CIOs recognize that software testing automation can generate a big competitive advantage by speeding the time to market and improving application quality. Yet, many IT leaders remain unclear about the best ways to unleash such secret powers and achieve success through testing automation.
Cloud sandboxes can help by serving as the underlying platform for best practices in testing automation. Think of cloud sandboxes as on-demand, self-service environments that appear like exact blueprints of authentic production settings. In this way, dev/test teams can model real-world production environments to identify any problems with new lines of code before going live.
Sandboxes allow testers to mimic the entire production environment. This includes all the physical and virtual infrastructure components, hardware settings, applications, data, test and performance tools, along with service APIs. Such an environment can be built and managed via an elegant GUI, or it can be completely manipulated by REST APIs. These blueprints can be invoked by other tools in the DevOps toolchain, or even handled by IT administrators.
The best part is these sandbox environments can be adopted on any cloud, public or private, with a one-click deployment path selection. This easy process allows organizations to move quickly with higher quality and reduced risk.
In addition, testing automation provides a critical linkage point for the entire DevOps lifecycle. When test teams take the lead, they must find ways to push automation back into development and forward into staging and production. Such a self-perpetuating cycle “starts” with planning and development, and “ends” with deployment into operations.
In turn, this kind of virtuous cycle flows right into monitoring and management, which leads to discovering issues and identifying new feature requests, taking us right back to planning and development. If done properly, testing falls somewhere in the middle of the DevOps cycle, so it’s imperative to streamline and automate the full range of testing functionality.
Here is a checklist of the top five priorities to succeed with testing automation in your datacenter:
- Infrastructure: Automating tests is not nearly as difficult as automating the underlying infrastructure on which those tests are run.That’s why it is so important to ensure the ability to automatically mimic the production infrastructure in which the software or hardware is expected to run. By giving testers their own personal replicas of the target production infrastructure, they can ensure that the software coming out of the test can be deployed automatically and continuously into production.
- The Production Environment Workload: An overlooked aspect of testing automation is the need to mimic the full workloads that would be common in production. These can include network traffic flows, other application workloads, and network security profiles. Everything must be included or the software could break in production.
- The Tests: As software becomes more complex, the various modes of deployment present an ongoing challenge, with mobile testing replacing GUI testing as the most difficult types of tests to automate.
- Reporting and Result Analysis: To provide continuous automation from development through testing to delivery, it is critical to analyze every test result automatically. Relying on plodding manual processes to understand those results just won’t cut it.
- Tool Integration: Automation into and out of testing also needs to be enabled. This means that sandboxes and test automation suites should be API-driven to start a previous tool in the DevOps toolchain, and then to initiate other subsequent tools in the chain when the tests are completed.
To speed up the software development process, it’s vital to implement automated testing frameworks in your datacenter. After you specify the necessary features and requirements, make sure that a test gets written for every function before any coding begins. This will eliminate many tedious manual processes, while also decreasing inevitable human errors.
By taking these simple steps, you can push your apps out to market faster and thus increase your ROI through the secret powers of testing automation.