Social Blog Device Farm vs DIY vs Testing Solution
July 22, 2020

Device Farm vs. DIY vs. Testing Platform

Automation
Continuous Testing

When it comes to testing your apps, there are many ways to go about it. You could use a device farm. You could try to put together your own DIY solution inhouse. Or, you could partner with a testing platform.

All three options have their benefits to consider. Keep reading to learn more about each of these options. And see which one would work best for you.

What Is a Device Farm?

A device farm is a cloud environment that houses mobile devices and browser VMs that teams can test on remotely. Device farms typically have both modern devices and older versions.

Device farms may have real mobile devices and browsers to test on. They could have virtual devices, including simulators and emulators and browser VMs. Or they could have both. The mobile devices in the device farm are pre-set with OS and other specifications.

Related Reading: Mobile App Testing Strategy Combining Virtual and Real Devices

Benefits of Using a Device Farm

There are several advantages to using a device farm as opposed to a DIY solution.

  • The breadth of devices can help you increase platform coverage.
  • No need to manage devices — device farms take care of that.
  • It’s less expensive than trying to do it yourself with no overhead.
  • Scaling your tests is easier in the cloud as opposed to on-prem options.
  • It can be accessed from anywhere, which is necessary for global teams.

Drawbacks of Using a Device Farm

Device farms may have some advantages over DIY solutions. However, there are several key components that device farms lack. Because it’s all about the devices/browsers you access in the cloud, they don’t have other features that you’d find in a testing solution. These include:

  • Test authoring options, such as BDD or codeless, which allow more of your team to participate in test creation.
  • Advanced automation testing capabilities, which allow you to achieve higher levels of successful test automation.
  • Built-in test reporting, which helps you move faster as you scale your testing.

DIY

You can also try to piece together an inhouse testing solution. If you want to create your own DIY device lab for testing, it’s possible — but it’s difficult. At a minimum, a digital lab requires seven components.

  • Devices — Devices covering user’s hardware, OS, and OS version.
  • Computers — A mix of PC and Mac hardware.
  • Networks — Access to Wi-Fi, wired Ethernet, and cellular.
  • Automation — Servers and software to coordinate and execute tests.
  • SAN — Storage area network to save test logs, reports, videos, and screen captures.
  • People — Maintain and monitor operation of the lab to desired level of availability.

Expenses of a DIY Solution

It can be very expensive to maintain your own DIY solution. First, there’s the upfront cost of devices and their monthly carrier plans. Devices have a lifespan of 9 months in testing, so they’ll need to be frequently replaced. You also need to consider the hardware costs — hardware to access and control devices.

Then there’s the infrastructure, which includes Wi-Fi access points, cellular repeaters, and racks for the devices and

Then there’s the infrastructure, which includes Wi-Fi access points, cellular repeaters, and racks for the devices and servers. Additionally, data security is often compromised on the devices in DIY solutions and it poses a huge risk to the business (devices getting lost, devices left on testers’ desks unattended, devices used for personal purposes by testers). Finally, there’s also maintenance costs — diagnosing and fixing unresponsive devices, configuration issues, and more.

With DIY solutions, keep in mind...
●    The overhead of infrastructure and managing the devices adds up quickly.
●    An on-prem solution won’t be accessible to dispersed teams.
●    It’s harder to scale testing.
●    Security is at risk.
●    You risk releasing with escaped defects due to the slow time to support new platforms.

Related Reading: Why Every Company Needs a Digital Lab

Testing Platform

A full-blown testing solution is your other option. End-to-end testing platforms, like Perfecto, are similar to device farms in that they also house devices in a cloud. But they go beyond being just a farm or lab for devices.

These platforms also offer other features in the creation, execution, and analysis phases of the testing process, which can help you speed up testing time and release better apps.

A testing platform like Perfecto...

  • Boosts platform and test scenario coverage.
  • Takes care of device management and maintenance.
  • Can apply real user conditions to tests.
  • Enables cross-team collaboration from anywhere in the world.
  • Is built to handle large-scale testing for enterprises.
  • Provides built-in test reporting and analytics.
  • Can test across platforms — both mobile and web.
  • Enterprise-grade security, network configuration, and data retention

There are many solutions available for end-to-end app testing. You have to find the fit that’s right for your team. The Forrester Wave™ recently analyzed the market to find the top solutions in their 2020 report, which recognized Perfecto as a strong performer: Top 15 Test Automation Solutions, As Ranked By Forrester.

Try Testing With Perfecto

If you’re looking for a testing solution, add Perfecto to your list to try. No one knows app testing like Perfecto. One unified platform is all you need to test your web and mobile apps at scale.

In the Perfecto testing cloud, you’ll also have access to:

  • Mobile devices and browsers for testing.
  • Unshakeable enterprise-grade security.
  • Extended test coverage.
  • Elastic scaling of your tests.
  • 24/7 access to the cloud.
  • Robust test analytics.

Start your free trial today.

Try Perfecto

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