TEST DATA MANAGERHow do you find the best test data for your testing?

Keith Puzey Keith PuzeyApril 15, 20193 min

It’s Monday morning and a full week of testing beckons. My first job is to test that we have fixed an issue reported by a customer the previous week. Engineering have given me a testing script  to help me recreate the problem, but the actual error was caused by a combination of entries in a form.

How can I identify the test data required to test this scenario in my test environment?

I need one customer record where:

  • the customer has been active for over 2 years
  • lives in France
  • recently purchased an item using the online application
  • used a certain type of credit card

I go to the service desk system and create a ticket that specifies my test data requirements. The ticket is routed to the DBA team and placed in a low priority queue; meanwhile, I move on to other testing and wait for my request to be fulfilled.  

Several days pass, and I speak to the ServiceDesk team. They tell me that the DBA team is particularly busy, and low priority tickets are not being worked on, but they will see if the ticket can be actioned. The engineering team have started asking why the fix has yet to be tested and are requesting an ETA for the completion of testing.  I am about to escalate the request when I receive an email from service desk. Fantastic, I can get on with my testing! But after opening the email, I see that the DBA was only able to find one record that matches my criteria.

Do these problems sound familiar?

  • Delays waiting for access to test data
  • Incomplete test data
  • Organisation being pushed to deliver updates quicker but not having the ability to test in the timescales given.

I’ve heard these types of stories from many organisations and instances where testers may need to wait weeks to access the correct test data

Testers have very specific needs: they need a way to request data based on the data definition used within the application (which is not always the same as the database schema), and they also need a mechanism to easily view the available test data, and select the best records for their tests.

Wouldn’t it be great if a tester could search through test data made available by the Test Data COE to find their own test data? Even better, what if the tester could reserve records needed for testing to ensure exclusive use of the data during testing?

Let me walk you through how this is possible:

As a tester I can login to the Self service portal of CA Test Data Management. It has a range of functionality that you can use to Subset and mask your production data to make it available to testers. Additional test data can then be created to augment your existing data using the synthetic data generation engine. Use your favourite automation tool to drive these operations with the published API’s.

All I do is select the tile for the appropriate test data, a very simple form, and I enter my requirements and click Find data. I can then select the test data I want to use and reserve it for my testing:

TDM solution











This form was created by the TDM Center of Excellence by choosing the data sources / Tables and Columns to make available to the testing community. The column names can be renamed in the model to make it easier for testers to identify the relevant data, and you have the option to allow a drop down search of available data.

TDM solution
For a tester, it’s as easy as clicking a tile and filling out a form, and the data you need is at your fingertips.

Visit the CA Test Data Manager site for more details on how you can enable your testers with on demand test data. To try it out yourself, sign up for a TDM test drive.


Keith Puzey

Keith Puzey

Over the last seven years Keith has worked on CA’s Devops product, specialising in CA Test Data Management, as a member of the Engineering Services team (SWAT).

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