Operational acceptance testing

Operational acceptance testing (OAT) is a type of software testing, used mainly in software support and software maintenance projects. This type of testing focuses on the operational readiness of the system to be supported, or which is to become the production environment. Hence, it is also known as operational readiness testing. Functional testing of applications is not be included or merged in OAT.

It may include checking the backup facilities, maintenance and disaster recovery procedures. In OAT changes are made to environmental parameters which the application uses to run smoothly. For example, with Microsoft Windows applications with a mixed or hybrid architecture, this may include: Windows services, configuration files, web services, XML files, COM+ components, web services, IIS, stored procedures in databases, etc. This type of testing is conducted before user acceptance testing.

The approach used in OAT includes these steps:

  • Build the system,
  • Deploy the application,
  • Supportability of the system.
  • Validate the backup procedure setup for the system

Then checks are made on how the application is behaving, and moreover how the system is behaving as a whole in these conditions. Backup procedures are also checked to ensure proper operation under emergency conditions.

For running the OAT test cases, the tester normally has exclusive access to the system or environment. This means that a single tester would be executing the test cases at a single point of time. For OAT the exact OR quality gates are defined, both entry and exit gate. All activities are listed which would be part and covered in the different phases of testing, with primary emphasis be on the operational part of the system.


There are various aspects of OAT –

  • Fail over testing (resilliance testing)
  • Component fail-over
  • Network fail-over
  • Alerting/alarming (to ensure proper alerts are configured in the system if something goes wrong)
  • Backup and recovery testing – to ensure that backup and recovery is successful

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