Mainframe Testing Concept and Tools

Mainframe Testing Concept and Tools

Online Training MainframesMainframe is a high performance multi user computer system which is most scalable, available, reliable and secured machine in the world capable of performing some Million Instructions per second.

Mainframe testing is a testing that includes black box testing. No need of JCR and all programming language necessary. Mainframe Testing is similar to client-server applications testing. For mainframe testing one has to know how to operate basic TSO and ISPF commands and menus, view mainframe files, look at and use SDSF or other output tool, log on CICS and transactions, use FTP or another transfer protocol, submit the batch job – it’s for QA testing of mainframe applications.

While Testing in Mainframe, we need to check how many online screen is getting affected, is there any batch job to be executed, time taken for completing one test case as it will help you to planning and scheduling, any external dependency etc.

Mainframe Test Tools:

Some of the tools that are used for mainframe testing are as follows:

1. Test Director

2. QTP (Quick Test Professional)

3. Claim Repository

4. Foundation Testing Tool (FTT)

5. TN3270 Plus

6. Hiperstation

7. Load Runner

Unlike the QA testing for another platform, like WEB and/or client-service, the mainframe is usually back-end. It can be learned quickly, but it needs an access to mainframe.

There are various kind of tests in Mainframes such as:

Integration tests
Performance tests
Volume tests
Regression tests
Stress tests etc.

You can test a all cluster of programs or a whole day or night of production. You need to know the expected results, discuss with business analysts, with system team, with Capacity team. And you will have to know a lot of tools or technics: Strobe, File Aid, Ecomp, CA7, report Excel, Word, DB2, CICS, zOS, Sort, backup, recovery, etc.

As part of mainframe testing you could be testing a COBOL application on a DB2 database, or a People soft application using an Oracle database, or the application could be a CICS application using QA Hyper station to automate the testing. The QA principles do not change, however the skill sets differ to some extent. You may be required to know JCL, ISPF and TSO and have a basic understanding of COBOL. You should know how to write SQL queries to test any databases.

There may also be networking issues to consider when testing large system environments.

Mainframe applications run on the mainframe and clients access the mainframe through a terminal emulator. The terminal emulator is the only software that needs to sit on the client machine. Changes to the software (COBOL, JCL, etc) are made on the mainframe and as a mainframe tester you don’t need to worry about migrating them to the client. If it works through one terminal emulator it should work on them all.

Mainframe testing skill is a quite niche skill. Though many organizations are trying to move from less user friendly mainframe applications to modern client/server applications but it will still exist for a while. Since the mainframe testing is difficult and trainings are not easily available so the demand of a mainframe tester is great in the market.

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