What Is Cloud Test Automation?
Iterate and deploy faster by automating parts of your QA process in the cloud.
The cloud computing landscape has evolved over the last decade, as containerization, virtualization, and edge computing drive mainstream adoption and additional cloud spending.
The increased complexity of these systems places immense pressure on QA departments. Implementation of national and global data and security regulations, combined with market fragmentation of consumer devices, have made manual quality assurance processes challenging for small teams to build and maintain at scale. As a result, cloud automation testing has become a vital tool for cloud-native application developers aiming to maintain the integrity of their products across an exponentially growing number of platforms, devices, and versions.
Read on to learn how cloud test automation can help your team find and fix bugs, iterate faster, and discover potential security flaws.
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Need to brush up on the basics of Cloud Automation? Check out “The Complete Guide to Cloud Automation” to learn how developers are minimizing time-to-market.
On-prem vs cloud testing
When assessing your testing needs, it’s important to understand the distinction between on-premises testing and cloud testing.
On-prem testing methods involve one or more physical workstations, each usually requiring its own set of licensed tools. Depending on the size of your organization and your customer base, this may be all you need — simply use what you have to develop and QA your product.
However, if you’re building a web or mobile application meant to be used by a wide, global audience across various devices and configurations, moving your testing to the cloud will provide the assistance you need to test and fix your product at scale.
Look at it this way: tens of thousands of devices run some variation of Android, and each receives regular system updates and annual product iterations. It would be unreasonable for even large organizations to keep up with the sheer amount of devices currently in use on their own. On the other hand, cloud testing products enable you to spin up virtual workstations with whatever configuration at whatever volume you need to test software or cloud-based infrastructure rapidly.
What is cloud test automation?
Cloud test automation is the process in which developers can use cloud computing environments to rapidly test software components or entire systems and verify intended functionality. Teams can run automated parallel tests in the cloud to find and fix bugs, stress test core systems, and increase the efficiency of their quality assurance processes.
For example, manual regression tests often take large teams dozens of hours to perform tedious work, ensuring nothing breaks each time a developer makes a pull request. Instead, you can automate this work by integrating your product with your testing suite of choice through an API. Your cloud solution will handle these monotonous tasks while your team spends its valuable time and energy on other development work.
DevOps teams that develop with continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines especially benefit from integrating cloud automation testing. As teams continue to automate processes that rapidly push code updates to the cloud, incorporating automated testing procedures into the CI/CD pipeline can ensure rigorous regression, performance, and device QA checks take place immediately before and after delivering updates to production or staging environments.
That’s not to say manual testing doesn’t have its place. Nothing beats having a dedicated QA team to handle the more human-facing aspects of product development, like working through UX issues or ensuring accessibility for users who are disabled. Automating as much as possible will enable you to iterate quickly and adapt your product to a constantly shifting market.
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What are the benefits of cloud test automation?
There are many reasons you would want to test automation in cloud environments. Here are a few:
- Reduced costs: Since you can spin up any number of staging environments to your specifications, buying, setting up, and maintaining expensive hardware is a thing of the past. Plus, automating your testing process frees up valuable resources for work on other projects.
- Collaboration: Because testing environments exist on the cloud, multiple teams across departments or locations, and even remote employees, can access the same cloud configurations.
- Built to scale: Easily create one, a dozen, or hundreds of testing environments so you can test at scale.
- Faster results: You can perform multiple simultaneous tests with parallel execution, allowing your team to get results fast.
- Versatility: The cloud makes it easier to simulate various operating conditions — see how your code handles heavy traffic loads, global users, different devices, and more.
Rapid iteration: CI/CD pipeline integration ensures code is continuously vetted during the deployment process.
Ideal test candidates for cloud automation
While cloud automation testing isn’t built for everything, it can handle the more arduous and repetitive tasks, so your team has more QA time for testing procedures requiring hands-on involvement. Testing methods worth automating include:
- Functional tests: Determine whether individual functions are working as intended with various methods, including initial sanity or smoke tests, black box testing to confirm functionality, and more.
- Regression tests: Because these tests require a massive amount of repetitive activity across multiple versions, regression tests are a great candidate for automation.
- System tests: Automate specific actions from login to logout across your entire system to ensure everything is working smoothly.
- Capacity tests: Automation can be implemented to test user traffic loads, stress test functions under heavy use, check for performance bottlenecks, and more.
- Availability tests: Automation of these tests will keep you informed of potential outages caused by changes to infrastructure.
- Security tests: Implement regular automation to check for security flaws and other vulnerabilities in your updated code and across your entire application.
Popular cloud test automation tools
Each testing method requires its own tools and processes. Cloud testing platforms tend to focus on one or two of these methods, though some provide a general suite of testing tools for organizations with less specific needs. It’s important to know which platforms offer the testing and automation tools your team needs. Here are a few of the more popular cloud testing tools available:
- DuploCloud: DevOps-as-a-service platform that provides low-code/no-code automation solutions with built-in compliance and security testing. Provides CI/CD framework to build, test, and deploy changes from GitHub commits and pull requests.
- AWS Device Farm: Allows Selenium parallel testing on thousands of real iOS and Android devices, as well as multiple versions of mobile and web browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
- SOASTA CloudTest: Simulates load and performance tests to ensure your product remains stable under heavy workloads.
- AppPerfect: Contains a suite of testing tools, including mobile application load testing and cloud hosting testing.
- Nessus: Provides automated vulnerability assessment across devices and cloud environments, offering visibility into AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud platforms.
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