Saturday, 9 March 2013

Gold Copy in Test Data Management (TDM)

In the previous posts, we discussed about Data Subset, Data Masking, Test Data Ageing, Data Archive in TDM and Test Data Refresh.  In this post, we will try to focus on what is Gold Copy in TDM.

So what is meant by Gold Copy?

This is the baseline version of the data that can be used for future releases.  For example,  if you are trying to load your test database from the production database for the first time.  In this case, you can save the copy as a baseline from which future test data refreshes can be made.  The following picture depicts this concept of Gold Copy

Gold Copy - Basics


Gold copy can be stored either in databases or archived File systems.  Things to consider before storing these copies is convenience of storage and time taken for data retrieval.

  • Serves as a starting point/baseline for further processing
    • This version serves as a baseline for all future Test Data Refresh.
  • Reusable
    • Reusable across multiple environments.  If there are more than one environment, then all the refreshes can be made from the Gold Copy.
  • Saves critical extract time from production
    • One of the critical challenge in Test Data Refresh is that the Production database needs to be connected in order to refresh the test database.  Using a gold copy approach, you would reduce this time immensely and without disturbing the production database.

  • Storage Space
    • A Gold copy needs to be stored for future reference.  If the data volumes are very high, storage size can increase proportionately.  So you need to spend more on your storage costs.
  • Difficult to create
    • It is quite difficult to come up with a gold copy, as data might be from multiple sources and there might a need to consolidate different data into a common repository.
  • Need to maintain it
    • A gold copy needs to be created and maintained.  A Gold copy need to be updated with the latest data and the fresh data that was created.  This is another challenge associated with Gold Copy.
Do you think there are any other challenges / Do you have any alternate view points.  Please feel free to comment.  Thanks for the read.

About the Author

Rajaraman Raghuraman has nearly 8 years of experience in the Information Technology industry focusing on Product Development, R&D, Test Data Management and Automation Testing.  He has architected a TDM product from scratch and currently leads the TDM Product Development team in Cognizant.  He is passionate about Agile Methodologies and is a huge fan of Agile Development and Agile Testing.  He blogs at Test Data Management Blog & Agile Blog.  Connect with him on Google+


  1. Hi Raghu,
    thanks for the informative post.. I have one question regarding gold copy update..
    If gold copy needs to be updated again and again than that too would need connection from production database for update. Also in that case gold copy should need updates more frequently than test environment. Than shouldn't it be far more costly than maintaining the test environment itself that only contains some data cut?
    Please highlight and clear my understanding...

  2. Hi Sonali - Think of the golden copy as a dropbox. Data can be shared without each user needing their own copy. You could give 50 developers a copy of your production data instantaneously. You can mount it or live clone it so that it can be constantly updated.

    It allows you to run analytics without shutting down your whole system. For example, running analytics against a database carries the risk of overwhelming your production system. There’s no problem, though, if you run it against a virtualized copy of your production data.