Improvements automate and leverage the cloud for application lifecycle testing.

Cloud computing in some ways eases the strain on organizations to create new applications — why develop when almost everything you need is in the cloud?

The thing is not everything is in the cloud, so app development continues — particularly mobile applications but also enabling on-premise apps to connect to cloud services.

So application lifecycle management (ALM) tools are as important as ever.

Hewlett-Packard Co. has released updated versions of several of its ALM tools to automate and leverage the cloud for application testing.

“With the acceleration of mobility as a key strategic initiative, and more customers  moving to Agile methodology to deliver faster, we’ve seen a struggle occur between trying to release (applications) faster and trying to maintaining and improving the overall quality,” explained Kelly Emo, director of product marketing for HP Software’s application development and management group.

The enhancements help dev and test teams achieve that balance by automating processes and accessing the power of the cloud for large scale testing.

The updates include

–new capabilities for the HP LoadRunner 12 and Performance Center 12 suites. Both are similar automated test and performance solutions, but LoadRunner is aimed at single project teams while PerformanceCenter is aimed at large teams.

Both can quickly set up a large scale tests using cloud services to see if an app can handle heavy global loads. The two suites allow testers to set up load generators in the cloud for performance test.

What was difficult, however, was configuring security and network and scheduling the generator, Emo said, which in some cases could take weeks.

What’s new is that provisioning process in LoadRunner 12 and Performance Center 12 has been automated down to minutes.

Also added is the ability to pull in production information from tools like Google Analytics, server log files from Microsoft IIS or Webtrends.

–for testing mobile apps HP [NYSE: HPC]  already offers the ability to buy services from its public cloud. But for those who want a managed device lab in-house it has created Mobile Cloud Express, a pre-configured server appliance with up to cradles for holding up to six mobile devices.

For security or regulatory reasons some organizations can’t do mobile testing in the cloud, Emo explained. The service keeps the operating systems on the devices up to date.

–for the actual mobile app testing HP already sells an automated suite called Unified Functional Testing for Mobile, which allows testers to write a script that can run across multiple devices.

For those who still want to test manually there’s a new application called Sprinter for Mobile, which is a set of tools that allow tests to be done and results captured through a cloud service or Mobile Cloud Express.

It can take a movie of the test, and on-screen information can be annotated.

The results can be bundled and uploaded into HP Quality Center or HP Application Lifecyle Management to be shared with developers.

Sprinter for Mobile is included with version 12 of QualityCenter and ALM. (Version 11 of those two suites has Sprinter for Web apps.)

–for organizations using Agile development and testing with continuous integration — usually making code changes overnight with an automated code building process — HP has integrated development and continuous integration tools in LoadRunner, Performance Centre and HP Unified Functional Test with well known dev tools like Jenkins so they can run a functional regression and load tests immediately.

“This is changing the model from where developers get all their work done and throw it over the wall for testing, which gets done in weeks. This gets it done continuously.”

–finally, HP is releasing ALM 12, the app full lifecycle management suite, which now includes a new Web interface to make it easier to create lists of software necessities.

In particular the Requirements tool, used by most business analysts, looks like Microsoft Word, so people can follow the status of work.

The underlying template ties to developer and test activities to track if requirements have been met.

Verson 21 of ALM, LoadRunner, Performance Center, Sprinter for Mobile and the Mobile Center Express are available now.

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