Cloud Cost and Your Software Testing

How to spend testing dollars on finding issues, not just running tests

Key Takeaways

  • Cloud infrastructure plays a significant role in software testing, and optimizing cloud costs is crucial for efficient testing without overspending.

  • By implementing smart testing strategies, such as test prioritization, environment optimization, data management, automation, and parallelization, organizations can reduce cloud expenses while maintaining testing effectiveness.

  • Launchable's Predictive Test Selection offers a valuable solution to cut cloud costs by running only essential tests, leveraging machine learning to predict likely test failures and enhancing testing efficiency without compromising quality.

Prices are going up and down all over the world, with cloud computing, unfortunately, going more up than down. And trying to keep these costs low can be difficult, especially regarding QA testing in the cloud. While you can find easy ways to cut down cloud costs, only some of these practices can also be applied to your testing.

Understand the critical factors driving cloud costs and how your teams can save budget without losing testing efficiency.

Understanding Cloud Cost Drivers for QA Testing

Using the cloud is easy — one of the biggest reasons it’s so popular. But because of that accessibility, some important tidbits can fall through the cracks if you aren’t closely monitoring how you use these platforms. Several factors can drive your cloud cost sky-high, such as storage capacity, data transfer fees, and computing resources. When left unchecked, any of these reasons can unintentionally dent your budget.

Unfortunately, you need to use all of those factors to run tests regarding QA testing. Your test suites can be resource-intensive and require a lot of transactions, and you should be keeping an eye on these costs at all times. And while there are common ways to keep these costs low (like rightsizing your data, optimizing your resource usage, or managing your data more efficiently) can help, there are more steps you can take to stay within your budget.

Strategies for Smarter Testing to Reduce Cloud Costs

With so many factors involved with your cloud cost and the importance of QA testing in today’s world, these costs must be minimized where possible. Here are a few of our favorite ways to QA test smartly and efficiently:

Test Prioritization and Coverage

Naturally, testing less often is the easiest way to save on QA testing costs. But you can’t just wipe half your test suites off the board and call it a day. Instead, your teams should prioritize specific tests that cover the most needed areas. Tests that are redundant or don’t offer any value are easy to cut, but spotting them may take some time. You’ll also want to ensure you aren’t testing parts of your application that don’t need the coverage at this moment so that you can save resources.

Test Environment Optimization

You should also closely monitor the test environments you spin up and ensure they’re appropriately sized for your needs. Rightsizing your instances can dramatically impact your costs if you’re paying for more than you’re using. You can also look into cheaper instance types, such as reserved instances, to get more bang for your cloud buck. You can also look into serverless architecture and setting up containers across your infrastructure, though it may take longer to set up.

Test Data Management

Your tests will likely need data to run, so looking at how your tests generate and use that data can significantly impact your costs. Transferring data has a price, but so does generating data within your environments, so you should weigh both costs. You can also look into data minimization methods to reduce costs if you transfer data. Checking the overall utilization of that test data is essential, too — you’re spending money to create it, so why aren’t you using it?

Test Automation and Parallelization

Of course, automation is one of the most significant ways to save time and money. It’s hard to deny how impactful automation can be, and adding it to your tests is a no-brainer. Not only can they make your tests faster, but they can also improve how efficient your tests are. Another way to use automation is to set up parallelization to run multiple tests simultaneously. That way, you can run more tests in a shorter time frame.

Test Environment Lifecycle Management

The environments you spin up for your tests matter more than just for optimization — you should ensure the complete cycle from spinning up to shutting down is maintained too. Ensure you have the needed resources and aren’t provisioning more than required for your test environments. Test environments are also excellent for lower-cost instances, such as spot instances over on-demand (or vice versa).

How to Optimize Cloud Costs with Launchable

Cloud infrastructure is a crucial element in QA testing, and its significance cannot be overlooked. However, it is also true that QA testing can rapidly deplete your budget, as executing all tests demands considerable time and resources. If not monitored carefully, these costs can escalate to astronomical levels. 

To address this, teams can either reduce the frequency of testing or use parallelization to cut costs. However, both options result in longer feedback times and slower releases. Launchable offers 

Launchable's approach involves intelligently analyzing your test suite and using Predictive Test Selection to predict which tests are likely to fail. By leveraging this predictive capability, you can selectively run only a fraction of your test suite, saving valuable resources. This means your teams can test efficiently without having to allocate excessive resources to a wide variety of tests.

The implementation of Predictive Test Selection not only saves time but also reduces the need to expend extensive resources on running all tests. Launchable optimizes your testing process and streamlines cloud costs by focusing on the tests with a higher likelihood of failure. As a result, you can maintain an efficient and effective QA testing strategy while managing your resources wisely, preventing unnecessary overspending.

Predictive Test Selection uses machine learning to predict which tests are likely to fail based on incoming commits. By running only the tests predicted to fail, the pragmatic risk-based testing method allows for reducing testing costs and execution times without compromising quality or delivery speed.

The method of running your predicted-to-fail tests and boxing them as dynamically generated subsets is referred to as “in-place shortening”. Teams can implement this approach on one or multiple test suites in the delivery pipeline to reduce execution times and enhance developer feedback. As a result, the feedback time is reduced by using the Launchable subset in pre-merge testing, while the entire test suite is still run in post-merge, thus reducing cloud costs.

Launchable's technology provides a flexible approach that allows teams to strike a balance between speed and costs during the application lifecycle, tailored to their organizational needs. The benefit of implementing this approach includes shorter test execution times and lower cloud costs, ultimately improving the efficiency of the delivery pipeline.

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