Test Environments: Why Test in the Cloud?
To simplify and modernize their infrastructure, more and more development teams are migrating their test environments to the cloud.
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This article was published with permission from freelance writer, Justin Reynolds.
Many companies today have outdated, inefficient, and complex IT test environments. This leads to a variety of pitfalls, such as high costs, workflow issues, reduced performance, and delayed releases, among others.
To simplify and modernize their infrastructure, more and more development teams are migrating their test environments to the cloud. Keep reading to learn why businesses are moving in this direction, the benefits of testing in the cloud, and the tools you need to make it all happen.
Top Challenges of Managing Testing Environments
When companies lack robust testing capabilities, development teams will unquestionably face the following issues.
Companies that use disparate testing technologies often lack visibility into test bookings. Consequently, this leads to scheduling conflicts and poor resource allocation.
This is especially problematic for companies with multiple teams that share resources. Environment contention can create internal conflict and impede collaboration, slowing down timelines and making it that much harder to reach your goals.
Lack of Visibility
IT leaders typically have limited transparency into data and configurations across test environments. In fact, the vast majority of companies (95%) have no idea what their end-to-end IT and test environments look like.
Unfortunately, this lack of visibility makes it impossible to track progress, manage workflows, and improve outcomes.
IT environments often contain large volumes of sensitive data. Yet organizations tend to be lax about security privacy guidelines in test environments. This puts sensitive data at risk, leading to costly incidents, reputational damage, and other penalties.
In one high-profile example, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cracked down on Uber for failing to secure its test environments.
For testing environments to be effective, managers need deep visibility into testing and performance data.
Traditional testing solutions often lack comprehensive reporting components. As a result, teams have a hard time generating a complete picture of what’s taking place at any given time.
It’s very easy to miss a step during testing. When that happens, the analysis is incomplete.
Unfortunately, even small problems can require major overhauls. This significantly drives up the time and cost of system and application deployments and thwarts go-to-market plans.
Why Companies Are Testing in the Cloud
In today’s fast, performance-driven market, issues such as security breaches, environment contention, and software errors make it impossible to compete. To remain profitable and secure, companies need fast, healthy, and efficient IT environments.
To keep up, many companies are abandoning traditional testing models and manual workflows altogether. In turn, they’re opting to use cloud-based environments with central dashboarding and automation that enable them to ship new releases faster.
The Benefits of Cloud Testing
DevTest and Shifting Left
Development and testing are traditionally separate from one another, with testing typically taking place once the code is written.
Using a cloud-based platform, teams can easily merge development with DevTest frameworks. This enables companies to “shift left” and test during the coding process. As a result, teams save a tremendous amount of time and labor during software projects.
Control Your Footprint
Companies often have sprawling IT footprints. In many instances, they wind up using far too much infrastructure, licenses, and services.
By integrating a cloud testing environment, IT leaders can gain instant access to their test environments. They can also gain rapid insights for real-time and historical assessments. It’s a great way to conserve resources and reduce waste.
Keep Pipelines Moving
Traditional IT testing environments are dreadfully slowed by manual processes and workflows.
Switching to a cloud environment speeds up service delivery through automation for faster and more efficient processing. This keeps production pipelines moving, making it easier to meet deadlines and release targets.
Companies across all verticals are embracing the zero-trust security model, which treats every potential identity as a threat.
By switching to the cloud, administrators can clamp down on access control during testing, limiting entry and improving security measures. Through stronger access control and real-time monitoring, you can enable rapid testing and increase data security at the same time.
Improve Uptime and Performance
System downtime brings testing to a grinding halt. It can create a massive testing backlog, pushing back multiple projects.
With a cloud testing environment in place, workers can maintain full access to test environments, even when dealing with local service interruptions.
Test environments can be very expensive. In many cases, they require a significant amount of maintenance and upkeep — particularly when all infrastructure is on-prem.
When using cloud resources, companies can easily avoid hefty capital and operational expenses. Instead of spending money managing infrastructure, you can spend it on software development.
What to Look for in a Test Provider
Overall, the market is becoming increasingly saturated with testing platforms.
With so many similar products out there, it’s important to do your due diligence when selecting a provider. Here are some things to look for when searching for a platform that meets your exact needs.
Must-Have Features in a Cloud Testing Environment
The cloud platform you select should offer deep visibility into project usage and contention. You need to make sure the platform you ultimately select captures demand across all lifecycles to prevent conflicts.
It certainly helps to have a platform that standardizes repeatable IT operations. Look for a platform that can recognize and automate manual workflows to save time and eliminate backend work.
Chances are, your team is already using a variety of testing tools. As such, it’s a good idea to select a solution that integrates with third-party tooling.
Dynamic Dashboards and Reporting
Some platforms make it very difficult to locate and export analytics. Look for a provider that offers dynamic dashboarding and reporting, giving you rapid access to actionable insights.
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