Sunday, 27 November 2011

Mainframe Testing

Mainframe Testing is similar to client-server applications testing, but you have to know how to operate basic TSO and ISPF commands and menus, view mainframe files, look at and use SDSF or other output tool, log on CICS and transactions, use FTP or another transfer protocol, submit the batch job - it's for QA testing of mainframeapplications.
And plus, QA testing for another platform, like WEB and/or client-service, since the mainframe is usually back-end.
It can be learned pretty quickly, but it needs an access to mainframe.
There are various kind of tests : integration tests, performance tests, volume tests, regression tests, stress tests etc

You can test a all cluster of programs or a whole day or night of production. You need to know the expected results, discuss with business analysts, with system team, with Capacity team, ….
And you will have to know a lot of tools or technic : Strobe, File Aid, Ecomp, CA7, report Excel, Word, DB2, CICS, zOS, Sort, backup, recovery, etc.

As part of mainframe testing you could be testing a COBOL application on a DB2 database, or a Peoplesoft application using an Oracle database, or the application could be a CICS application using QA Hyperstation to automate the testing. The QA principles do not change, however the skillsets differ to some extent. You may be required to know JCL, ISPF and TSO and have a basic understanding of COBOL. You should know how to write SQL queries to test any databases. There may also be networking issues to consider when testing large system environments.
Mainframe applications run on the mainframe and clients access the mainframe through a terminal emulator. The terminal emulator is the only software that needs to sit on the client machine. Changes to the software (COBOL, JCL, etc) are made on the mainframe and as a mainframe tester you don't need to worry about migrating them to the client. If it works through one terminal emulator it should work on them all.
Client/Server Testing Vs Mainframe Testing
Client/server architecture allows some of the processing to be done by the client. However, since there is code to ship to the client, you have to worry about the code being installed properly, working on their OS, playing well with the other applications on the desktop, security, and performance. Inside a company, you probably know the number of users, types of environments (OS, RAM, connection speed), so it's not as extensive as web testing, but it has more variables than mainframe testing. Also, while usability should not be ignored on mainframe applications, it seems to be more of an issue with client/server applications since they also generally have GUIs.
Mainframe Test Tools
Some of the tools that are used for mainframe testing are as follows:
1. Test Director
2. QTP (Quick Test Professional)
3. Claim Repository
4. Foundation Testing Tool (FTT)
5. TN3270 Plus
6. Hiperstation
7. Load Runner

Skill set specific to mainframe testing
2. DB2
3. JCL
5. Assembler

Necessity of Mainframe Testing:

  • Mainframe applications, product suites and architectures are entirely different from the distributed environment. Moreover, these applications control critical business flows as well
  • With emerging business needs, mainframe applications are changing continuously, be it SOA, SOI, Cloud, etc.
  • Due to new technologies, the mainframe testing scope and scenarios became more complex and require more focused testing
  • Retiring mainframe workforce increases the risk of non-SMEs making changes to application. This may result in a large number of defects
  • The cost of quality and impact cost due to erroneous testing is very high when it comes to mainframe applications
  • The focused testing methodology for mainframe applications would yield high benefits.
  • Various “Legacy Scenarios” get tested
  • Since legacy is at the core of the business, impact on other interfacing applications can also be tested
  • End-to-end test coverage, spanning platforms
  • Reduced cost of quality
  • Automation in mainframe testing can help in reducing time-to-market for future projects
 Mainframe testing services like:
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Our customer gets the following benefits by using our mainframe testing service:


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