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Book Review: Testing Cloud Services: How To Test SaaS, PaaS & IaaS

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the read-all-about-it dept.

Books 45

benrothke writes "David Mitchell Smith wrote in the Gartner report Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing last year that while clearly maturing and beyond the peak of inflated expectations, cloud computing continues to be one of the most hyped subjects in IT. The report is far from perfect, but it is accurate in the sense that while cloud computing is indeed ready for prime time, the hype with it ensures that too many firms will be using it with too much hype, and not enough reality and detailed requirements. While there have been many books written about the various aspects of cloud computing, Testing Cloud Services: How to Test SaaS, PaaS & IaaS is the first that enables the reader to successfully make the transition from hype to actuality from a testing and scalability perspective." Read on for the rest of Ben's review.The book is an incredibly effective and valuable guide that details the risks that arise when deploying cloud solutions. More importantly, it provides details on how to test cloud services, to ensure that the proposed cloud service will work as described.

It is a great start to the topic. The 6 chapters detail a paradigm that cloud architects, managers and designers can use to ensure the success of their proposed cloud deployments.

The first two chapters are a very brief introduction to cloud computing. In chapter 3, the authors detail the role of the test manager. They write that the book is meant to give substance to the broadening role of the test manager within cloud computing. They encourage firms to make sure the test manager is involved in all stages of cloud computing; from selection to implementation. In fact, they write that it is only a matter of time until this service will be available in the cloud, in the form of TaaS – Testing as a Service.

Besides the great content, the book is valuable since it has many checklists and questions to ask. One of the reasons cloud hype is so overly pervasive, is that the customers believe what the marketing people say, without asking enough questions. It would have been an added benefit if these questions and checklists would be made available in softcopy to the reader.

In chapter 4, the book details performance risks. As to performance, an important aspect of selecting the correct cloud provider is scalability of the service. This then requires a cloud specific test to determine if the scaling capacity (also known as elasticity) of the provider will work efficiently and effectively in practice.

An extremely important point the authors make is that when choosing a cloud service, many firms don't immediately think of having a test environment, because the supplier will themselves test the service. The absence of a test environment is a serious risk.

About 2/3 of the book is in chapter 5 – Test Measures. The chapter mostly details the test measures for SaaS, but also does address IaaS and PaaS testing. The chapter spends a lot of time on the importance of performance testing.

An important point detailed in the chapter is that of testing elasticity and manual scalability. This is an important topic since testing elasticity is a new aspect of performances testing. The objectives of elasticity tests are to determine if the performance of the service meets the requirements across the load spectrum and if the capacity is able to effective scale. The chapter details various load tests to perform.

In the section on guarantees and SLAs, the authors make numerous excellent points, especially in reference to cloud providers that may guarantee very high availabilities, but often hide behind contract language. They provide a number of good points to consider in regards to continuity guarantees, including determining what is meant exactly by up- and down-time; for example, is regular maintenance considered downtime or not.

Another key topic detailed is testing migration. The authors write that when an organization is going to use a service for an existing business process, a migration process is necessary. This includes the processes of going into the cloud, and backing the service out of the cloud.

With all of the good aspects to this book, a significant deficiency in it is that it lacks any mention of specific software testing tools to use. Many times the authors write that "there are many tools, both open source and commercial, that can" but fail to name a single tool. The reader is left gasping at a straw knowing of the need to perform tests, but clueless as to what the best tools to use are. Given the authors expertise in the topic, that lacking is significant.

The only other lacking in the book is in section 5.3 on testing security, the authors fail to mention any of the valuable resources on the topic from the Cloud Security Alliance. Specifically the Cloud Controls Matrix (CCM) and Consensus Assessments Initiative (CAI) questionnaire.

With that, Testing Cloud Services: How to Test SaaS, PaaS & IaaS should be on the required reading list of everyone tasked with cloud computing. This is the first book to deal with the critical aspect of testing as it related to cloud computing. The ease of moving to the cloud obscures the hard reality of making a cloud solution work. This book details the hard, cold realities of turning the potential of cloud computing, in the reality of a working solution.

Had the designers of the Obamacare website taken into consideration the key elements of this book, it is certain that the debacle that ensued would have been minimize and the administration would not have had to send out a cry for help. The Obamacare website will turn into the poster child of how to not to create a cloud solution. Had they read Testing Cloud Services: How to Test SaaS, PaaS & IaaS, things would have been vastly different.

Reviewed by Ben Rothke.

You can purchase Testing Cloud Services: How to Test SaaS, PaaS & IaaS from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews (sci-fi included) -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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"gasping at a straw" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45272187)

Grasping at straws?

Also the Obamacare reference. What is it with book reviews on this site?

Captcha: flagrant

Re:"gasping at a straw" (1)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about a year ago | (#45272485)

1 spelling error in a 1,000+ word review is no sooo bad. As to Obama Care reference...heck...it's timely!

Re:"gasping at a straw" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45272687)

There's a lot more bad english in there than just that, though. The whole thing reads like a high school book review.

SaaS, PaaS or IaaS (3, Funny)

Java Pimp (98454) | about a year ago | (#45272269)

Nobody rides for free!

Re:SaaS, PaaS or IaaS (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#45272445)

Nobody rides for free!

Apparently the editors are working for free too now. I mean, how else can you explain "How to Test SaaS, PaaS & IaaS"

amp; amp; baby.

Re:SaaS, PaaS or IaaS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45272489)

That made me laugh so hard that peas shot out of my ears! *PEAS*, I tell you!

Re:SaaS, PaaS or IaaS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45273183)

Well that proves me wrong. I thought you had shit for brains!

Effective to the extreme (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45272287)

On reading diagonally: Effective, extremely, important and as a bonus a tangent to Obama. Slashdot could not get any better.
Where can I buy advertising on slashdot? Is there a buy now button somewhere?

Re:Effective to the extreme (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45272337)

I somehow missed that this site does book reviews now.

Re:Effective to the extreme (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45272367)

Does it!?

Re:Effective to the extreme (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45272651)

It really does:). Partnering up with Amazon would be the next great move.
And a celebrity gossip section would be nice.

AaaS (2, Informative)

sexconker (1179573) | about a year ago | (#45272477)

Slashdot continues to peddle their Advertisement as a Service platform in the form of book reviews about things actual nerds universally hate making it to the front page.

Remember kids *aaS stands for "* and a Surcharge".

Re:AaaS (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a year ago | (#45272625)

ASSSSSSSSS! [youtube.com]

Re:AaaS (1)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about a year ago | (#45272733)

How do you see this as an advertisement?

Re:AaaS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45273541)

He has a brain?

Re:AaaS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45273989)

Awwww the poor nerd getting left behind because he refuses to accept that the computing landscape has changed thinks he has the majority view? That's ADORABLE

*aaS is not the Obamacare problem (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year ago | (#45272563)

The code is bad, from all accounts. Making it cloudy or servicey doesn't really help, except to throw hardware at it - and there may be issues which hardware cannot help.

Re:*aaS is not the Obamacare problem (1)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about a year ago | (#45272699)

The reports seems to say that it is bad code, combined with an infrastructure that just won’t scale, wasn’t designed properly..

Re:*aaS is not the Obamacare problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45274081)

Still, the solution to scalability is likely not cloud. For $400m, they can easily afford all the hosting they need to scale. On the other hand, blithely dumping millions of health records into the cloud is probably something to be avoided, especially when those building the site seem as clueless as the ones that developed healthcare.gov.

If you really wanted to scale on the cheap, they could always have approached the NSA about hosting facilities. The NSA has plenty of computing resources and running the full site on their infrastructure would have streamlined the process of snooping on all that data. Instead of the existing data integration (you know there is one), they could have just done raw database queries to pull whatever information they needed.

Wow! (3, Funny)

gdek (202709) | about a year ago | (#45272657)

Seems like someone is totally &ed about this book!

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45272991)

That is one of my favorite errors because it shows the system underlying it. There was an original ampersand that was replaced with its entity name but that contains and ampersand which was replaced in the same way. When we had our website pen tested, using the reserved characters and entities along with their names and what the result it spits out on the other side revealed an astonishing amount of information about our backend.

Re:Wow! (1)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about a year ago | (#45273249)

::That is one of my favorite errors As for me, I have no favourite errors. Should I? :)

Re:Wow! (1)

BluBrick (1924) | about a year ago | (#45273201)

Seems like someone is totally &ed about this book!

Max? As I live and breathe, it's Max Headroom!

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45273921)

Maybe there could be a book that would talk about how to test web services to prevent & protect us from these problems.

Prime Time (1)

rossdee (243626) | about a year ago | (#45272767)

"cloud computing is indeed ready for prime time,"

Prime time is what - 8pm to 11pm Eastern Time?

I'm asleep during that time

I work night shift you insensitive clods !

So you can stick it up your aas

Re:Prime Time (1)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about a year ago | (#45272917)

and your point is???

FUCKaaS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45272973)

News for PHBs, stuff that makes nerds cringe.

Missing one, Foaas (1)

fatphil (181876) | about a year ago | (#45273003)

Example here: http://foaas.com/this/slashdot%20readership

Re:Missing one, Foaas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45273363)

What are you so angry about?

I don't get it?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45273065)

I have a web server on physical hardware and want to test it.... I use (usually customized, if not custom) web apps to test it. For simple static and generated content based on clicks, not user input) this is really easy.

If I want to test my web server on virtual hardware.... I open the GD console (eucalyptus, AWS, etc) and watch my instances scale as intended... I use the GD matrixes provided (system load, etc) and I use the same damned software to test it as I used on physical hardware.

In fact, if I've configured things correctly I might not even need to use the console because if i am moving from physical hardware, I already know the load levels I have now, and where I want to be. Scaling is easy once the instances are configured. Why the hell do they need a book for this bullshit?

These acronyms can... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45273275)

... kiss my *aaS

What about DaaS? (1)

kcbnac (854015) | about a year ago | (#45273815)

http://devnull-as-a-service.com/ [devnull-as-a-service.com] - as long as we're outsou^h^h^h^h^h^hmoving everything to a managed service, why not /dev/null too?

The coming revolution (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#45274297)

This year had been a lot of noise regarding linux containers, and this book seem be not aware of them or how they could change the landscape. Docker [docker.io] gained a lot of steam, and a lot of cloud service providers are adopting it (part of the magic is not just being based on LXC containers, but also combining it with aufs to make some sort of inheritance between containers). Also there are some newcomers like lmctfy [github.com] , the recently released open source version of the google containers technology, or warden [github.com] from cloudfoundry that could be another approach

Slashdot sponsored stories? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45274373)

This walled marketing hype should stay out of Slashdot!

Re:Slashdot sponsored stories? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45274625)

Why not write a review...u could get $$$$$? Ha!

The book is no good (1)

CBravo (35450) | about a year ago | (#45274503)

There does not seem to be a comprehensive list of possible services a *aaS system may fulfill and risks that its service may be interrupted. To just mention the performance and testplatform risk does not really cut it.

Re:The book is no good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45274651)

did u read the book?

Of course not!!!

Slasher!

Re:The book is no good (1)

CBravo (35450) | about a year ago | (#45277341)

There are other means of learning than by trial-and-error.

Book Beijing (1)

beijingtravelagency (2877729) | about a year ago | (#45276163)

we will take you to the Olympic Stadium [slashdot.org] , you have 45 minutes to take pictures at the Bird's Nest and Water Cube. If you are interested in the inner structure of the stadiums, the tour guide will assist you in buying the tickets, and you could enter in the stadiums for a visit yourself. And then our guide will escort you back to your hotel.

Re:Book Beijing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45279007)

Where do I send you my $$$$ via Western Union????

I want to send you my money!!!!!

I know you are legit...I can tell!!!

Re:Book Beijing (1)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about 10 months ago | (#45284385)

Is there a point to this?

Rating (1)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | about a year ago | (#45277961)

Rating : 9/10
What a surprise!

Re:Rating (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45279049)

What's the surprise?

Re:Rating (1)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | about 10 months ago | (#45284273)

Slashdot book ratings are (almost) always 9/10

Re:Rating (1)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about 10 months ago | (#45284299)

So encourage them to review bad books... Or is that counter productive?
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