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Cognos TM1 Off-Site Testing Recommendations

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General Coordination

From a general testing perspective, consider the following:

  • Identify and visit the test site before the planned testing days
  • Establish an “onsite” coordinator – usually someone associated with the facility (hotel or facilities manager, perhaps) who will be responsible for any facility provided accommodations
  • Inspect and Validate any and all facility provided accommodations – from internet access to desks and chairs, connection cables, on-site technical support, etc.
  • Establish a back-up plan in the event that any facility provided accommodations are not available or not functioning on the day of the testing
  • Identify emergency plans (fire, flood, health emergency)
  • Align a support contact from your organization and establish expectations for availability and method of contact prior to the day of testing
  • Publish all Information required by the attendees (directions to facility, room location and number, start and end times, test scripts, system access information, where to get help, etc.) at least 1 week prior to the testing sessions. In addition, make this information available again at the test site on the days of the testing.
  • Keep the number of testers equal to the number that can be reasonably supported by the number of test facilitators available
  • Confirm each tester’s preparedness 1 week prior to the testing sessions – are they coming? Do they have everything they need?

Internet Access

One of the most important requirements for testing TM1 applications in an uncontrolled environment is access to the internet. The following are considerations and recommendations:

Wired or Wireless?

With advancements in routing technology, the differences in speed between wired and wireless networks have begun to blur. Traditional knowledge indicates that wired networks offer a connection superior to that of wireless networks, but this is not always the case. While unobstructed G and N wireless connections surpass older wired technology, wired gigabit Ethernet connections provide the best network connection possible. Unfortunately, many routers do not come with gigabit Ethernet

cables by default, so if you want the best network connection possible, be sure you are using gigabit cables (refer eHow.com).

The two most common wireless networks are wireless G and wireless N networks. Wireless G networks are capable of transferring data at a rate of 108 mbps, whereas N networks are capable of transferring data up to about 300 mbps. Regardless, when using older devices to connect to more modern networks the bandwidth will be limited by the older device, (meaning that a G user will only download at 108mbps on an N network).

In an un-controlled environment, it is recommended that both wireless and wired connections be available to all testers. If possible, bring your own cables.

Reliability

The reliability of an internet connection to send and receive data packets determines the stability of the connection. This is diagnosed by testing the connections ability to ping other sites and computers over the Internet. The connection is tested for packet loss, ping speed and jitter and assigned “a grade”. The best way to test internet connections reliability is by using the public website: www.pingtest.net.

For optimal results, a test score of “A” is recommended.

Bandwidth

Revealed in a recent study, the fastest US city is Boston with an average connection speed of 8.4Mbps, though that only makes it 51st in the world behind a top 50 list dominated by South Korea and Japan. Those countries are predictably on top of the international table, too, with average speeds of 17.5Mbps and 9.1Mbps respectively — meanwhile, the US languishes in 13th place as Americans saw their average speeds drop 5.3 percent from the previous quarter to 5.8Mbps (The Verge News.com). To test the internet connects bandwidth you can use the public website: www.bandwidthplace.com.

For optimal results, a bandwidth of at least 8.4 would is recommended.

Support

It is strongly recommend that for testing in an un-controlled environment you identify the facilities technical support contact, the procedure for contacting them and their expected availability. It is not uncommon in an uncontrolled environment for technical support to have limited availability.

It is recommended that you contact them 1 week prior to testing days to ensure they are aware of any anticipated support needs.

General

Most hotels offer different internet connectivity plans: “High-Speed” and “Enhanced”. High-speed is suitable for checking email and light internet browsing. Enhanced is designed to be reliable enough for video-chat, file downloading and streaming data.

It is recommended that at a minimal, the “Enhanced” internet option be used for the testing sessions.

Hardware and Software

It is generally assumed that the testing attendees are ultimately to be the end-users of the application being tested. Therefore, it is recommended that each user use their individual laptops for the testing. Each machine should be pre-configured at least 1 week prior to the testing sessions.

The following is the recommendation for those users using the standard TM1 client tools. (This type of configuration will provide an optimal user experience. Web only clients can use lower specification hardware).

  • Operating System                            –             Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)
  • Number of Processors (Cores)   –             4
  • Processor Type                                                 –             High-End Pentium
  • Memory (RAM)                                                –             6-8 GB
  • Local Disk Space                                –             75 GB or more
  • Display                                                  –              High-Resolution and/or Dual
  • Web Browser                                    –              Internet Explorer 8, 9, Firefox 5, 8
  • Office (Excel)                                     –              2007 or 2010 (32-bit)

In addition, the following tools will also be required.

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1
  • Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 SP1 Redistributable Package

Conclusion

The recommendations and considerations outlined here are simply “guidelines” and “common sense” that should be used along with any specific requirements of the application to be tested in creating a off-site testing plan.

jm

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