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Test Data Management – Solution by IBM infosphere Optim

December 11, 2017

Test Data Management

Test data management is the process of creating realistic test data for nonproductionpurposes such as development, testing, training or QA. A better test data management strategy not only ensures greater development and testing efficiencies, but helps organizations identify and correct defects early in the development process, when they are cheapest and easiest to fix

Typically, test data management involves two major activities: test data preparation and test data usage. Test data preparation involves manufacturing data by copying or sub setting data from production or by developing test data generation scripts and provisioning them for multiple testing environments. Referential integrity, data quality and data relationships must be retained during the preparation stage. The skills required to complete these tasks typically lie with DBAs, since they are the ones with knowledge of the underlying data model. Test data usage shifts focus to the tester or developer, who may not be database-savvy. This may create inefficiencies because the tester or developer absolutely requires proper test data and if this test data is not available, the tester must go back to a DBA for help. The tester understands “test conditions” and tries to map those to accurate, physically available data in the test environment. The tester’s mission is to ensure safe passage of the required tests, not to create high-quality, referentially intact test data.

When implementing a test data management approach, five best practices help  streamline test data preparation and usage:

    • Start by discovering and understanding test data
    • Subset production data from multiple data sources
    • Mask or de-identify sensitive test data
    • Refresh test data
    • Automate test data result comparisons


InfoSphere Optim Test Data Management

The IBM InfoSphere Optim Test Data Management solution offers comprehensive test data management capabilities for creating right sized, fictionalized test databases that accurately reflect end-to end business processes. InfoSphere Optim software scales to meet development and testing requirements across multiple applications, databases, operating systems and hardware platforms. It also helps facilitate modern software delivery models including agile development by making test data continuously accessible to testers and developers so they can quickly meet test requirements.

Organizations eliminate costly cloning processes and correct defects early in the development process. InfoSphere Optim scales to across applications, databases, operating systems and hardware platforms. Secure your test environments, improve quality, accelerate release cycles and reduce costs with InfoSphere Optim.

The InfoSphere Optim Test Data Management solutions can:

    • Create referentially intact, “right-sized” test databases
    • Automate test result comparisons to identify hidden errors
    • Easily refresh and maintain “production-like” test environments
    • Shorten iterative testing cycles and accelerate time to market
    • Mask data in test to ensure privacy


Typical Optim Test Data Management Process

Below diagram illustrates a typical Optim Test Data Management Process:

  • Subset of data is extracted from the production database
  • The Extract File can be converted to create a new masked Extract File. This file can then be distributed to testers to load into their own testing environments
  • An Optim Compare process is made between the original Extract File and the masked Extract File to verify that the data has been correctly de-identified
  • A subset of data can then be inserted or loaded into the test database in the test environment. If the data in the Extract File was not masked earlier, the data can be masked during this process as well
  • Optionally, further browse/edit can be made to the test database to target for specific test cases and error conditions in application testing
  • Before running application testing, it is recommended to create a “baseline” extract file using the test data in the test database. This “baseline” extract file can then be used in different stages of application testing. It can also be loaded to different non-production environments for multiple users to work with in parallel
  • Proceed with application testing
  • After running application testing against the test database, an Optim Compare process can be executed to compare the changes being made on the modified test database (“after image”) with the original set of test data (“baseline” extract file).  

The InfoSphere Optim Test Data Management solution helps improve application quality and delivery efficiency by:

  • Reducing costs by intelligently creating and sub setting realistic test data from complete business objects
  • Reducing risk by masking sensitive information
  • Speeding delivery of test data through refresh capabilities

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