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DevOps Glossary

Testing as a Service (TaaS)

What is Testing as a Service (TaaS)?

For IT organizations that develop and maintain proprietary software applications, software testing is a crucial component of ensuring that releases are functional and meet the quality and performance demands of customers. In the traditional software development process, all of the testings occur in the same time frame of the project - after the product has already been designed, coded and implemented. For organizations that focus on DevOps or Agile development methodologies, testing is a frequent activity that takes place throughout the development process.

In addition to application testing, IT organizations may also test and audit their cloud infrastructure and environments to assess operational and business performance as well as security. Tests could be geared towards discovering security vulnerabilities within the network or optimizing the business performance of an application or service.

For organizations whose demand for testing has surpassed their capabilities, Testing-as-a-Service (TaaS) represents a new avenue for outsourcing many types of testing that are demanded in today's IT environment. In the TaaS service delivery model, a third-party service provider is contracted to provide testing services in connection with the organization's key business activities. TaaS service providers leverage their existing web interface and existing test infrastructure and automation capabilities to help software developers bring new products to the market faster and with fewer bugs.

What are the Common Use Cases for Testing as a Service?

Every market niche is based on satisfying the needs of customers and of course Testing as a Service is no exception. IT organizations always have the option of developing their own test infrastructure, but there are many circumstances where the organization can garner real business benefits by outsourcing the software testing process. IT organizations should consider contracting with a TaaS provider when they require:

  • Additional Expertise - For some IT organizations or software development teams, it may be the case that members of the team lack the necessary skillsets for software quality assurance and automated testing. It makes sense to outsource the testing process when it is clear that the expertise of external service providers will enhance project outcomes.
  • Short Turnaround - For development teams that are pursuing a continuous integration or continuous delivery working model and embracing Agile and DevOps practices, the need for frequent testing can overwhelm developers, especially those who deliver the most value by authoring new code. When applications are too complex for the traditional manual testing model, a TaaS service provider can help execute automated testing with a short turnaround and free up developer's time to keep pushing new code.
  • Simplified Infrastructure - IT organizations can incur significant up-front costs while establishing their own testing infrastructure. These costs include things like testing hardware, software licenses and the actual time taken to design and code test scripts. Due to resource constraints, it is often cheaper to hire a third-party TaaS service provider that already has the necessary infrastructure in place to perform the desired tests.

Functional vs. Non-Functional Testing Explained

Application testing activities can be grouped broadly under two big umbrellas: functional testing and non-functional testing. Virtually all types of testing fall into one of these two groups, so it is important for software developers to understand the differences between them.

Functional testing is all about testing the features and functions within an application. Functional tests focus on ensuring that the application or software program is doing what it is supposed to do, that it takes a given input and responds with the appropriate corresponding output. Functional testing includes things like unit testing, integration testing, system testing, and user acceptance testing - all activities that can be assigned to a Testing-as-a-Service provider.

Non-functional testing deals with non-functional aspects of the application, such as performance, security, and usability. Instead of answering the question "Does the application do what it is supposed to?", non-functional testing asks questions like:

  • Does the application meet the security requirements established in the software design project phase?
  • Is the application easy for users to interact with?
  • Does the application communicate as desired with other software systems?
  • How well does the application perform in a simulated production environment? Does it meet customer expectations for latency and responsiveness? Can it handle the anticipated workload?

As a shorthand, you might remember that functional testing deals with the business requirements of the application while non-functional testing deals with performance requirements and customer expectations.

What Types of Testing are Outsourced with Testing as a Service?

IT organizations can choose to outsource many kinds of functional and non-functional testing activities to TaaS service providers. Some highlights include:

Automated Regression Testing (ART) - Automated regression testing is typically conducted after a new software update is released. The new release will run through a battery of automated unit and integration tests to verify that the code compiles correctly after a new update. ART runs through a test suite that includes all of the important functional tests for the application, as well as tests for external services that support the application.

Application Security Testing - The purpose of application security testing is to identify potential vulnerabilities or attack vectors that could be exposed in a cyber attack. A TaaS service provider uses its own security analysis tools to assess the vulnerability of an application and make recommendations for reducing correcting and perceived security flaws.

Data Warehouse Testing - When your developers are building a data warehouse with millions of lines of data, manual verification of data quality and transformation accuracy is impossible due to the time constraints and the huge volume of information. A Testing-as-a-Service provider can create automated tests that measure data completeness, transformation accuracy, and overall data quality.

Mobile Testing - Consumers are increasingly accessing your application and web site via mobile, elevating the importance of delivering a high-quality, seamless application performance across devices, operating systems and web browsers. Mobile testing services can help your team optimize the performance of your application across platforms and ensure that it can manage the anticipated volume of mobile connections.

Server Load & Performance Testing - Performance testing services include the analysis of user scenarios and transactions in a simulated production environment. Testing-as-a-Service providers can run simulations with a predetermined number of transactions, users, and views to assess the performance of your application under different server loads and conditions.

Sumo Logic's Log Analysis Capabilities Complement Testing as a Service

Sumo Logic's cloud-native platform can help IT organizations perform non-functional tests of applications deployed in cloud environments. Sumo Logic aggregates event log data from throughout the cloud infrastructure, giving developers real-time actionable insights into application security as well as operational and business performance.

With Sumo Logic, software development teams can more easily manage requirements for non-functional testing while taking advantage of Testing-as-a-Service when further support, expertise, and capabilities are required.