Developers warn of testing times for cloud adoption

Graham Jarvis Advice
27 Dec, 2011

Moving to the cloud is not always straightforward but a proper testing programme could minimise risk

The rush towards cloud seems to be unstoppable. Research company IDC estimates that spending on public cloud IT services is set to increase from $21.5bn to $72.9bn in 2015. However, a quickly-moving market like cloud computing is going to face some difficulties as this level of migration is going to lead to its own problems.

According to one company, UC4 Software, this move towards cloud could actually be under threat.  The company’s own research suggests that 61 percent of organisations cannot cope with the burden of administration, which in turn stifles motivation and creativity. “High maintenance costs and the increasing percentage of time that goes into administration around the existing systems were cited as the biggest challenges to overcome in our survey of IT decision-makers across a range of UK organisations”.

The additional administrative burden means IT staff are spending less time on delivering value to their organisations than they would ideally like. This problem is created by the increasing number of IT systems that are sitting in remote silos, and so UC4 Software predicts that this could stall the growth of cloud adoption at some point in the future.

This administration workload goes some way to explaining why some CIOs are reluctant to spend time on testing for cloud migrations. Yet testing is critical if they really wish to gain the most out of the cloud. Furthermore, these expenses could significantly rise and more problems could occur if the need for cloud migration testing is ignored.

Don’t learn too late
In a more recent Gartner survey, 95 percent of 525 organisations said they were planning to invest more in SaaS. So they could be setting themselves up for a huge nightmare if they fail to test their existing applications, servers, storage and infrastructure properly and carefully to prevent any issues arising from any migration to the cloud.

“The main pitfall of testing for cloud migration is caused by not allowing for the difference in the physical deployment”, says Andrew Brabban, head of cloud at Fujitsu UK and Ireland, "If the testing doesn't take account of this then it can cause problems with user experience due to network latency or with performance of integration to on-premise systems." Other problems can occur too. For example, if testing does not take account of security in the cloud this can make the systems more vulnerable to security threats.

"The biggest risk with testing for the stability, performance or security of the cloud application is that the whole cloud fails or crashes," argues Ewald Roodenrijs, research and development engineer at Sogeti.  He says this "could have serious implications for other parties involved, and it depends on the type of applications running on that cloud, this can go from serious to life threatening."

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