- Published on Tuesday, 16 August 2011 09:07
- Written by Marc Hebert
Relieving the Application Testing Bottleneck
If you’re working at a midsized or large company, you probably have dozens of applications in production. Your commercial applications typically get upgraded at least once per year. Your custom applications undergo ongoing enhancement by your developers.
None of this can happen without testing – which typically lengthens the development process significantly. Why does software testing have to take so long? It all ties back to the growing problem of data cholesterol.
Why Copying Production Prolongs Testing
Building and maintaining test environments for complex applications traditionally consists of making full copies, or clones, of the production database for unit testing, system testing, integration testing, performance testing, and training. It’s not unusual for companies that run Oracle E-Business Suite, for example, to maintain 10 copies of production in non-production environments.
If you have, say, one terabyte of data in production, it may take you anywhere from several days to two or three weeks to set up a test environment based on this volume of data. And therein lies the bottleneck.
(I also can’t help but marvel that maintaining 10 copies of production means storing 10 TB of data. Planning to archive that data? Good call – but you’ll still only reduce it by maybe half. So, you’re looking at 5 TB of extra data lying around your corporate network.)
But I digress. What if you could set up a testing environment within a few hours, and refresh it even faster?
You would streamline each software release by days or weeks. If you have dozens of releases scheduled throughout the year, think of the extra productivity your end users would get out of their business applications.
The key is to use IBM Optim Test Data Management to extract data, rather than relying on full copies of production.
Using IBM Optim as Your Scalpel
Optim lets you create slimmer test data environments by extracting highly-targeted data subsets from your production database. Because the environments are so much smaller, you can refresh them more often, perform more test cycles within the testing timeframe, and release more quickly.
Think of Optim Test Data Management as a surgeon’s scalpel. It lets you slice out the exact dataset that’s most relevant to the specific functionality you’re testing. For example, if you’re testing new features in a module of Oracle E-Business Suite, Optim will let you extract, say, 200 rows of data from a subset of the tables in Oracle to test one business object.
So, instead of making a copy of the entire production database, using an archiving tool to reduce the size, and ending up with a 500 GB testing database, you might end up with a 20 GB testing database. That’s a night-and-day difference.
How Travelport Saved $240,000
Optim Test Data Management isn’t just for Oracle E-Business Suite, of course. There are versions designed for Oracle EBS, Siebel, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and others, and a more generic version that you can use with custom applications.
Want an example of how this is working for a real-life company? Read how Travelport used Optim Test Data Management to do exactly what I’ve described above, saving $240,000 in storage costs within the first year.