Feature

Determining the cloud model that best meets your business requirements

Once organizations have made the decision to take the cloud route for their QA requirements, the next challenge in store is determining the right cloud deployment model which is suitable for their business needs and size. In this third part of our three-part series, we will give decision makers the information they need to evaluate cloud deployment models and choose the ideal model for their organization.

Evaluating your existing QA infrastructure

To properly make a decision about cloud models, an in-depth understanding and evaluation of the existing QA infrastructure against the following parameters is required.

QA infrastructure requirements:

An organization’s demand for QA infrastructure depends on all application requirements, environment needs for different types of testing, the duration of the testing cycles and the frequency of testing in a given calendar year.

Current QA infrastructure availability:

It is recommended that the organization gauges its existing QA infrastructure assets and makes an inventory of all the related hardware and software assets. Then, evaluate the needs and see if the current demand for QA infrastructure can be met with what’s available.

Availability of budget:

It’s important to assess whether an organization is keen on moving from a CAPEX to an OPEX mode for their QA environments, the willingness to allocate budget for investments in the cloud and the budget amount. This factor would play a key role in determining the right cloud deployment model for the organization.

Application release calendar:

The demand for the QA infrastructure also depends on the release calendars for all applications in the organization which would also factor in the shared and dedicated QA environments for some applications.

Evaluation and applicability scenarios of cloud deployment models

After evaluating the current QA infrastructure, look into scenarios that would ideally fit each cloud deployment model. Let’s review the pros, cons and applicability scenarios and organizations ideally deemed fit for each cloud deployment model. There are primarily four kinds of widespread cloud deployment models to explore from an infrastructure perspective, which include private, public, virtual private and the hybrid cloud.

Enterprise private cloud

The enterprise private cloud is essentially a cloud resource pool that is within an organization’s network and firewall. They are created from already-owned and existing hardware and software assets.

Pros

  • Optimal utilization of an organization’s existing assets.
  • On-demand provisioning that can be customized to the QA infrastructure needs.
  • Higher security and compliance with regulations and standards since the cloud is setup within the organization’s firewall.
  • The organization can use the time and resources saved from managing the environment, on more important and core business activities.

Cons

  • Additional CAPEX would be required to setup a private cloud along with an investment in hardware assets and tools needed for automating cloud provisioning and managing services.

Applicability scenarios

The enterprise private cloud would be deemed fit where organizations:

  • Already have adequate hardware which suffices their current QA infrastructure needs and is underutilized.
  • Would be able to manage future QA infrastructure demands and accommodate all application release cycles with the current availability.
  • Are willing to invest in virtualization, cloud management software, SAN storage if needed and server class machines to manage the cloud resource pool.

Ideal for:

  • Large organizations that have an underutilized QA infrastructure.
  • Small and medium-sized organizations that lack QA infrastructure assets and need them for a longer duration.

Public cloud

A public cloud is a cloud deployment model where the cloud resource pool is outside the organization’s firewall and built using a cloud service provider’s hardware and software assets.

Pros

  • On-demand provisioning with no CAPEX involved.
  • No vendor lock-in concerns. 
  • No resources are required to manage the public cloud since the cloud service vendor takes care of the same.

Cons

  • Concerns on data privacy, security and compliance with regulations and standards.

Applicability scenarios

The public cloud would be deemed fit where organizations:

  • Do not own any QA infrastructure related hardware assets.
  • Have no intent to make an investment in its QA infrastructure.
  • Is short on resources to manage its QA environments.

Ideal for:

  • Small and medium-sized organizations that do not own any QA infrastructure and have short- term testing requirements.

Virtual private cloud

Virtual private clouds are third party public clouds or segments of public cloud that have additional features for security and compliance.

Pros

  • On-demand provisioning with no CAPEX involved.
  • No resources are required to manage the public cloud since the cloud service vendor takes care of it.
  • No vendor lock-in concerns. 
  • Compliance with data security, privacy, standards and regulations is possible by using public cloud instances. These public cloud instances are not shared with other organizations who are also cloud service subscribers with the same vendor.

Cons

  • Additional compliances like the SAS 70 validation would be needed from the cloud service provider.

Applicability scenarios

The virtual private cloud would be deemed fit where organizations:

  • Do not own any QA infrastructure related hardware assets.
  • Do not want to make a CAPEX investment for their QA infrastructure.
  • Are short on resources for managing their QA environments.
  • Have the prime responsibility of complying with standards, regulations, data privacy and security.

Ideal for:

  • Organizations of all sizes that do not own any QA-related infrastructure assets but have short term testing requirements, require security and compliance to standards.

Hybrid cloud

Hybrid cloud is a combination of two or more cloud deployment models (which includes private cloud, public cloud and virtual private cloud).

Pros

  • Improved utilization of an organization’s existing assets.
  • On-demand provisioning can be customized to the QA infrastructure needs of the organization.
  • All long-term QA environment needs can be managed with the private cloud and short-term/ sporadic QA environment needs that cannot be accommodated with the existing asset can be managed in a public cloud without any additional CAPEX.
  • Data security, privacy, standards and regulations can be complied with, by using private cloud instances and non-critical application testing can be moved into public clouds.

Cons

  • Integration between public and private clouds can be a challenge when applications from these types of cloud deployment models need to interact with each other for simulating end-to-end testing scenarios.

Applicability scenario

The hybrid cloud would be deemed fit where organizations:

  • Own hardware assets related to QA infrastructure to a considerable extent.
  • Are willing to invest in virtualization, cloud management software, if needed in SAN storage and server class machine for managing the cloud resource pool.
  • Have standards, regulations, data privacy and security requirements to comply with.
  • Cannot completely manage the future QA infrastructure demands with their available hardware assets.
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Ideal for:

  • Large organizations that have the capability to handle majority of their long-term QA infrastructure needs within their own private clouds and have certain short-term/sporadic QA infrastructure needs which can be handled in a public cloud.

Conclusion

Businesses of all sizes can begin their cloud adoption journey with QA environments with a suitable cloud deployment model. It is clearly evident from the evaluation of the different forms of cloud, that while adopting them, long-term resources need to be moved to private clouds, while the short-term and sporadic resources to public clouds in a pay-as-you-use mode, which would help in achieving an effective ROI.

Read part one of this story: Cloud computing: Addressing software QA environment issues.

Read part two of this story: The benefits of adopting the cloud in quality assurance environments.

Have you already invested in a particular cloud model? What pros and cons have you experienced? Follow us on Twitter at @SoftwareTestTT and let us know what you thought of this article.

About the author:

Vijayanathan Naganathan (Vijayanathan_n@infosys.com) is a Senior Technology Architect with the Independent Validation group at Infosys. With 13 years of industry experience, he currently leads the Cloud and Service Virtualization service offerings for QA. His current work includes helping customers adopt cloud for QA environments, defining strategies and executing them for cloud based application validation. Vijay blogs at http://www.infosysblogs.com/testing-services/


This was first published in February 2012

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