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IT Operations that beleaguered on-premise testing

In my previous blog, I had mentioned how delays and overhead costs proved to be burden while conducting on-premise testing. But these are not all. Legacy datacenter operations too have added to its anguishes. Let's take a look at the issues I encountered, in some of my engagements, because of clients' legacy infrastructure.

  • Lack of Agility
  • Lack of Automation
  • Availability of testing environments

Lack of Agility

There is a growing business affinity towards agile testing owing to its distinctive advantages such as   

·         Faster testing process

·         Accuracy

·         Scalability


With the advent of Cloud computing, organizations can follow agile methodology without hurdles. So what are the areas where legacy datacenters lagged behind and to which cloud based testing have delivered? Here are some salient points.  

Agile testing is known for faster testing processes. It has made an impact while doing parallel testing on multiple environments; multiple applications' build versions and multiple releases. In these scenarios we require multiple test servers, with all different pre-requisite software, to be ready for use with minimum delay. This is achievable easily in a cloud environment due to its flexibility to accommodate new servers within a very short period of time. However, legacy datacenters involve long processes and efforts in getting new servers operational and to make it ready for the testers.

Another characteristic of Agile testing is Accuracy, which is directly related to the test coverage. More the number of tests being carried out by the testing team more accurate is the software delivery. In a complex and multi-release scenario, testers need to test in a diversified environment. To get such test environments, in a very short span, is a challenge in a legacy datacenter. Often it has been observed that due to release pressure the test coverage shrinks which has direct bearings on the quality of deliverables. Thanks to cloud computing this challenge is now a matter of past.

Agile testing requires highly scalable infrastructure. Unlike the legacy datacenter where a single hardware box is usually provided for the development, staging and testing phases; cloud computing can provide multiple servers to the testing team with multiple builds and applications resulting in faster time to market.

Lack of Automation

It takes a long time to create a test environment in a legacy datacenter. On Cloud, things move faster through automation. While creating  new test server take multiple hours , cloud uses Template to make it ready in few minutes. A template is an image of a server which can be saved and stored in a common repository known as "service catalogue". When new requirements come from testers, they themselves can deploy a new server from the stored image (Template), and start working on it within minutes. This not only helps in test efficiency but also reduces cycle time.

During a potential bug fixing exercise when it is required to reciprocate a typical environment among several testers, a single reference server template can be created and then it can be used for multiple deployments. Several test environments, with the same configurations, would be ready within minutes.

Similarly, during the release cycles of an application, the build gets created every week or sometimes every day. The testers are required to do sanity/smoke testing of these builds. Creating a Template for each app build and deploying test server from it for each tester is a far efficient way of doing things rather than manually configuring servers in a traditional datacenter approach. This whole process of deployment can be automated using simple scripts. Manual intervention, while creating test environments, becomes minimum on Cloud which provides a leading edge over the manual legacy datacenter approach.

Availability of testing environments

A test server crash in a datacenter attracts a number of stakeholders, e.g. Infra team, Apps team, testing team, to work on urgent basis till the server is up and running. This demands a concentrated effort from all the teams. The server vendor has to be contacted, the defect in the server has to be repaired/replaced, the Apps need to be restored to its latest configuration and mode before the test teams can validate and resume work. Application clustering can be a workaround but only in certain cases. This whole process becomes redundant on Cloud. There is redundancy configured at application as well as hardware level so that in case of failure the test environment keeps on running or gets restarted without any manual intervention.


All these issues seemed to be so frustrating before our exposure to Cloud computing. It has resulted in a paradigm shift in testing. In my forthcoming blogs, I will share exactly those features which have made IT operations so agile and automatic.

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