HP-ALM is one of the tools which is being used by large companies to maintain their testing life cycle. I consider it as a reliable tool and it helps in managing testing well, however recently i have had a bad experience with ALM and one of my team lost almost 200 person days productivity.
One of my team was using HP-ALM 11.5 for BPT approach to automate tests for a leading US based telecom company. We were using HP-ALM for managing our test cases, test data, components, flows, scripts, automated test cases etc. Initially it went well when team was busy in creating reusable components and pulling them into test cases. When my engineers started executing tests from test lab, we were troubled by many issues.
-UFT is not getting launched from ALM;
-Components get crashed when trying to run test cases;
-Components and data sheets get vanished from ALM without leaving a trace
-Test set were executed half and then UFT getting crashed
-Components used to get locked due to crashes
We had to re-develop/write the components, after every crash when we could not find way to find them back. Data sheets have to be reloaded and then again the mapping tasks have to be done. Team gradually getting frustrated with the rework and despite our efforts, we were not able to deliver what we committed. We lost a three week sprint with no delivery.
While team was struggling with ALM, our ALM Admin was looking into these issues with HP team trying to find the root cause. They run few utilities, but we did not get any respite.
However in mean time we also explored our infrastructure. We realized that ALM server is holding 7 big projects under one ALM project with more than 52GB of data. You could imagine the size that there were 0.14 million test cases which got executed and produced 0.30 million test runs.
To address these issues, we are now proceeding for below activities:
- Clean up to remove unwanted records (test data, test cases, runs, user details etc). To improve the performance by reducing the load on server
- Segregating existing projects to have one ALM project for each development project
In case you are also facing such issue, you may like to know how currently we are dealing with it:
- We take backup every day in the morning, which helps in recovering components and datasheets in event of loss.
- Team is working in two shifts to put load as low as possible
- Avoid working on same components concurrently
- Reducing frequent checkin/out
HP ALM is a good tool for automation testers as it saves time to develop and maintain the frameworks as well as provide management, reports to measure the quality of product being built. If you have gone through the similar experience with ALM and able to resolve, please do write, it will be a great help. I will update this blog once our cleaning activity is complete or if we find some solution.