Showing posts with label test data. Show all posts
Showing posts with label test data. Show all posts

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Top smells that indicate that your project needs TDM

In my previous posts, I explained about the basics of Test Data Creation, Challenges in Production Cloning, Data Subset and Data Masking.  In this post we will focus on a slightly different note.

Invariably every problem has a symptom that we call smells in the modern Agile days.  So this post is going to focus on the typical smells that indicate that your project needs Test Data Management (TDM).

  • Testers waste more time preparing test data rather than testing the application
    • This is probably the number one symptom or smell that warrants a TDM process and solution in place.
  • Testers depend a lot of Business Analysts to provide the required test data
    • This is also one of the top symptom when it comes to the need for TDM.  There is a lot of dependency for test data from the Business Analysts.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Top 3 Challenges in using Production data in Test Environments

In my previous post "How to create Test Data", I explained the concept of creating test data directly from the production data.  In this post we will concentrate on the Top 3 challenges in using the Production data for testing purposes.

Data Security

This is by far the most crucial challenge of using Production data in Test Environments.  Production data can contain a lot of sensitive information.  Even though the data sets will be rich in nature in the Production database, the very thought of using production data involves a lot of risk.  For ex. if you are testing an application for a bank, production data will contain real customer information like Names, Addresses, Account Numbers, Balances, Credit Card Numbers, etc.  As you can see, if you try to use these data for testing, it exposes huge security risks for the bank. So how do we overcome this, the answer is Data Masking.

Data Masking is the process of masking of the sensitive fields from the complete data set.  Please read my future post on Data Masking and the Techniques used for Data Masking for more details.  The following figure depicts the data security challenge and the approaches.

Data Security Challenge

Saturday, 9 February 2013

TDM Topics to be covered in this blog

Hello all,

The intention of this blog is to share my insight and knowledge in the area of Test Data Management.  I am looking forward to write a few posts in the following topics.  I will write those whenever I get some free time.  Thanks.

Rajaraman R

Saturday, 2 February 2013

How to create Test Data?

Let's assume you have a very basic testing need.  You need to have around 50 customers created in your system for testing it.  Lets assume it is a web based application.  In fact, the concept is applicable to any technology/application.  So you have a customer creation screen as shown below.

So how do you create the test data that is required for you.

Basically there are 3 approaches to do it:
  • Manual approach
  • Functional Automation Approach
  • Database Approach

Manual Approach:

In the manual approach, you would manually feed the data in the screens and then create a customer. And similarly you would do this for 50 customers.  Needless to say the time taken to do it in a manual fashion is going to be big.

The time taken for the example application would be :
For 1 Customer = 1 min.
For 50 Customers = 50 mins.

Functional Automation Approach:

In the automated approach, you would automate the user interface (UI) for creating the data.  Thus you will effectively speed up the process of creating the required test data.  In our example, we would automate the web based UI using a Automation Tool such as QTP, RFT, Selenium, etc. and then data drive those tests to create the data that we require.

The time taken for the example application would be :
For 1 Customer = 10 seconds
For 50 Customers = 500 seconds = 8 mins.

Database Approach:

In all probabilities, you will have plenty of real-time customer information lying around in your production database.  So our job will be to query the right set of customers from the production database and load them into the test database.  Simple.  The data is ready to be used for testing.

Here in our example application, since its a pretty straightforward requirement, we would fetch the first 50 rows from the Customers table in Production and Insert those rows into the Customers table in Test Database.  The work flow will be as depicted below.

The time taken for the example application would be :
For 50 Customers = 60 seconds = 1 min (Just an example)

NOTE: The above example assumes that the back end is a Microsoft SQL Server database and hence the "SELECT TOP 50" query.

As you can see, the database approach is much faster than any of the other approaches.  The effort savings are enormous in a real time test data requirement as the data volumes are much higher. 

This methodology of creating test data directly from the Production data will form the corner stone and the building block of the concept called Test Data Management. Of course we are dealing with real time data and hence we need to secure the data before loading it into the Test Database, but we would deal all those topics in a separate post.

Hope the information was useful in giving a basic idea about Test Data creation.  I welcome your comments.  Cheers.

About the Author

Rajaraman Raghuraman has nearly 8 years of experience in the Information Technology industry focusing on Product Development, R&D, Test Data Management and Automation Testing.  He has architected a TDM product from scratch and currently leads the TDM Product Development team in Cognizant.  He is passionate about Agile Methodologies and is a huge fan of Agile Development and Agile Testing.  He blogs at Test Data Management Blog & Agile Blog.  Connect with him on Google+