Is there anything more frustrating than to be stuck waiting? Regardless of what you are waiting for, it’s not a good place to be. According to the 2018-2019 World Quality Report (WQR), “the lack of test environments and data is the number-one contest in applying to test to agile development.” Which means a lot of waiting and a lot of frustration. DevOps is creating a difference, but in many cases, it is decreasing well short of the wanted return. There are many reason, one common roadblock is the lack of the right test data, in the right place, at the right time. The similar WQR notes that 58% of respondents still rely on manually produced test data and 66% said they use spreadsheets to manually make new test data.
TDM Can Remove the Test Data Bottleneck
To come for the right test data in the right place at the right time can become a thing of the past. Test Data Management (TDM) technology and tools are not some new, latest-greatest technology here to except the day. These tools have been around for a while but were largely only accessible by large organizations willing to invest seven-figures for licenses along with similar outlays for multi-year tool implementation projects.
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What sets these tools apart?
1. Small Sets of Data
It is not required to test with the entire production copy, and more importantly, enduring the wait for it to be loaded and scrubbed. The ability to create small test sets, tailored to a specific test case, and load them fast is the starting point. The ability to take relationally intact data sets through integrated platforms is a requirement. This should not require additional scripting or other enchanted to make occur. A DevOps TDM tool will have this capability achieved.
2. Pre-Provisioned Data
To escape waiting, developers and/or testers must be able to provision the test data as they are structure stories and test plans. The data should be available in advance of code being written. The small, focused data sets pronounced above can be stored in a test data repository for use when they are desirable. As extended as the test case is still valid, so should the data be valid. Changing the test case should at the very least quick the user to revisit the test data needed and restore the data set(s).
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3. Naturally Complex Data
Most everyone in the application development group understands that your production data is “the best” test data you can discover. What they nasty is that test data generators fight to recreate the naturally recurring difficulty that is found in your production data. As such, important edge conditions are missed. For modest applications, you might be able to get away with user-generated data. In composite environments, you need a TDM tool capable of securely leveraging your production data.
4. Safe Data
A duplicate of your production data may be your finest test data. Though, not complicating that data would be a big fault, especially if your databases contain PII, PHI and/or PCI. The good news here is any credible TDM tool is going to do some level of obfuscation – even the older tools. What sets latest tools different is the ease in which they can consistently mask data across multiple tables and multiple databases. This might not be an issue for unit testing, but it becomes a significant tool requirement in your integration and UAT environments.
5. Self-Served Data
Smells like a bottleneck waiting to happen, and usually, it is. Because many older tools are very complex, special skills are required, which leads to a specialized team. Alternatively, TDM tools made for DevOps feature intuitive, easy-to-use interfaces that allow developers and testers to create their own small, safe copies of test data from production sources. The finest tools require nominal training to get your resources up and running