Software as a Service (SaaS) has transformed the IT landscape. The focus has shifted from software development to software customization. A number of generic business applications are being developed by Cloud vendors to suit the needs of different types of businesses or Cloud based applications are being developed by organizations for migration to the Cloud.  Vendor developed applications can be customized, tweaked to the needs of a specific customer at a determined cost with the help of experts made available by the vendor or customized organization owned applications can be delivered to the end users via the Internet from the Cloud based server. As a result, SaaS testing has become mission-critical to any effort to migrate applications to the Cloud.

A good SaaS testing practice is to begin with an assessment of SaaS testing needs. Usage patterns must be studied in detail before the test plan and the test suite can be prepared. It is also a good idea to prepare a set of test data and define the test environment before actually launching into the test.

SaaS testing areas would include Network testing, infrastructure testing, and finally application testing. All these tests must be performed without damaging the shared infrastructure.

SaaS functional tests could begin with manual and exploratory tests (as in traditional testing). Browser compatibility, regression testing, in house environment testing and multi user environment testing would be part of the functional testing process. Security testing processes would include application security testing, network security testing, potentiality for attack tests, roles and responsibilities tests, and data integrity tests with specific emphasis on alert settings and compliance mandates. Disaster recovery and localization may be other parameters that will have to be considered.

Performance will have to be tested elaborately. A single performance issue can damage the business.  Load testing will be integral to these tests.  Key metrics defined in the Service Level Agreement (SLA) will have to remain in focus. Other tests would be in-service upgrade testing and remote accessibility and usage testing.

A number of Cloud based test tools are being made available by Cloud vendors for SaaS testing. These include tools such as Gomez, Push To Test, SOASTA, uTest, and many others. Unfortunately, the tribe of vendors who provide their users with these tools is very small. The test options available with these tools are also very limited.  Captive testing tools available with professional testing service providers are very expensive.

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