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Crowd meets cloud: uTest and SOASTA announce partnership

Today crowdsource test organization uTest announced its partnership with cloud-based testing organization SOASTA.  Just a little over a month ago I spoke with uTest’s VP of Marketing and Community, Matt Johnston, about uTest’s new load and performance test offerings. Now they are teaming with SOASTA to offer cloud-based load testing. Today’s announcement is interesting in that it combines two relatively new trends in Web-based testing, crowdsourced testing and testing in the cloud, in a way that benefits both companies.

I spoke with Johnston and SOASTA CEO, Tom Lounibos, about the announcement.

Johnston said, “One of the things that’s very appealing to us is that SOASTA has an on-demand offering, meaning that for companies of all sizes, you pay as you go and you only pay for what you use. That’s very much in line with the model uTest employs for functional and load testing services where there’s not a big commitment up front and you can scale up as much as a company wants to meet its needs.”

I asked Lounibos if there were many competitors in the cloud-based testing arena. He answered, “There’s not a lot of on-demand testing companies.” He noted that there were traditional competitors like HP and Rational that offered load test tools and services. “We’re all trying to help customers with reducing the cost and improving the quality. Testing software had traditionally been really expensive. We’re looking for easier, faster, more scalable ways to test Web applications.”

When asked if uTest had considered alternatives and why they had chosen to partner with SOASTA, Johnston answered that uTest was “cognizant of the landscape. We looked around and from a business perspective, in terms of maturity, target audiences and its on-demand business model, SOASTA was the best fit.”

That being said,  uTest will work with other load test tools. “uTest is and will remain brand-neutral.” Johnston said that they would support whichever load and performance tool was best for the client. “For companies that are turning to uTest to help make a load test decision, SOASTA is extremely strong for moderate to large volume Web-applications. And we’ll have members of the uTest community who are trained and well-equipped to work with a SOASTA platform.”

Lounibos talked about the history of SOASTA and some of the resource-intensive obstacles the industry has been faced with which are addressed through a cloud-based testing model. Lounibos realized a real time OLAP engine was needed to house the vast amount of performance business intelligence that’s available. Customers are able to drill into the data to determine what exactly is running at the time of a performance spike. SOASTA’s unique IP is the ability to give their customers a high level of real time “performance intelligence.”

Johnston described the partnership as “multi-faceted” talking first about the training that would be offered to performance engineers.

“We’ll be selecting members of the uTest community to get SOASTA training.”  This will allow customers of either SOASTA or uTest access to SOASTA-trained performance engineers. “We will be creating a skilled labor force, equipped to deal with SOASTA product and projects brought in either by SOASTA or uTest.  This will provide opportunities for the testing community to get free training and testing-related work that’s more consultative and strategic in nature.”

Additionally, the partnership allows uTest to offer SOASTA’s load testing tools to clients and SOASTA to offer its clients functional test services to be fulfilled through the uTest community of testers. Johnston described the model as “marrying up the services and capacity of the uTest community with the tools of SOASTA.”

Lounibos noted of the union, “uTest has 25,000 professional testers. The attractive thing is that each one of those can be enabled to generate a load using one of our agents. Our customers want to know what the user experience might be in Hong Kong vs. Liverpool vs. Des Moines.”

Johnston agrees. “More and more companies are wanting to get closer to real-world end-user experience. With our liveload offering and with this partnership we can now offer our customers in ways we couldn’t before.”

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