aqua vs microfocus
Automation Management
27 mins read
May 20, 2022

aqua vs Micro Focus Quality Center: how companies stop paying 50 times the price

Test management solutions are a great asset for better QA, but you get even more value out of application lifecycle management solutions. Here is a comparison of aqua and Micro Focus Quality Center, two ALM tools at very different prices.

photo
photo
Denis Matusovskiy
Kirill Chabanov

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 (as well as subcontractors) and thus a significant factor in picking a testing tool for government sector.

aqua deployment models

aqua deployment models

Deployment model
Quality Center
aqua
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
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
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
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

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.

aqua also brings a unique integration among test management solutions — a Chrome extension to run tests and immediately document them. aqua Test Recorder enables you to record interactions, edit captured data, leave comments, annotate screenshots, and then send everything to your company’s aqua server. This approach saves time on all the tab switching, and immediate documentation ensures the QA specialists share everything they observed.

For context, virtually all aqua competitors lack a first-party Chrome extension. They have to rely on third-party solutions that often cost extra money and lack native integrations with test management solutions.

Feature
Quality Center
aqua
No
Yes
Yes ( Jira )
Yes ( Jira link, Jira sync )
Yes ( Jenkins, Selenium )
Yes ( 10 tools )
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
Yes
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
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
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

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
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, on the other hand, costs €39/month per person (VAT inclusive). This adds up to €468/year, a 1/10th of the yearly Micro Focus cost before you consider their sizable base fee. 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
Yes ( $55,500/year* )
No ( $0 )
Yes ( $4,632/user*, upfront )
Yes ( €468/user, charged at €39/month )

*QC pricing does not include VAT

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. On the other hand, the online test management tool aqua lets you try both QA and ALM functionality as well as everything in between.

Feature
Quality Center
aqua
No
Yes ( 30-day trial )
No
Yes ( 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.

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