Oracle partners to automate 11i testing

Oracle Corp. has teamed with Mercury Interactive Corp. to develop a test kit designed to ease enterprise migration to Oracle's 11i e-business suite, the companies announced Monday.

The new Test Starter Kit, which is based on Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Mercury's application performance management software, offers reusable test plans and scripts designed to help customers more quickly and easily upgrade to 11i by assessing application performance before rolling out to users.

Beginning with release 11.5.7 Rapid Install, Oracle will distribute the test kit to all e-business suite customers for free. Initially, the tests will focus on basic transactions, like generating a purchase order or entering an invoice; however, Oracle eventually will offer test scripts for broader business flows, said Alan Fletcher, vice president of operations for e-business suite development at Oracle, in Redwood Shores, Calif. For example, a customer could test a marketing application from lead generation through to a sale, he said.

"These are scripts that basically perform business transactions in our software," Fletcher said. "Traditionally you would do these tests manually. Obviously with manual testing you are relying on humans every time not making mistakes. It's very time consuming and very error prone."

The test kit is part of Oracle's ongoing initiative to boost quality assurance to eliminate some bugs and glitches associated with 11i, said Bill Swanton, an analyst with AMR Research Inc. in Boston.

"Oracle has obviously been hit very hard with this quality issue," Swanton said. "What they realized ... was the real testing wasn't just functional testing of individual modules. They had done some work in the field with creating a set of scenarios and scripts to pull a business process all the way through. They are doing the right stuff. It is a long road to haul to get them to a place where an SAP is, who has been investing in software quality for eight years."

Mercury also detailed a new Oracle 11i Upgrade Package to include performance testing, functional and regression testing and test management software, as well as Mercury's consulting services. Used in conjunction with the test kit, the package is designed to provide companies with reusable testing assets to save additional time on subsequent upgrades.

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