Test Data Management (TDM) Best Practices

The State of TDM & Application Development Processes

Speed is the watchword for software testing in today's application-driven economy. And with businesses racing to deliver new applications faster than ever before, teams need to efficiently mobilize the test data that fuels QA and application development. But too often, slow processes and inflexible tools mean that QA teams and developers spend more time waiting for test data than actually working.

The 2016 State of Test Data Management report from Delphix, a first of its kind study including survey results from over 230 IT professionals, reveals just how how impactful this dynamic can be. According to the survey, testers may be ill-equipped to do their jobs–they're often forced to work with low-quality datasets within a limited number test environments that take days or weeks to provision. The consequences of poor test data management can be devastating: survey results point to these conditions not only lowering release speed, but also increasing data-related software defects.

Test Data Management Diagram

Test Data Management Challenges

In fact, testers face key challenges across a number of different fronts, including test data delivery speed, test data quality, and test data security. The 2016 State of Test Data Management report underscores widespread shortcomings across all of these areas.

  • Challenge #1: One out of five respondents indicates that it takes their organization over a week to provision or refresh a test environment.

  • Challenge #2: Testers often work with stale datasets--6% say test environments are never refreshed, 10% say refreshes occur annually, and over 20% say data is only refreshed on a quarterly basis.

  • Challenge #3: Only one in four respondents believes that their organization has a masking solution to secure sensitive test data.

Software Testing Flow Chart
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Test Data Management Best Practices & Techniques

Test Data Management System Chart

To overcome these test data management challenges, a growing number of organizations are looking to implement a toolset for delivering and securing test data, alongside industry best practices for test data management. While a small number of organizations currently have a centralized, dedicated team responsible for test data management--about 6% based on survey results--over 45% of organizations are piloting dedicated test data management tools or are developing an enterprise-wide test data management strategy. The objective of many of these businesses is to put the following test data management best practices in place:

  • Best Practice #1: Streamlining the delivery of test data through automation frameworks and self service processes

  • Best Practice #2: Introducing end-to-end repeatability for securing sensitive information through data masking

  • Best Practice #3: Ensuring that the right type of test data (masked production data, subsets, synthetic data) is matched to the right use/test case

Based on the 2016 State of Test Data Management report, advanced test data management teams that successfully achieve these objectives can realize significant benefits in the speed, security, and quality of their application development and testing operations.

The Delphix Test Data Management Solution

Technologies in the emerging category of data virtualization promise to deliver against many of the key requirements for test data management. Delphix, the market leader in this space, offers a test data management solution that virtualizes data in databases, file systems, and applications and delivers up-to-date virtual copies for testing on demand. Delphix also automatically integrates masking to protect sensitive information in test data.

By bringing the benefits of virtualization to application data, businesses using Delphix can deliver secure copies of test datasets in minutes. This enables IT teams to test earlier and more often - so they can release higher quality applications faster.