Test data management is about planning, storing, and using test data effectively. Let’s suppose your company develops an app and it becomes a huge hit. The app has millions of users, and the demand for more features is increasing day by day. With new features in the development stage comes the need for new test cases. And new test cases demand more and more test data. Did you ever wonder how to manage such a huge load of test data? Manually managing it is next to impossible. So what are test data management tools?
In this post, we’ll discuss what a test data management tool is and why you need such a tool. After that, we’ll take a look at the features offered by six popular test data management tools. So, let’s get started.
What Are Test Data Management Tools?
Before talking about test data management, let’s discuss what test data is. Test data is a type of data that the tester can use. The tester can apply the data to examine an app or any of its features. For instance, suppose you’re testing the log-in feature of an app. For that, you must have some dummy usernames and passwords, right? You can consider these dummy usernames and passwords as test data. But what is test data management?
Test data management, or TDM, is a process that involves the planning, storage, and management of different types of test data. The testing team takes care of the data, files, rules, and policies during the testing phase. TDM’s job is to handle both the test data and the production data separately. Other than that, tracking errors and maintaining test versions are the added features of TDM. We’ll discuss those in the next section.
Why Do We Need to Use TDM Tools?
In most cases, everything works well during staging and testing of data. But errors occur when you’re about to deploy the code to production. This happens when you don’t have a sound Test Data Management strategy. So, the test data cycle doesn’t work up to the expectation.
No matter how skilled a tester is, good data makes a task better. A defective TDM strategy is enough to take down your project. Managing test data requires lots of effort and may take a long time. It doesn’t stop the IT firms from owning TDM for quality data testing. This is where the need for effective TDM comes in. Let’s look at some factors where TDM plays an important role in IT firms.
Avoiding Dismissal of Test Data
Developers create multiple copies of code to develop and test an app. The file size of those copies is similar to the original code. As a result, the number of production copies increases. The product owner, on the other hand, doesn’t know which copy is useful and which is not.
You can manage these problems with a sound TDM strategy. There are two such issues you can resolve with it:
- First of all, the storage cost will be lower if there’s no redundant data.
- Second, creating multiple code copies and managing them could be harder—but with TDM, you won’t have to think about it.
A top TDM suite has an algorithm to sort and bring out extra test data. After the data sorting, the tester can remove or delete the same.
Avoiding Data Bloating
The growth of data in a company increases its storage cost and maintenance. Such a scenario calls for a healthy data management system. You are prudent to keep all your important data. But, as a project grows, it’s good to generate data for every test case. Having static test data is another great, cost-effective way to avoid data bloating. Once you finish using the static data, you can archive it.
Years of stored data occupy a lot of space and affect performance. So, make sure to optimize that test data by managing it effectively. Use a TDM tool that provides regular data cleanup. This can help you sort and remove archived test data that you don’t need anymore.
Data Security and Compliance Laws
Nowadays, a lot of data compliance and security laws are in place. Suppose your company stores and uses a customer’s data. In that case, you’re responsible for keeping the data secure and maintaining the customer’s privacy. As per GDPR, you must not use any real user data for testing. A test data management tool ensures that your test data complies with all data compliance laws. The tool also makes sure that the test data is safe from breaches.
These are just a few factors contributing to the necessity of using TDM tools. In the next section, we’ll discuss five test data management tools used by companies worldwide.
6 Best TDM Tools
Here are some of the top test data management tools that offer high functionality and technology to meet developers’ demand:
Enov8: Data Compliance Suite (DCS)
One of the newer “kids on the blocks”, Enov8 DCS employs “AI” to help you rapidly understand (profile) your data, identify security risk, automatically remediate these risks (via masking or encryption) and then validate that you are now fully compliant.
DCS also offers extended features to orchestrate / automate your environment operations with a DataOps library (for example scripts to backup, restore, subset, fabricate etc), an open API for CICD, a clever Data View capability so the developers & test teams can quickly find the data the need and last but not least “enterprise intelligence” dashboards so key stakeholders like Auditors & Security teams can see the state of play.
DATPROF: Test Data Simplified
With DATPROF, you can manage test data without requiring any complex process. We all look for the easy way when it’s about using a software tool, right? That’s where DATPROF stands out to be a simple and amazing tool to resolve test data problems.
DATPROF is one of the best TDM tools to manage test data. This tool offers data masking and synthetic generation of test data. Apart from that, this tool also provides test data provisioning and sub-setting technology.
Other benefits of DATPROF include self-service portals. This helps the test teams to refresh their own test environments.
Informatica Test Data Management
Informatica TDM is another useful tool. Just like DATPROF & DCS, this tool also enables data sub-setting, masking, and generation of test data. This tool finds all sensitive data locations on its own. It satisfies the increasing demand for test data.
This tool completes all requirements of the app owner, developers, and testers. It offers a nonproduction data set to fulfill the needs of the development team. In addition, the tool has a feature for discovering sensitive data. You can implement proper security measures on that data to keep it secure.
Test Data Manager (Datamaker)
Developed by CA Technologies, this is another test data management tool. Want to know the reason this tool is popular? It identifies data and checks whether the data complies with GDPR and other compliance laws.
The tool can also generate synthetic data and create as small a data set as possible, thus helping in comprehensive testing.
Not only that, suppose there are multiple testers in your team. Each of them needs the same test data. The tool can create virtual test data copies, enabling testers to execute test cases quickly.
IBM InfoSphere Optim
Developed by IBM, InfoSphere Optim offers real-time data for testing. Suppose you have an app that’s going to become obsolete. Before decommissioning the app, you can use this tool to extract data and archive it. You can later use that data for creating synthetic data or reusable test data.
Your application’s performance can be impacted by a lack of data archives. Once your app’s data increases, you can use this tool to sort and identify redundant or old test data—thereby archiving the data you don’t need presently.
With these features, developers and testers can have test data whenever they need it. Thus, with a comprehensive testing solution, the development process speeds up.
Compuware is another popular test data management solution. With this tool, you can create dummy test data with great ease. In addition, it includes data masking, translation, generation, analysis of test data, and so on. The tool supports all types of files.
But that’s not all. The newest feature of this tool is that it supports all the requirements that a tester needs to manage test data for mainframe testing.
Just like the previous tool, Compuware also checks if your test data complies with data security and privacy laws. The tool can also integrate with your DevOps toolchain and continuously improve the CI/CD process.
Manage Your Test Data Easily With TDM Tools
Many testers are unaware of a genuine test data management strategy. As a result, they think that their codes are fit to reach the production stage. But sometimes, they end up getting unstable errors in production. The problems can be small or big, depending on the changes made in the code. In either case, all you need is a perfect TDM tool to avoid last-minute errors.
I hope that this article has been helpful in teaching the concept of TDM and the features of top TDM tools. Also, after checking all these tools, you can see that each tool has its own unique features, although they share the same concept of TDM. Thus, for smoother app development and faster delivery, you can choose the tool that meets your needs.
This post was written by Arnab Roy Chowdhury. Arnab is a UI developer by profession and a blogging enthusiast. He has strong expertise in the latest UI/UX trends, project methodologies, testing, and scripting.