Test Data management: An Overview

As the number of software applications are increasing day by day, testers are experiencing huge consumption of test data in the software testing life cycle. Apart from collecting data from the existing sources, most of the testers generate too much of test data to ensure the quality and perfection of the testing. Hence there should be a more efficient approaches for data collection, generation, maintenance, automation and test data management for all types of testings.

What is Test data? What is the importance of Test Data?

At the time of testing, when the test cases are written to validate and verify the given features and the development scenarios of the application under test, a lot of information is required to be used as inputs to execute tests for identifying faults and bugs. This information is known as test data. Test data can be in different forms and some of them are as follows.

  • System test data
  • SQL test data
  • Performance test data
  • XML test data

Test data is needed for any type of testing and the tester may provide the data at the time of execution. In some cases, the application will pick up data from the predefined data locations. A test data can be any kind of input to the application and can be any type of files loaded by application or entries read from database tables.

Common challenges of Test Data Sourcing

Testers are facing many challenges in test data sourcing and some of them are as follows

  • Lack of adequate test data generator tools, knowledge and skills.
  • Incomplete coverage of test data
  • Lesser clarity of test data requirements related to volume specifications at the time of gathering data.
  • Denying access to the data sources to the testing team.
  • Delay in providing production data access to the testers by the developers.
  • Production data may not be usable for testing based developed business requirements.
  • Requirement of large volume of data in a short span of time.
  • Need of dependencies or combinations of data to test
  • Testers spending more time with architects, developers and database administrators for collecting data.
  • Multiple applications and versions
  • Legislation to take care of personal identification Information (PII)

Strategies for Handling the Process of Test Data Management

  • Collection of data from the production environment
  • Retrieving SQL queries which are extracting data from the client’s existing database
  • Using automated data generating tools

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