Moving Application Testing to the Cloud

Michael Vizard
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Deploying Applications in the Cloud

While there's more talk than actual use of cloud computing in the enterprise, a Zeus Technology survey looks at the beginnings of a major shift under way. Clear expectations and planning can improve your experience and near-term success.

Application testing is one of those areas that many IT organizations give short shrift; only for it to invariably come back to haunt them in the form of some fix that usually needs to be accomplished quickly and at great cost.

It's not that developers are fundamentally opposed to testing; it's just that acquiring the equipment to set up the test is expensive and the amount of time needed to conduct the tests properly isn't available. Worse yet, the applications are getting more complex than ever, which makes testing them an even more challenging task.

Because of these issues, IBM is betting via an acquisition of a company called Green Hat this week that application testing is going to become a lot more automated using the cloud. Green Hat allows customers to set up virtual instances of applications in a cloud computing environment that IT organizations can then run any number of synthetic tests against.

Obviously, automated testing doesn't completely replace hands-on testing. But most application flaws, especially ones that are related to security, tend to be fairly rudimentary. Automating the routine elements of the testing process not only saves time; it also results in a lot more common flaws being addressed before the application ever makes it into production.

Better still, it also results in a lot more applications actually being tested. All too often, the complexity of applications results in either limited testing or no testing at all. In addition, most development projects are usually behind schedule, which means testing is the first thing to be cut in the hopes of making a delivery deadline. Putting application testing in the cloud reduces the cost of setting up the test environment, while at the same time it reduces the time it takes to perform the testing.

According to Charles Chu, director of product management and strategy, IBM Rational, IBM intends to continue to deliver the Green Hat service as a separate product. Green Hat is also already an IBM Rational business partner, so Chu says that tightening the integration between Green Hat and the rest of the IBM Rational portfolio should be the next logical step.

IBM isn't the only company offering application testing services in the cloud. Just about every vendor that provides application development tools has similar capabilities available in one form or another. But as 2012 starts to take shape, it's become apparent that not only is application testing moving to the cloud, but there is also going to be a lot more of it actually being done.

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