Cloud Testing: An Intro to Software Testing In The Cloud

Posted in: Mobile and video games trends, Quality assurance testing, Usability testing by: Simon on:

Software testing in the cloud

When I first started testing mobile apps more than five years ago, my desk was covered with devices; in front of me was a sea of Blackberrys, a couple iPhones, a few Nokias, and yes, a Palm Treo. In each desk drawer were a jumble of chargers, power cords, cell phone batteries, and SIM cards.

Before cloud technology made it possible to setup a virtual test lab, this was the only way software testers could test mobile applications and websites. Now that cloud platforms have evolved into legitimate cloud testing tools, it’s easier than ever before to configure an endless variety of environments to not just test on mobile devices, but perform load, performance, and localization tests as well.

cloud testing

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Advantages of Cloud Testing

Time and budget are two major constraints on any software project. Using cloud testing can save on both.

Setting up a physical, mobile testing lab is costly and labor intensive. With the sheer number of smartphones and tablets on the market today, achieving anywhere remotely near 100% device coverage is all but impossible. Purchasing new devices can also be costly, with high-end smartphones easily $1,000. Then there are the costs of setting and resetting each test environment by hand, maintaining updates for each device, and setting up the lab space. Let’s just say that to call a physical lab cumbersome would be an understatement.

These days, there are a number of mobile testing-as-a-service providers. They give you access to practically any mobile device on the market today at the click of a mouse through a cloud platform. Environments can be set up, taken down, and reset in batches, saving an enormous amount of time. Many platforms allow testers to run automated tests as well as test for load and performance.

Websites and web applications are equally suited to testing in the cloud. It allows you to test across multiple browsers and geographic areas from a single point. Through cloud testing, you can stress test websites, simulate web traffic, and test for scenarios that are otherwise difficult to replicate in physical testing environments. This is especially useful for start-ups and fledgling companies who want to appeal to a global audience but have limited funds.

Cloud Testing Limitations

Software testing in the cloud certainly has its advantages. However, it shouldn’t be thought of as the be-all end-all of a testing effort. There are a few shortcomings and outside factors to consider that could influence the feasibility of using cloud technologies. At the forefront of these issues is compliance in regards to data integrity and security. Pushing sensitive data to a cloud platform may not be possible in certain industries. It should be noted that some mobile testing service providers use jail broken devices. And, while simulated environments are easier and cheaper to set up, there’s nothing better than the real thing.

The best testing solution includes a combination of manual, automated, and cloud testing. It’s important to think of cloud technology as a tool rather than a magic solution. It is not a replacement for a solid test plan, infrastructure, and strategy. Instead, what access to a cloud platform can do is lower the barrier of entry for companies to develop and release robust, high-quality apps and websites.



Simon is the founder of Crowdsourced Testing. After 10 years in interactive software development, he set his sights on building a world-class crowdsourcing platform to facilitate the software testing process for developers.