Software Quality Insights

May 11 2009   9:20PM GMT

Testing software in the cloud: Pros and cons

Jan Stafford Jan Stafford Profile: Jan Stafford


Testing software in the cloud: Pros and cons

Consultant Bernard Golden – author of IT bestseller, Virtualization for Dummies — is an advocate for virtualization and cloud computing technologies, but he doesn’t want anyone to approach either wearing rose-colored glasses. I met and talked with Golden recently about a slew of IT and development topics. In this post, I’ll share his thoughts on the pros and cons of software testing in cloud environments. In his day job, by the way, Golden is CEO of the IT consulting firm, HyperStratus.

Let’s start out by meeting Golden – via video — and hearing about his experience with a software testing project on Amazon’s cloud.

Expanding upon this sound bite, Golden told me that doing software testing in a cloud environment makes sense for several reasons. For one thing, it’s easier and less costly to mirror a production environment in the cloud. Very few development labs actually have the exact server and software environment as does the data center that runs the application in production. The cost of that set-up would be astronomical. Along the same lines, development in the cloud makes it possible to scale up and scale down the application for testing of various load sizes…without incurring hardware costs. So, the cloud supports difficult testing requirements like load testing and scaling that many labs can’t support.

Golden pointed out some challenges in software testing in the cloud. First, there’s the tricky business of finding the right cloud services provider. Then, software testers will have to learn some new skills. Development teams have to be careful about integration with internal applications, as service endpoints are required and configuration will be different in a cloud setting.

Developers and software testers will also have to figure out how to handle application lifecycle management in cloud environments, Golden said. Expect to see lifecycle and architecture testing issues with web and application servers, the load balancer and databases.

Golden will be writing about his work in cloud and virtual lab environments in a series. The first installment is Testing software with Amazon Web Services. In March, he wrote an article for on Choosing an application architecture for the cloud.

What are your concerns about, hopes for or experiences with software development and testing in virtual labs and/or cloud environments? Tell me your story via video or a simple email:

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