Cloud Computing Use Case: Development & Test Environments

In a recent article “Put Your Test Lab In The Cloud”, InformationWeek outlined the pros, cons and considerations you must take into account when talking about hosting test labs in the cloud. Using the cloud for this purpose is not necessarily a new idea, and it’s one that certainly makes a lot of sense; Replication of test results depends upon consistency across all variables, and putting a test lab in the cloud allows you to do that from anywhere or for anyone who needs to use it.

Indeed, the use of private or public cloud services, like Amazon Web Services, as a platform for software development & testing, is common practice for some businesses already. The benefits of using the cloud for this include the general positives of cloud, such as cost savings (in terms of the lack of start up cost as well as hardware upgrades, maintenance etc. coming out of the equation), but also extend to specific benefits, like increased control over projects, quick duplication of environments (especially when compared to “tin” set ups), speed of deployment, ease of collaboration, and the ability for testers and developers to access environments on demand, removing a barrier to efficiency. It’s not hard to see why the practice it growing in popularity along with other cloud services.

To best understand the benefits of cloud computing in software development and test environments, it’s useful to see the process in action. We recently hosted a webinar showing the process in detail, from configuring a template for the environment, to launching and connecting remotely to the machine image. In our example, we used Amazon Web Services with a custom management tool, but the process is fairly standard.

It’s important to note that different considerations need to be made for each cloud service provider, especially when weighing up public and private cloud offerings. Obviously, it’s faster and easier to get started with a public cloud, but it can be harder to manage costs, and some would consider a layer of control to be lost. On the other hand, private clouds are costly and time consuming to set up in comparison, and it’s a much bigger consideration to justify.