Patni, a provider of information technology services and business solutions (including outsourcing services), has released a Testing-as-a-Service solution that virtualizes the process for cloud-based solutions. This, the company claimed, will help decrease the number of people needed by a given organization to perform testing.

The TaaS offers a “cross-platform testing environment for diverse environments, rapid ramp-up or ramp-down, variable usage,” and a pay-as-you-go model, Patni said in a statement.

“The delivery of the testing environment in a cloud model…[solves] time to market [by increasing the amount of tests completed] and adds more accessibility,” said Vikram Watave, vice president of infrastructure management services. Patni’s solution provides additional “as-a-service” solutions and will build the TaaS solution around whatever cloud provider an enterprise client already uses.

“[Most] customers have multiple tools for testing; TaaS standardizes and consolidates [the process],” Watave said.

Patni, though, is not the first company to experiment with testing in the cloud, according to Satish Atluri, director of application life-cycle management strategy and solutions at HP Software Professional Services. He said that HP has been offering a TaaS solution since 2008. Its most recent offering includes the TaaS solution as part of the recently released Application Lifecycle Management 11 suite, which allows access to the solution as part of a public or private cloud.

“The program is Internet Explorer-compatible, and if accessed in a public cloud, you would access it in a browser; a private cloud would be via a browser in the ALM Suite,” Atluri said.

The solution allows you to have a “variable demand” for testing, according to Paul Ashwood, product marketing manager for application services at HP Enterprise Services.

Ashwood said that testing has always been something companies buy on an on-demand basis, but the model for TaaS actually allows them to “spin up or spin down” the amount of testers they are buying at a given time. He added that the Software-as-a-Service suites allow enterprises to buy products and also buy the support with them.

James Staten, an analyst at Forrester, said in his August 2010 report on Cloud Investment that enterprise companies interested in increasing their cloud services (for example, moving testing environments to the cloud) need to “endorse cloud platforms, but with guidance; craft a work-in-progress cloud use policy; select a small number of approved cloud platforms; and funnel developer use of cloud computing through a central resource request tool.”