Test Data Management is the development of non-production, test data sets that accurately replicate an entire company s real data set so that various software and systems testers can do rigorous and verifiable systems testing. It helps avoid the tediousness of manual data collection, analysis and reporting which are often a requirement when a test case is trying to detect bugs in a piece of software which has to be deployed in an environment with several computers. For instance, in the production level testing of a software system for a financial services company, it would be practically impossible to try and reproduce every transaction that took place in the system in a real time environment without using test data management software. It also enables software testers to collect, analyze and report test data from a variety of sources without having to depend on manual systems or end up collecting duplicate or invalid test data which could lead to the exclusion or rejection of a software system in a testing context.
There are several different types of test data management software tools available for use in the testing purposes. The most popular among them are those which come as stand-alone WaaS applications. These are sold as subscription-based services with a range of features including end-to-end connectivity to a database and integration with web-based applications such as JSP Pages, XML Websites, and PHP Scripts. While these services can provide a complete test automation solution for a wide range of software test cases, they are unsuitable for specific test cases or for a specific technology. They can help a testing team to rapidly establish an exhaustive list of required code change control tasks, but they are unable to deal with issues which arise due to the usage of legacy technologies or a new and unfamiliar test case format.
Another popular choice for test data management software is to use batch processing technologies. These processes rely on the delivery of large volumes of test data sets as input to a central database which is accessed by the individual test durations. The test data management software tool then processes the inputs and generates expected results and outcomes. It is convenient for certain kinds of test automation functions, but they do not meet the requirements of large-scale performance testing. The main drawback with batch processing technologies is that it requires advanced hardware infrastructure and IT support. This also makes it unsuitable for mission critical test cases requiring thousands of test data sets to be processed.
Test automation testing technologies are gaining momentum for several reasons. Firstly, they enable test automation teams to focus on their business development activities. In addition to this, automated test execution enables faster completion of the tasks, thereby providing more time for the development team to think about other aspects of the software development project. The test automation software also helps in cost reduction for the test automation team as well as for the overall organization since test data management can reduce the need for additional storage space for test data sets and can reduce the costs associated with purchasing test automation resources. Automation testing technologies can also help test automation teams to deliver test results instantly without wasting any time. With these technologies, test automation teams can make use of real test data from the real test cases to improve their performance.
Another reason for test data management being an essential component of software development process is that it allows efficient data delivery. For example, it is impossible for a tester to assess a system effectively if the software development team has failed to deliver the test case data from the application server in a reliable manner. As a result, these teams have to work more thoroughly to identify the root cause of the problem and take the required corrective measures before the end of the testing period. The most sensitive data, for instance, can be lost if the servers containing this data fail to be recovered promptly. By ensuring timely data delivery, testers can ensure that the overall test process is successful and that the software developed on the basis of good quality test cases can meet the exact requirements of the business.
Another reason why to test data management is an absolutely crucial aspect of the software development lifecycle is that it lets the test automation teams know what kind of test cases are currently in progress. This enables them to plan their next steps in a way that reduces the scope for failure while simultaneously reducing the number of defects that need to be repaired in the production environment. It also helps ensure that the testers manage the time spent on each test case and track the number of errors they find. Since lifecycle management helps them to easily pinpoint the reasons for the failures and the steps they need to take to address them, the testers can accelerate the rate at which the software is released in the market. They can also use the test data management software to identify areas where improvement is needed in order to accelerate the release of the final product.
Apart from helping the testers develop high quality test data management software, it is crucial for them to create test data management scripts that help them deal with each specific scenario. In other words, these scripts help the testers deal with every possible scenario. They should also be written in such a way that they can be reused throughout the testing life cycle. This way, even if the testers find themselves in a new testing environment, they can easily adapt the test data management software. Such reusable scripts help in ensuring that the testers stay ahead of the curve and can easily make changes as and when required without facing any difficulties. The test data management software is an essential component that needs to be implemented in every test automation and QA department.
In order to make the most out of test data management, the developers need to create test environments that foster growth and innovation rather than stifling it. This requires the teams to experiment with different scenarios and create test data management scripts that enable them to determine the root cause of the problem and recommend remedial measures. While this may sound a little simplistic, most of the teams do not have a dedicated team to handle this task. This means that there is very little room for creativity on the part of the testers. In order to overcome this, these teams have to provide the developers with test environments that are both productive and efficient.