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Simon Munro

Testers and QA Need to Think About Cloud Computing

Testers, who are normally derided as the poor cousins in IT, have an opportunity in cloud computing to assert their value to the development and operation of solutions. Any cloud computing project that implements the standard non-cloud test strategy (that may be working well for traditional systems) is in for a big surprise as they approach the go live date and thing are falling to pieces.

Drastic Changes to Testing Process

Some traditional steps in the QA process need serious rethinking or throwing away altogether. A well architected cloud computing solution should have no need for load testing as we know it. If unlimited computing power is available on demand, there is no hardware configuration to do tests against. But the assumptions about how the solution handles load need to be tested and the accurate testing of how much load can be handled per compute instance. This changes testing to a role away from failure testing and more towards the establishment of metrics for non functional requirements and finding ways to test against those.

Back to Basics

Because cloud computing encourages developers to architect systems differently, many of the things that we took for granted no longer work the same way and testers need to be more rigorous in some areas than normal. For example, testing the result of a multi-node query across an eventually consistent data store needs to be done, whereas the equivalent query on an enterprise RDBMS probably wouldn’t be tested at all. It sounds scary, but developers jumping into cloud computing may make mistakes with simple things such as generating sequential and unique invoice numbers – when did you last test that properly?

Testing Sooner

Testers normally get their hands on servers as configured for production very late in the project, if at all. Because cloud computing has minimal procurement issues and uses pre-packaged commodity servers, testing on a ‘production’ platform can be done very early on in the projects – from the first day if there is something useful to test. This turns testing upside down, where non functional tests, such as load tests, security, latency and availability can be tested before the solution can be considered functionally mature. Smart project managers and QA specialists will use this to their advantage in an attempt to de-risk the project early in the development lifecycle.

Additional Criteria

Testers also need to think about new quality criteria that may be added by cloud computing, many of which are not considered by developers. Aspects such as the impact of latency, geographic distribution, synchronisation of data and intentional service degradation are aspects that we tend to gloss over when testing traditional systems.

Crucial Role

The role of testing and QA in cloud computing cannot be underemphasised. With so much risk and exposure to new technology, business processes and service provider models, the need to have someone on the team who knows what to look for and can give their stamp of approval is imperative to the success of a cloud computing project.

Disclaimer: This is not a complete list and after all, it may only work on my machine

Simon Munro


The ‘Who Should Know About Cloud Computing’ Series

This post is part of a series of posts for non technical roles, which you can follow from the links below

Published Friday, June 18, 2010 9:33 AM by simon.munro

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Simon Munro : Business Analysts Need to Think About Cloud Computing said:

June 18, 2010 9:42 AM

Simon Munro : Creatives Need to Think About Cloud Computing said:

June 18, 2010 9:42 AM

Simon Munro : Project Managers Need to Think About Cloud Computing said:

June 18, 2010 9:43 AM

Simon Munro : Who Should Know About Cloud Computing? said:

June 21, 2010 9:38 AM

Simon Munro said:

At first you would think that in a world cloud computing applications would look and behave the same

June 21, 2010 9:39 AM

Simon Munro said:

Large enterprise databases that form the backbone of business are not going to move out to a cloud computing

June 22, 2010 9:32 AM

Simon Munro : IT Ops Need to Think About Cloud Computing said:

June 23, 2010 12:02 PM

Latha said:


I want to learn Cloud computing(Testing) in Bangalore. Please guide me which tool is helpful to me. I'm working as a manual tester in a reputed company.

Email: lathas191@gmail.com



January 14, 2013 1:48 PM

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