If you’ve been performing on-premise testing in your organization, you know the rules already. But for the uninitiated, on-premise testing is a form of testing where testers perform tests on local machines, systems, or devices set up at an office. As the name suggests, it happens on-premise.
On-premise testing comes with a lot of responsibility. From the maintenance and monitoring of the machines and software to upgrading and installations — you’ll need all hands on deck.
Moreover, on-premise testing is quite expensive and requires more effort. We’ll talk more about it in this post. Let’s understand the pros and cons of on-premise testing.
Benefits of On-Premise Testing
1. More control: While performing on-premise testing, organizations have more control over configurations, setup, hardware, and software. They’re free to plan their upgrades or operational maintenance without involving any third-party businesses.
2. Data security: Since all the tools and machines are deployed within the premises — data is quite secure. The security and data storage infrastructure has to meet certain security compliances and standards; only then, the infrastructure is good to go for testing.
3. Cost-effective if test scope is limited: If you’re looking to test internal apps or apps/websites with very few users or intend to run limited test scripts — you can go for on-premise testing with a spare system or two.
As the requirement is low, you’ll need not more than a few systems and devices. For certain situations that don’t require scalability, on-premise testing can be cost-effective.
Challenges of On-Premise Testing
On-premise testing offers its own set of limitations; let’s see what they are.
1. Creation: First things first — to perform on-premise testing, you’ll have to create and configure an environment for testing. It involves setting up a data center that meets security compliances and other factors like physical components, virtual elements, storage management, physical infrastructure, etc. All of these require a lot of capital.
Besides, for the test creation itself, you’ll need plenty of testers and engineers who have to regularly upgrade their skills to learn the latest trends and technologies for performing tests.
Apart from that, you’ll have to manually create test environments and configure devices, machines, software, etc., to meet those requirements. Honestly, this is not time-effective at all if you’re aiming for efficiency and speed.
2. Maintenance: When you talk about on-premise testing, remember that there are plenty of costs (often hidden costs) involved because the devices and machines need regular upgrades. And you know it — maintaining a horde of tools, systems, servers, and software is no joke! The following are some of the costs involved in maintenance.
i. Devices: As per Statista, there are around 14.91 billion smartphones in 2021, and the same study proves that there will be an increase of 3.7 billion devices in the following three years. That’s a considerable number, and to perform tests on numerous devices, especially the newer ones — you’ll have to purchase new devices.
And these are just smartphones alone; the device pool gets larger if we consider laptops, tablets, etc. Scalability comes at a price. While this is expensive, discarding older devices also leads to a lot of dire wastage.
Picture Source: Statista
ii. Software: Every device requires regular software updates, and they have to be configured for performing tests. If you configure a test environment and run into any errors, those will reflect in your test efficiency. For this — you’ll need to put in plenty of time and effort, and yet, you may not fetch desired results because the process is taxing.
iii. Testing on all versions: If you’re not testing across a wide range of devices — your testing is incomplete. For instance, let’s discuss serious numbers. As per Statcounter’s survey, Android 5.1 Lollipop and 6.0 Marshmallow are still in use. And this is just Android; if we consider other operating systems and their versions — it’s a much more massive pool of devices that you’ll have to perform tests on.
Based on which version of operating systems or browsers your users consume content on, you have to plan your testing. You have to test your product across various devices and versions of the OS to ensure it works as intended. For that, you have to constantly maintain, configure, acquire new devices, install operating systems, and at an organizational level, this is really expensive.
Picture Source: StatCounter
3. Infrastructure: Apart from the maintenance costs, you’ve got to count the infrastructure costs too. Let’s check what they are.
i. Space: For on-premise testing, machines are stored in one primary location or spread across various locations based on the nature of the business. This may require virtual and physical storage spaces, data centers, etc. When there is an increase in elements like devices, systems, software, etc. — the space has to be increased.
ii. People: With on-premise testing, you’ve got to set up a dedicated team of people that includes DevOps specialists, testers, developers, the IT team, and anyone involved to maintain, upgrade, install, and monitor the tools. It is a significant overhead cost because on-premise testing needs constant maintenance.
With the evolving technology and software development, this team has to learn new skills and constantly update themselves with the latest technologies, which is not always practical.
iii. Accessory management: Everything is set up in-house. So, you know what that means — apart from buying and upgrading devices, purchasing accessories like cables, additional support devices is another mammoth of a task.
To upgrade, repair, or buy a new version every time is not a cost-effective or scalable solution. Besides, if your organization is spread across different locations, you’ll have to purchase and manage these elements for various locations.
iv. Running tests manually isn’t time-effective: With on-premise testing, most of the times tests are run manually. This isn’t time effective because you’ve got to wait for each test to end to run another one, no matter how many devices or machines you have in place. Tests cannot be scheduled in advance, based on priority.
Also, since manual tests, unlike automated tests, aren’t run in parallel, you’ll lose out on time, which increases your time to market. Besides, it requires more staffing. For teams that have agile and DevOps culture, on-premise testing is not advisable.
How to Overcome the Challenges of Testing On-Premise?
Are you wondering if there’s a solution or a solid alternative to on-premise testing? If yes — cloud-based testing is your solution. Cloud-based testing, as the name suggests, is a form of testing where end-to-end testing happens on the cloud. This means all your infrastructure, maintenance, storage, and device management are implemented by a cloud provider.
Picture Source: Software Testing
Let’s look at some of the advantages a cloud-based testing tool offers:
1. Scalability: A cloud-based tool offers scalability. The subscription models are designed for you to pay for what you use. Based on the project requirement, you can scale up or down without investing much in buying new devices, software, storage, etc.
2. Cloud-based device labs: Several cloud-based tools either come equipped with real devices or support cloud-based device labs. You can access thousands of devices with tools such as Testsigma, Sauce Labs, Browserstack, etc., to test your product.
These tools maintain, upgrade, and update devices with both latest and older versions of OS, browsers. All you’ve got to do is test your product on them. It’s a lot like plug-and-play.
3. Remote accessibility: Remote working is now the norm. If your teams include people from various geographical locations, cloud-based tools are of massive advantage.
A cloud is always up and running — your teams can access it from anywhere, any time, and work in collaboration whenever required. This is in stark contrast with on-premise testing, where the team has to be physically present at a physical location.
Picture Source: Cybersecurity
4. Parallel test execution: Cloud-based test automation tools support parallel test execution, which means you can parallelly execute multiple tests in multiple environments. Apart from significantly reducing the time, this also enables faster feedback cycles. With this, you can match the DevOps speed seamlessly.
So, if anything, cloud-based testing is collaborative, time-saving, more efficient, and maintenance costs are much lower too. To understand more about cloud-based testing from a tester’s perspective, we recommend reading this post.
Cloud-based testing is crucial if you’re all set to embrace the digital transformation. It’s here to stay and for you to stay ahead of the game with the least operational overheads and be more agile and flexible — the cloud is the way to go.
A cloud-based test automation tool like Testsigma can help you get there. This codeless test automation tool can be integrated with CI/CD tools and communication platforms. It comes with a fully-loaded test lab and 1,000s of real devices with various browser-OS combinations.
You can start testing from day one, and the best part is it’s powered by AI, which auto-heals and maintains 70% of your test cases. Furthermore, this tool supports cross-browser testing, regression testing, mobile, and web app testing.
If you’re finicky about analytics — Testsigma’s customizable analytics dashboard lets you track the progress and productivity of the project and the team.
Get started with cloud-based test automation, the easy way, with Testsigma
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