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Quality control testing is critical to guaranteeing that cloud applications can meet performance requirements as they span on- and off-premises environments.
Developers face unique challenges when they need to test the quality of applications in the cloud. For starters, because those applications run on someone else's hardware, testing might not be as accurate as it would be if the apps were hosted on premises. Furthermore, they typically share a cloud provider's hardware with many other tenants whose applications run simultaneously with theirs.
These factors make it critical to establish a testing baseline. Don't wait until there is a problem before you begin to test cloud application performance. For the best results, run your tests at given points during the day, and calculate a weighted average over a period of time. That way, the tests you run are more realistic.
Monitor and test
Most enterprises follow this pattern for quality control testing: detect, triage, diagnose and resolve. Detect problems with monitoring tools, and discover the scope of the problem, including the overall user and business impact, and how often it occurs. All this information helps form a resolution.
Monitor application dependencies to determine if external services hinder performance rather than the application itself. One option is to set up a dashboard that your team can use to monitor overall load and responsiveness, as well as the performance of dependencies.
Enterprises should use a broad spectrum of tests for cloud application performance, including:
- Stress testing: Exposes application performance under various unfavorable conditions;
- Load testing: Measures how the application responds to increased workload demand;
- Functional testing: Ensures application functionality operates properly, based on specific requirements or uses;
- Latency testing: Measures network performance and system latency; and
- Vulnerability assessment: Identifies potential security risks and threats.
Always take the time to analyze testing data. Regardless of the tools you use, it is fairly easy to store away all that data for future use. In addition, form teams that focus exclusively on quality, rather than make it a subtask of developers. Within that group, assign testing processes to a specific team or person, and remain disciplined in that approach.
There are various tools to ensure and continuously monitor cloud application performance. Informatica, for example, offers an integration platform-as-a-service product, called Intelligent Cloud Services, which helps streamline cloud app integration, monitoring and testing.
Another option -- specifically for Microsoft cloud users -- is Azure Application Insights, which monitors live web applications, hosted both on Azure and on premises, and provides advanced analytics tools to diagnose problems. IT and development teams can keep an eye on response times, dependencies and more with customizable dashboards.
When cloud application performance takes a hit, it signals a problem beyond just a slow processor. There are third-party performance tools, such as LoadStorm and Apache JMeter. JMeter is a load-testing tool to analyze and measure web application performance. LoadStorm is for stress testing, as it can simulate as many virtual users as you need to identify the breaking point of your application.