Pre-Release Testing Program
This help topic applies to Appian Cloud users only.

Overview

The Pre-Release Testing Program is a new service available to Cloud customers that reinforces our already strong commitment to backward compatibility, and is designed to provide you with even greater confidence in the exceptional quality built into every release of the Appian platform. It offers the unique opportunity to have your existing Appian sites tested against upcoming releases of the platform in a completely automated fashion, requiring no additional effort by you, and no compromise on the security of your data. Appian Engineering will be alerted to potential issues before the software is ever released, which dramatically increases our ability to ensure that each release not only works for everyone, but works exceptionally well for the specific configuration, data, and usage patterns of participating Cloud customers.

How It Works

The Pre-Release Testing Program leverages locked-down clones of your sites to run an extensive series of supplemental, fully-automated platform tests, explicitly designed to exercise code paths unique to each customer. Because the tests are executed in a cloned environment, your production sites are completely unaffected. While the tests will not validate the specific requirements of your application, they will go a long way to make sure that the platform behaves as expected and your apps just work as designed. For example, we may validate database migration, check performance of new APIs under your site's configuration, and even run the test scenarios you have defined in your apps for rules and interfaces.

Who Has Access To Test Clones

Simply stated: no oneā€”not Appian, not anybody else, not any other system. Test clones undergo stricter security controls than even our Cloud production environments. Clones are isolated at the network level so no inbound or outbound communications of any kind beyond mangement and metrics collection are possible. Test code is deployed to the clone alongside product code and executed within the security boundaries of your site so no external system or human ever gets access to your data. Once the tests have completed the clones are immediately destroyed, regardless of whether or not the tests were successful.

How To Participate

Most customers are enrolled into the Pre-Release Testing program when they start their journey with Appian, but you can contact Appian Support at any time to make sure your sites are enrolled. A written request from an admin or support contact is all it takes, whether through email (support@appian.com) or a case note. You can request enrollment of all sites or individual ones, as you wish.

Frequently Asked Questions

What data does Appian have access to on test clones?

Appian personnel and systems have no access to any of your data on test clones. Only product and test code deployed directly onto the clone itself have access to your data, but no transfer of your data outside the clone is possible since network connectivity is completely disabled and persistent data is destroyed upon completion of the tests. Appian only has access to metrics and logs that do not contain any customer data, in adherence to the same security controls as production sites.

Are test clones hosted in the same region as my site?

Yes! All test clones will always be hosted in the same region as the original site.

Will this affect the performance of my production environment?

No! Test clones are created from a recent backup of your site and completely independent from it. We will never run any tests directly against your site.

What version will my site be upgraded to?

We will only upgrade a test clone of your site to an pre-release version of the Appian platform, not your actual site! Your production, development or other site will be unaffected by this program.

Will my site definitely be tested?

We do plan to test all production sites, but we cannot make firm statements on which sites will be tested exactly and with what frequency.

Will I be notified when my site is tested?

At this time we have no plans to issue customer notifications when pre-release tests are run, though we'll be happy to reach out to thank you if testing your site helps us catch a major bug. If this is a feature you would find valuable, make sure to let us know!

Will I be notified of test results/failures?

Given our strong commitment to backwards compatibility, individual test results should be of no immediate concern to customers, as any issue found will be resolved prior to release. There may be exceptions. For example, we might occasionally detect deprecated/unsupported functionality, in which case we will be glad to share results and recommendations for remediation with you.

How will Appian debug issues without access to clones?

Our tests are specifically designed to not require access to the clone for debugging purposes, by including diagnostic assertions directly within the test code. In rare and extreme cases we may reach out to you to stand up an ad-hoc clone of your site for debugging purposes, but this is a distinct process requiring specific authorization from you - no different than what we occasionally might do when working to resolve techical support issues.

Will Appian test my application?

We will go to great lengths to ensure that your applications just work and continue to work on upgrade. We will even leverage test artifacts you create as part of your app (e.g. test scenarios and default input values for rules and interfaces). However, we will not create tests that validate the specific requirements of your application. Nor could we - remember we do not even have access to your site!

How will Appian test integrations?

We will not. Testing integrations with your enterprise systems or other services is not in scope of the Pre-Release Testing Program, for security and other reasons. Integrations on test clones will be completely disabled. Testing them should be part of your application-specific test strategy.

How long will a test clone be active?

Test clones will be activated just in time for the execution of an automated test campaign and immediately shut down upon completion. All associated data will be deleted immediately upon shutdown.

Can I log into the test clone to run application level testing?

No, neither Appian nor you will have access to cloned sites. Pre-Release Testing as part of this program is completely automated. Application level testing should be done on a site provisioned for that purpose (e.g. dedicated test/staging/UAT sites).

Will this program reduce the amount of testing I need to do?

Appian is committed to backward compatibility of our releases, therefore you are already neither required nor expected to test your applications when the platform is upgraded. This program further increases our ability to ensure that no issues go undetected prior to release and affect you negatively upon upgrade. So yes, this program should definitely give you greater peace of mind, but it is not a substitute for the testing you normally do to ensure your app behaves to your specific requirements.

What additional testing will I have to do?

None! Once you are enrolled, the pre-release testing runs without anything required from you.

Can we only enroll our dev site but not our prod site?

Technically, yes. In practice, we don't recommend it. Our tests will deliver exponentially higher value directly to you when run against a secure clone of your production environment. If your concern is around the security of your data or the performance impact on production, please be assured that neither is a concern. Test clones are separate and independent from the original sites, and they adhere to even stricter security controls than your production sites! Please reach out to support@appian.com if you need further assurance.

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