Recovery Testing in Software Testing

A software program that exhibits robustness and resilience in the face of challenges is one that stands out among the rest in the field of software development. Such a programme excels at quickly bouncing back from numerous failures, be they hardware problems, network outages, software bugs, or any other unforeseen difficulties. Recovery testing, a sort of non-functional testing that includes this crucial component of an application's performance, is included in this category.Recovery testing, an essential stage of software testing, measures how well an application recovers from unexpected crashes or hardware failures. It is evidence of the application's capacity to keep up stability and availability even in challenging circumstances, guaranteeing a flawless user experience.It is the goal of developers and testers to create solid strategies while creating software applications.

What is Recovery Testing?

Recovery testing is a crucial aspect of software testing that assesses an application's ability to bounce back swiftly and effectively from various failures, such as crashes or hardware malfunctions. By subjecting the application to intentional failures, recovery testing evaluates how well it can recover and resume normal operations, safeguarding user data and maintaining a seamless user experience.

Imagine using a video player application on your laptop. Suddenly, your laptop unexpectedly shuts down while you were playing a video. Upon reopening the laptop and relaunching the video player, you expect it to resume playback from the exact point where the laptop shut down. If the video starts playing from the beginning, it indicates a deficiency in the application's recovery capability. A reliable video player would remember the playback progress and ensure a smooth continuation, demonstrating its proficiency in recovery testing.

Similarly, let's consider a mobile application designed for video downloads over a data network. Suppose you initiate the download of a large video file but encounter a location where there is no data network available. A well-designed application would pause the download process at that point. Once you return to an area with network coverage, the download should resume from where it left off. If the download starts anew each time network connectivity is restored, it would not only waste data but also lead to frustration for users. An effective recovery mechanism, on the other hand, would preserve the download progress, enhancing the application's user-friendliness and cost-effectiveness.

The output of recovery testing directly impacts the quality and reliability of the application. Applications that excel in recovery testing inspire confidence in users by assuring them that their data and work are secure, and that the application can swiftly recover from any disruptions. Such reliability fosters positive user experiences, loyalty, and positive reviews.

The importance of recovery testing extends beyond customer satisfaction. By identifying and addressing potential failure points during the testing phase, developers can strengthen the application's architecture and increase its resilience to adverse scenarios. This not only enhances the user experience but also reduces the risk of costly downtimes or data loss for businesses.

In conclusion, recovery testing is a fundamental element of software development that ensures an application's ability to recover gracefully from failures. Through simulated failure scenarios, recovery testing unveils the application's recovery capabilities and helps define its quality and user-friendliness. By prioritizing recovery testing and refining recovery mechanisms, software developers can deliver applications that not only meet but exceed user expectations, ultimately leading to successful and well-regarded software products in the market.


Recovery Testing in Software Testing

Why is recovery testing important?

If you’re building a software product for your customer who will be the difference between success and failure for you/your organisation, you need to build an application that will have enough reliability and recoverability so it can withstand any software or hardware failure. 
How many times have you read about Youtube or Whatsapp being down? Not frequently, I agree.

The fact that youtube and whatsapp don’t experience frequent failure because of the reliability built into their systems. And when they do experience any failure, they’re usually back up in few minutes, or worse, hours. That points to recoverability. Still, such an outage can cause irreparable damage that lasts long.

When your product is more important than youtube and whatsapp, say like a bank’s internet banking service on a long holiday weekend, or a mobile network service, the importance of recovery testing multiplies in significance.

When do you need recovery testing?

You need to review your system-specific recovery every time you have a release or upgrade. And your organisation should conduct Business Planning at least twice a year, including recovery testing, to make sure everyone involved understands each other’s roles and responsibilities, and critical business functions are able to run normally when there is a failure or crash.

There can be exceptions if your product is still in beta version. The idea of beta version releases is to allow customers access your software to improve your software's usability with direct feedback, while simultaneously eliminating previously unfound defects. 


What are the parameters tested by recovery testing?

It depends on the system being tested.
Recovery testing should check that when a failure or crash occurs, the system should be up and running in the shortest possible time. For example, take the case of an operating system upgrade Windows 8 to 10. What would happen if I reboot my pc midway through installation? Recovery Testing tests such scenarios to assess how quickly the PC can resume the upgrade, and how to keep data and time loss minimal.

Another example could be to overload an online shopping site with traffic so it crashes, and check how much time it takes for the servers to recover to normal operations.

The idea is to measure the time it takes for the system to resume normal operations, and the percentage of disruptive scenarios that it can recover from. The key points you look for are: whether the system can recover all lost data, can the system come back online quickly enough, and can users reconnect successfully.

Who performs Recovery testing?

1. IT operations teams who manage servers and other hardware infrastructure.
2. Technical person who understand the core systems supported by the hardware.
3. Production and Service Management teams that are skilled and experienced in managing such disasters.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Recovery Testing

Advantages:

1. Reduce risks. Recovery testing is performed by trained test engineers or testing team so outputs are accurate to a great extent. It reduces risk of failure of the software in market.
2. Improves software quality when defects are found and fixed, it boosts the quality of the software.
3. Performances related issues are found and fixed before the software goes live in the market.


Disadvantages:

1. Issues are sometimes unpredictable. In recovery testing, sometimes test engineer has obvious scenarios to test and most of them are there in requirements. But sometimes unpredictable issues come into picture which wasn’t included in requirements and it is important for the tester to assure the quality of the software. These are some random test cases which need to be executed. 

2. Testing is time-consuming since test cases are random and testing related to a recovery and data takes a lot of time, recovery testing is a time-consuming process. 

3. It requires and experienced tester to perform recovery testing in a proper way. The test engineer needs lots of back up files and data in order to perform recovery testing. He needs to have some experience so that recovery testing can be done in a standard way.

Since the performance of a software is the main factor to success in the market, Recovery Testing plays a very important role to ensure the software quality.

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