In the past few years, IT has witnessed a ‘virtualisation evolution’ in the form of cloud computing. For the uninitiated, this “as a Service” model offers a total solution, delivering IT as a service where resource sharing, allocation and availability are on demand via the internet at any given time.

Think about streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, which pride themselves on providing a wide range of easily accessible, on-demand programmes and films. With millions of users and an enormous amount of data, the cloud is a vital tool for them to be able to provide the content consumers crave. It’s undeniable that in today’s data-driven world, everyday activities from music streaming to reading an eBook all require cloud computing in order to work effectively.

Another example, but from the business world, is the ever-increasing number of apps moving to the cloud-based model. From Microsoft Office 365 to SalesForce, many businesses now offer the option to run their applications through a web browser. This business model reduces or eliminates the upfront capital costs, provides more predictable expenditures, lowers the need for support and ensures that the app is kept updated.

But, before they make it big, how do these apps and services start out and what processes and tests need to take place in order to go mainstream?

Cloud testing: the lowdown

 Even the biggest and most well-known apps have humble beginnings. As with most people-facing products or tools, testing is a vital stage before such a technology can ‘go live’ or be deemed fit for public consumption. Cloud testing is the process of testing the performance, scalability and reliability of web applications in a cloud computing environment.

Whether a tech company is extending an existing application or building something entirely new, cloud-based resources can save the company time and money, regardless of the application deployment or the size of the organisation. This method can also facilitate more effective developer collaboration over its predecessor, manual testing.

Testing in the cloud is performed in three distinct areas of cloud that includes infrastructure, platform and service. This also means you are also including availability, security, performance, interoperability, disaster recovery, and multi-tenancy testing.

One common interpretation of “cloud testing” that many vendors adhere to is using the cloud to run or manage the tests themselves. For example, testers can use the cloud to generate massive distributed load tests, simulate a large number of mobile devices or run functional and performance monitors from all over the world. Although these are all extremely valuable offerings themselves, they are not very specific for testing cloud applications, which means that referring to it as “cloud testing” in this situation isn’t always 100% correct.

Benefits of cloud testing

A main benefit of adopting cloud testing is giving the tester quick access to data, whenever it’s needed. This model also allows information to be moved to large, remotely-located data centres easily and at very little expense, with the user being able to access the resources 24/7.

As well as being cheap and easy to create, this model also makes reconfiguring and tearing down test beds painless. Alongside this, testing in the cloud is more consistent, more easily customisable and allows testers to perform more rigorous performance testing than previous methods.

Finally, cloud testing also reduces direct price of equipment maintenance and management and helps attain rapid ROI on application assets and brings about faster time to market, which means businesses can start capitalising on the technology more quickly.

A look to the future

 In the past few years, testers have recognised the significant role cloud testing plays in the development effort. As such, testers are seen as an integral part of the project’s different phases from concept to launch.

Using the cloud for testing is helping organisations to acquire the tools, software licenses and infrastructures they need to succeed at a very low cost, without having to go through the motions of setting these up themselves or face concerns about the project’s maximum utilisation or potential.

With big names from the consumer landscape and the business world jumping on the bandwagon, it seems that the popularity of cloud testing is not set to slow down any time soon. Due to this flexibility, scalability and the reduced costs this method brings, it’s highly likely that testers will continue to see cloud testing as a future-proof option that provides a clear route to success.