenges to ensuring that software meets testing requirements.

55 per cent of senior execs viewed their organizations as lacking the in-house skills to configure and manage test environments.

Having scattered locations is only one of the components of today’s production environment that can be problematic when a product reaches the critical testing phase. Indeed, many of the hallmarks that have made Web 2.0 startup culture so successful, such as rapid iteration and shared ownership of code, present challenges for testers who need to maintain code stability and integrity.

In the recent World Quality Report by Capgemini, 55 per cent of senior execs viewed their organizations as lacking the in-house skills to configure and manage test environments.

63 per cent of the same group said their company has permanent premises in which to conduct testing.

Managing multiple versions of their systems presented a problem for 53 per cent of those polled, whilst 45 per cent admitted that they struggle to use their existing testing configurations efficiently.

Testing can certainly present a convoluted challenge. Software needs to run in a world in which operating systems are iterating rapidly, alongside an explosion in the variety of hardware models being introduced. In such an environment it can be hard to keep up, making legacy-support almost non-existent for many applications to the delight of retailers profit margins and to the detriment of customers’ wallets.

Many companies polled suggested that their understanding of production systems and data was sound, but that they lacked the management skills necessary to deliver test environments which combined application-version and test-data with the correct operating system and cloud-based functionalities.

Three Factors to Maintaining a Cost-Effective Testing Environment

  • Software vs Humans?

The upfront capital investment needed to tailor bug-checking software to your requirements can be prohibitive in the short term. However, in the longer term such investment can increase the efficiency of testing and lower costs compared to staff expenditure. Solutions such as uTest promise a balance between the two scenarios with the intention of making testing more cost-efficient.

  • Optimize Test Data

Creating test-data is a labour and time-intensive exercise that adds extra labour to the testing process. Running sets of data that are larger than necessary through testing can increase CPU and storage costs as well bloating potential data security compliance problems. Any cost-effective testing environment will take stock of its test-data to ensure that it is as lean as possible, whilst maintaining the necessary range in order to fully strain the system.

  • Plan Your Priorities

Some test components may be more important than others. Assigning priority scores to test cases or components within the testing array can help you focus on what is critical, and let you ignore all that isn’t.

Narrowing focus down to the necessities is essential when making a plan to create an optimum test environment.

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