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Application Testing – Is It Vital Before My Cloud Migration?

I’ve been involved in a number of migrations across a wide range of customers. And one common theme always stands out – application testing. Many of the businesses are running functional testing, however this is often performed in live server environments with little or no user experience or load testing.

I therefore thought it would be useful to explore the reasons why businesses are focussing on application testing and highlight the important role it plays in any successful cloud migration.

Why test any application?

Quite simply applications are living entities. They are born into a business driven by a requirement. As a result, they will grow with the businesses’ changing demands, be upgraded, patched and as part of a full system lifecycle may be retired when a newer service is available. During the application lifecycle, many elements of the system will change, including underlying infrastructure. Internal support teams need to ensure a consistent level of service throughout, tracking ongoing business value against its original investment and measuring improvements as they are delivered.

What core elements need to be tested?

  • Functionality of the application – do all the current tasks still work & does new functionality work as expected?
  • Performance of the application – do all core functions continue to run at the same or faster speed than before the change?
  • User experience improvement – this covers a couple of areas: cosmetic (what the user sees) and perception (how the user feels). Has anything been moved, added or deleted? Does the user think it takes the same time or longer to login & load new pages?

More importantly, you need to run these tests on your current application landscape to create a baseline which can be used for comparison moving forward. If you’re running separate application environments, these tests may be broken down to align with the appropriate infrastructure.

Where do the pitfalls lie?

Even when a rigorous testing regime is implemented, it is important to remember the underlying infrastructure limitations. If tests are being run on 5 year old & highly utilised hardware, it is possible you will receive distorted results caused by an underlying limitation, rather than a maximum application performance. For example, a database may be performance limited by the underlying storage system. If migrated to a newer environment, the potential for improved performance could be realised – but be aware of any provider charges for using all the available storage performance.

Regular testing cycles will allow support staff to document gradual decline in application performance as capacity limits are reached. This information can then be fed back into your business allowing strategic decisions to be made about upgrades which may be required now or in the future. This is where using a Cloud Service Provider can drive real benefit: additional resources can be added without long lead time, and similarly if they do not deliver the expected benefit they can be removed again.

Don’t forget user perception. Today’s application users expect quick responses and timely operations – in the business domain as it is in their personal computing experiences.

Acceptable responses 5 years ago would leave today’s end users frustrated, as we become more intolerant of delays in an increasingly instant digital world.

Conclusion

So is application testing vital before a cloud migration? My answer is a resounding yes. Having a baseline of application testing that encompasses not only performance metrics such as the time taken to run a report, but also the user perception element, will give you a rounded view of how your environment performs today. This knowledge will allow any cloud migration to be fully tested in terms of user experience and functionality to ensure you are providing equal or better service to your business users or end customers.

About Steve Bianciardi

Steve Bianciardi
Steve Bianciardi is Solution Architect Manager for Adapt. With 20 years of experience, Steve is a business focused IT professional experienced in delivering technical solutions to enhance IT service delivery, drive down costs and bring strategic direction and innovation to businesses. Steve’s experience has been gained across the Insurance, Facility Services and Global Shipping sectors. At Adapt, Steve leads one of the Solution Architect teams who deliver tailored solutions to key clients. Responsibilities include: - Resource manage the TDA team - Production of technical designs to meet customer requirements - Evaluation and cost modeling of core solutions with commercial team to meet customer requirements - Governance of technical implementation for projects Prior to working for Adapt Steve worked for OCS and Inchcape Shipping Services where he managed large data centre, WAN/ LAN environments both nationally and Globally. While working for Inchcape Shipping Steve was responsible for delivering services to over 50 countries. Steve is an evangelist for infrastructure transformation and simplification to enable agility, flexibility and achievement of core objectives. In his spare time, Steve enjoys renovating properties, travelling and is a keen walker.

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