aqua vs Micro Focus Quality Center: should you pay 50 times more?

Test management solutions are a great asset for better QA, but you get even more value out of application lifecycle management solutions. In this article, we will compare two such tools at very different price tags: aqua and Quality Center.

aqua vs microfocus

Deployment models

aqua ALM and ALM/Quality Center both provide Cloud and On-Premise offerings. It means that you can pick between the convenience of a Cloud solution and the extra flexibility of an On-Premise one. The latter is a necessity for sensitive industries, such as banks and government agencies — as well as their subcontractors.

aqua deployment models

aqua deployment models

Deployment model

Quality Center

aqua

Vendor Cloud

Yes

Yes

Private Cloud

Yes

Yes

On-Premise

Yes

Yes

User Management

Flexible user management helps a lot, especially if you’re a big company. Some projects might be more sensitive than others or you may not want to give a new intern editing rights just yet. Both aqua and Quality Center are strong in this department with custom roles and a high number of permissions. QC, however, lacks the functionality to assign a set of permissions on a per user basis.

Quailty Center’s Permission Manager

Quailty Center’s Permission Manager

aqua's permission editor

aqua’s permission editor

Criteria

Quality Center

aqua

Default user roles

Yes

Yes

Custom roles

Yes

Yes

Permissions for roles

100+

100+

Individual permissions

No

Yes

SSO

Yes

Yes

Test Management

Both tools offer solid test management functionality. Quality Center, however, is lacking when it comes to some efficiency-minded features, e.g. nested test cases and labels. It also doesn’t store a history of changes to the test case — a serious violation of traceability requirements found in some industries.

Test management with quality center

Test management with Quality Center

Test management with aqua

Feature

Quality Center

aqua

Test cases

+

+

Test scenarios

+

+

Test reports

+

+

Execution history

+

+

Nested test cases

-

+

Bulk edits

+

+

Scripts

+

+

Release planning

Versions, Agile

Versions, Agile

Labelling

-

+

Custom fields

+

+

Parametrisation

+

+

Filters

+

+

Folders

+

+

Views

+

+

Shared views

+

+

Workflows

+

+

Logging

+

+

Item change history

-

+

Change reversal

-

+

Comments

+

+

Attachments

+

+

Mentions

-

+

Manual email nudging

-

+

Integrations & Automated Testing

Quality Center and aqua both advocate for using third-party automation tools rather than reinventing the wheel. aqua has a wider list of supported automation tools, but both solutions support REST API to connect any in-house or third-party solution.

Feature

Quality Center

aqua

Management Integrations

Yes (Jira)

Yes (Jira link, Jira sync)

Automation integrations

Yes (Jenkins, Selenium)

Yes (10 tools)

First-party automation

No

No

REST API

Yes

Yes

External versioning

No

No

Auto-translation in workspace

No

Yes

Misc. integrations

Yes (UFT suite, Teams, Word, Excel, Google Sheets)

No

Full list of aqua integrations

Full list of aqua integrations

Dashboards

Dashboards are a great asset for both testers and everyone around them. High-level overviews give key pointers to Project Manager, Project Owner and even a curious executive, Low-level overviews aid work of QA specialists, their leads, and even developers.

Here, Quality Center and aqua go toe-to-toe. QC even matches aqua’s KPI Alert functionality, which is a relatively rare sight across both test management and ALM offerings.

QC dashboard

QC dashboard

aqua dashboard with KPI Alert at work

aqua dashboard with KPI Alert at work

Feature

Quality Center

aqua

Dashboards

Yes

Yes

Data

Any data

Any data

Custom fields data

Yes

Yes

Graph types

Pie chart, bar chart, line graph

Pie, bar, stacked bar chart; table chart

KPI Alerts

Yes

Yes

Read-only view for externals

Yes

Yes

Reporting

Quality Center provides a truly advanced reporting functionality. You can get any data from your project, insert graphs based on it, and even embed any custom text or attachments. aqua, however, takes it a bit step further with more out-of-the-box elements than QC can offer.

Quality Center exported report

Quality Center exported report

aqua report example

aqua report example

Feature

Quality Center

aqua

Template library

Yes (5 report types)

Yes (7 sample reports)

Custom reports

+

+

Pulling any data

+

+

Custom layout

-

+

External text & imagery

+

+

Drag-and-drop

-

+

Custom bands

-

+

Text formatting

+

+

Image formatting

+

+

Diagrams

+

+

Pivot tables

-

+

Scripts

-

+

Parametrisation

-

+

ALM

Quality Center and aqua are both true ALMs. They offer test case management, requirements management, defect management, project management, and even custom workflows. This functionality is enough to replace many if not all tools that your team uses to keep track of tasks and complete them. Both QC and aqua provide native support of Agile and Waterfall development, and aqua brings a bit of an extra with Extreme programming.

Feature

Quality Center

aqua

Test case management

+

+

Requirements management

+

+

Defect management

+

+

Software dev. methodology

Agile, Waterfall

Agile, Waterfall, Extreme Programming

Workflows

+

+

Project management

+

+

Quality Center item rules

Quality Center item rules

Quality Center workflows

Quality Center workflows

aqua project plan

aqua project plan

aqua workflow

aqua workflow

Setting up & Pricing

The Software as a Service pricing model offered by Micro Focus is very steep. The mandatory yearly cost for setup & maintenance of the ALM package is $55,500 — before VAT. Each user will additionally cost $4,632 per year. Getting 10 people on Micro Focus ALM is going to cost you $101,820/year before VAT.

aqua’s ALM tier, on the other hand, comes at €109/year per person (VAT inclusive). You can also go ahead and buy a perpetual aqua licence at roughly 1/20th of the yearly mandatory Micro Focus cost. In our biased opinion, you should really know why you would need ALM/Quality Center to justify that kind of extra spending.

Now, our own experience in the ALM market suggests things may look a bit different. The Micro Focus pricing is taken from AWS Marketplace, and you may negotiate a double-digit discount with a local reseller. You may also get a perpetual licence from them but, inferring from the SaaS pricing, a perpetual licence will come with a very steep price tag.

Criteria

Quality Center*

aqua

Rental base cost

$55,500/year

$0

Rental yearly cost

$4,632/user

€109/user

Perpetual license

Reseller’s discretion

€2,190**

*QC pricing does not include VAT
** 20% extra for setup & maintenance

Misc.

Speaking of knowing if you need ALM/Quality Center, you are not getting a trial of this tool from Micro Focus. A reseller is unlikely to refuse your request to try the tool late in the negotiation process, but you don’t quite know what you’re bargaining for until that. There is also no mention of a free Read-Only tier for very occasional users to avoid the extra licence purchase.

Feature

Quality Center

aqua

No-hassle trial

-

30-day trial

Free licences for browsing

No

Unlimited

Conclusion

aqua and Quality Center are very evenly matched in many areas. Both tools offer superb test management, dashboards, and user management. aqua is ever so slightly ahead on reporting and project management functionality. aqua also has a much wider automation integration suite, although QC will more likely than not get the job done.

The main difference, however, is pricing. 10 people on the server is enough to push your ALM/Quality Center spending over $100,000/year, and aqua will come about 95% cheaper. A perpetual licence makes the Micro Focus offering even more ridiculous in terms of value: you can buy a lifetime aqua ALM licence for half the yearly cost of one ALM/Quality Center user.

Try it yourself — 30-day aqua trial

GET TRIAL ACCESS
Related Articles

The need to implement QA at early development stages or execute it in parallel is…

photo
Olga Ryan
5 mins read

Part of the reason test management tools are popular is undoubtedly simplification find improvement of…

photo
photo
photo
Multiple Authors
10 mins read

Welcome to aqua’s product blog post unwrapping release 22.20 - 22.35. This product update covers…

photo
Kate Hornysh
10 mins read
Subscribe to aqua blog

Get the latest posts delivered right to your inbox