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Why Test in the Cloud

Test Environments – Why Test in the Cloud

19

OCTOBER, 2021

by Justin Reynolds

Many companies today have outdated, inefficient, and complex IT test environments. This leads to a variety of pitfalls, such as high costs, workflow issues, reduced performance, and delayed releases, among others. 

To simplify and modernize their infrastructure, more and more development teams are migrating their test environments to the cloud.

Keep reading to learn why businesses are moving in this direction, the benefits of testing in the cloud, and the tools you need to make it all happen.

Top Challenges of Managing Testing Environments 

When companies lack robust testing capabilities, development teams will unquestionably face the following issues. 

Environment Contention

Companies that use disparate testing technologies often lack visibility into test bookings. Consequently, this leads to scheduling conflicts and poor resource allocation. 

This is especially problematic for companies with multiple teams that share resources. Environment contention can create internal conflict and impede collaboration, slowing down timelines and making it that much harder to reach your goals. 

Lack of Visibility

IT leaders typically have limited transparency into data and configurations across test environments. In fact, the vast majority of companies (95%) have no idea what their end-to-end IT and test environments look like

Unfortunately, this lack of visibility makes it impossible to track progress, manage workflows, and improve outcomes. 

Security Vulnerabilities

IT environments often contain large volumes of sensitive data. Yet organizations tend to be lax about security privacy guidelines in test environments. This puts sensitive data at risk, leading to costly incidents, reputational damage, and other penalties. 

In one high-profile example, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cracked down on Uber for failing to secure its test environments

Limited Insights 

For testing environments to be effective, managers need deep visibility into testing and performance data. 

Traditional testing solutions often lack comprehensive reporting components. As a result, teams have a hard time generating a complete picture of what’s taking place at any given time.

Incomplete Testing

It’s very easy to miss a step during testing. When that happens, the analysis is incomplete.

Unfortunately, even small problems can require major overhauls. This significantly drives up the time and cost of system and application deployments and thwarts go-to-market plans.

Why Companies Are Testing in the Cloud 

In today’s fast, performance-driven market, issues such as security breaches, environment contention, and software errors make it impossible to compete. To remain profitable and secure, companies need fast, healthy, and efficient IT environments. 

To keep up, many companies are abandoning traditional testing models and manual workflows altogether. In turn, they’re opting to use cloud-based environments with central dashboarding and automation that enable them to ship new releases faster.

The Benefits of Cloud Testing 

DevTest and Shifting Left 

Development and testing are traditionally separate from one another, with testing typically taking place once the code is written. 

Using a cloud-based platform, teams can easily merge development with DevTest frameworks. This enables companies to “shift left” and test during the coding process. As a result, teams save a tremendous amount of time and labor during software projects. 

Control Your Footprint

Companies often have sprawling IT footprints. In many instances, they wind up using far too much infrastructure, licenses, and services. 

By integrating a cloud testing environment, IT leaders can gain instant access to their test environments. They can also gain rapid insights for real-time and historical assessments. It’s a great way to conserve resources and reduce waste. 

Keep Pipelines Moving

Traditional IT testing environments are dreadfully slowed by manual processes and workflows. 

Switching to a cloud environment speeds up service delivery through automation for faster and more efficient processing. This keeps production pipelines moving, making it easier to meet deadlines and release targets. 

Tighten Security

Companies across all verticals are embracing the zero-trust security model, which treats every potential identity as a threat.

By switching to the cloud, administrators can clamp down on access control during testing, limiting entry and improving security measures. Through stronger access control and real-time monitoring, you can enable rapid testing and increase data security at the same time.

Improve Uptime and Performance 

System downtime brings testing to a grinding halt. It can create a massive testing backlog, pushing back multiple projects. 

With a cloud testing environment in place, workers can maintain full access to test environments, even when dealing with local service interruptions.

Reduce Expenses 

Test environments can be very expensive. In many cases, they require a significant amount of maintenance and upkeep — particularly when all infrastructure is on-prem. 

When using cloud resources, companies can easily avoid hefty capital and operational expenses. Instead of spending money managing infrastructure, you can spend it on software development.

What to Look for in a Test Provider 

Overall, the market is becoming increasingly saturated with testing platforms. 

With so many similar products out there, it’s important to do your due diligence when selecting a provider. Here are some things to look for when searching for a platform that meets your exact needs.

Must-Have Features in a Cloud Testing Environment 

Demand Awareness 

The cloud platform you select should offer deep visibility into project usage and contention. You need to make sure the platform you ultimately select captures demand across all lifecycles to prevent conflicts.

Automation Capabilities 

It certainly helps to have a platform that standardizes repeatable IT operations. Look for a platform that can recognize and automate manual workflows to save time and eliminate backend work. 

Flexible Integrations

Chances are, your team is already using a variety of testing tools. As such, it’s a good idea to select a solution that integrates with third-party tooling.

Dynamic Dashboards and Reporting 

Some platforms make it very difficult to locate and export analytics. Look for a provider that offers dynamic dashboarding and reporting, giving you rapid access to actionable insights. 

Applying the EEMi to Your Test Environment

Before overhauling your testing environment, stop and conduct a base-level assessment of your current IT test environment. This way, you can tell what’s working — and also what you need to improve.

One easy way to assess your environment is by using the Environment Management Maturity Index Assessment (EMMi). Simply put, the EMMi can help you gain a basic understanding of your testing environment.

To see where you stand, start by rating yourself across the following EMMi categories. 

1. Environment Knowledge Management

How well do you understand your IT environment across all touchpoints in detail? Surprisingly, tons of teams don’t know as much as they should.

2. Environment Demand Awareness

Consider whether you have a grasp on demand and current usage of your IT environments. While you’re at it, think about how well your team coordinates testing.

3. Environment Planning and Coordination

This step basically involves assessing configurations and deployments across all systems.

4. Service Management

Next, assess how your organization tracks incidents, changes, and releases.

5. Application Release Operations

Is your organization implementing consistent, repeatable, and traceable application releases? This step generally explores how well you’re promoting standard operating procedures.

6. Data Release and Privacy Operations 

What’s more, you need to determine whether your team can ensure consistent and reliable data releases. 

7. Infrastructure and Cloud Release Operation

Does your team have consistent and repeatable infrastructure and cloud release operations? Take a moment to consider your cloud release operating procedures as well as your infrastructure policies. 

8. Status Accounting and Reporting 

How well does your team capture and present real-time environment data? Consider your ability to visualize environment topology, usage, activities, health, operational behavior, and system team competence.

You may also want to check out this free online maturity calculator for a quick assessment.

Experience Enov8’s Approach to Cloud Testing

Enov8 offers a purpose-built platform for enterprise IT testing. With the help of Enov8, your company can lower infrastructure and licensing costs, improve end-to-end visibility, and achieve faster and smoother operation testing. 

In short, Enov8 removes the pain from IT testing by making the process completely seamless, which is especially delightful for dev teams.

To learn more about Enov8’s transformative approach to IT testing, check out Enov8’s IT Environment Manager.

Post Author

This post was written by Justin Reynolds. Justin is a freelance writer who enjoys telling stories about how technology, science, and creativity can help workers be more productive. In his spare time, he likes seeing or playing live music, hiking, and traveling.

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