DevOps Testing is the process of automating and smoothing out the entire delivery lifecycle of software. A lot of companies employ DevOps testing strategies by starting with the agile practice of Continuous Integration (CI). Under this practice, developers are required to check codes that are shared in a repository throughout the day.
An automated build then verifies each of these check-ins, which lets teams detect conflicts and errors quickly. In this DevOps Testing Tutorial, we’ll be discussing the DevOps Testing Cycle, the DevOps Testing Tools, Test Automation, and QA Testing and how to develop a DevOps strategy fit for your organization.
Let’s take a look at the list of topics we’ll be going over in this tutorial:
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What is DevOps Testing?
DevOps can be said as an integrated/ compound system of development and operations. The term “DevOps” is derived from the letters of the words “DEVelopment” and “OPerationS”. DevOps Testing is a perfectly orchestrated collaboration between the Development and Operations teams.
Apart from the mainstream aspects of development and operations, the system of DevOps Testing also provides other crucial aspects such as quality engineering and security. Primarily, It smoothens the coordination as well as collaboration among the teams. This results in the preparation of better quality products.
There are several reasons adduced to the usage of DevOps Testing in organizations across the globe in recent years. Following the understanding of what DevOps Testing is, it is time to understand the DevOps Lifecycle.
With the ability to customize the DevOps functionality lifecycle, each organization has a different type of DevOps lifecycle. However, the following are the mandatory parts/ segments of any given DevOps lifecycle.
The Planning Phase
The first phase/segment of any given DevOps lifecycle is the planning phase. In this phase, all the teams would come together and decide an approximate timeline to create the product. Other aspects such as when the product can tentatively be launched and the potential success rate of the product will be discussed as well.
In this digital era, the product must align with the acceptable ideologies of society. Thus, the product’s acceptability rate, the possibility of controversies, and more of such aspects would be looked into as well.
The prime motive behind the planning phase is to ensure transparency among the teams, as well as with the clients. Through the planning phase, the client would be able to adjust their requirements, if any, as well.
In simple terms, automation testing in the DevOps tools/ culture is deployed to reduce the percentile of human intervention to a great extent. This phase includes the verification of the product’s overall functionality. The functionality test is carried on by the usage of automation frameworks along with DevOps testing tools. It comes in handy in the verification of the overall application functionality.
Simply put, automation testing is useful to detect bugs, minimize the overall human error percentile, execute the test cases multiple times, and most importantly, automatically increase the overall reliability of the product as well.
The concept of DevOps testing tools/ culture and test automation go hand in hand. The introduction of the DevOps test automation method into the DevOps testing tools/ culture has changed the course to a great extent. More precisely, the DevOps automation has drastically changed the QA team’s role.
Initially, the QA team would wait until the product is perfected to be released to the public. This would delay the launch of the product by several days. Sometimes the delay would even be up to several months. Now, with the simultaneous development of the product by several teams, there would be no such delays.
This phase usually follows after checking the functionality and strength of security. In this phase, you will trial-run the deployment phase. This will give you clarity on the usability and the readiness of the app to be launched in the public. Initially, the deployment trial run was done manually.
However, with the growth of DevOps testing, the automation of deployment is growing to a great extent. Currently, the deployment can be done in public clouds, private clouds, and also on their local servers. This comes in handy for places where highly confidential information is stored, such as government agencies.
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Clients want work to be completed on time, or even before the deadlines. Clients expect the final product to be flawless as well. It is a human tendency to make mistakes while making any product at a faster pace. This is where the DevOps culture comes into play. With DevOps Testing, it is easy to divide the manual tasks and the automated tasks.
The tasks which require mandatory manual input and expertise can be taken care of by the software engineers. On the other hand, the tasks which can be automated will be taken care of by the relevant machines/software. This reduces the workload of the engineers and ensures that the work is carried on simultaneously. Thus, there is a good window of opportunity to perfect the product by fixing the bugs, if any.
Furthermore, it is useful in scaling up the infrastructures, quicker and better creation of working codes, and most importantly in the prevention of transferring data between different environments. It is important to note that the transfer of data among different environments would result in a possibly messy situation which would cost you a big chunk of your valuable time.
When two teams synchronize their work, the result will be amazing. This is where DevOps Testing comes into play. It simply smoothens the teams by improving their communication system and their collaboration capability.
Earlier, when the development team completed their assigned work, the operations team would have to deal with bugs. This caused a lot of inconvenience to the operations department due to increased work pressure. With the presence of DevOps Testing, both the teams can work and contribute till the time of product delivery.
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Software apps have to pass through five different stages if they are developed within a DevOps pipeline:
- Continuous Development
- Continuous Testing
- Continuous Integration
- Continuous Delivery
- Continuous Monitoring
DevOps helps promote collaboration between development, operations, and QA. Since there are so many processes involved, you can’t define one tool as the DevOps tool. There are various tools used throughout the various stages of the DevOps pipeline. The tools used for various stages will be different in different organizations.
Here we have listed out some common DevOps tools used in each stage:
Jira software is widely used for this stage in the DevOps pipeline. The software facilitates collaborations by visually highlighting issues throughout the workflow. The Jira platform is really easy to use for development planning. It also helps in tracking daily work and project progress reporting.
A lot of organizations also use Jira to manage test cases. This is done to facilitate the working of both development and testing teams together. Zephyr for Jira is a tool that is used for creating, executing, tracking, and reporting test uses.
A CI/CD server called Jenkins can automatically run tests every time a new code is pushed into the repository by the developer. CI can detect bugs early in the process. This helps make the bugs less complex and easy to resolve. Jenkins was originally made to be a build automation tool for Java. Nowadays, it has become a platform where you can build, automate and deploy any software project. It doesn’t matter which computer language, database, and/or control system was used to write the software.
Tools like Puppet or Chef enable users to avoid ‘snowflake servers’ in their delivery/deployment environment. Snowflake servers are production servers that have been running for a long time and have been configured and modified repeatedly. This makes the server unique, like a snowflake and hence, the name. This server requires manual configuration that is beyond automated deployment scripts.
You can use Manifests in Puppet or Recipes in Chef, to explain the configuration of the elements of a server. This helps in configuring and specifying environments in a completely automatable format.
There are log monitoring tools like Spunk and Elf that help users analyze data on all the transactions that have taken place in their deployed IT applications. This helps ensure uniform performance, security, availability, and user experience. Both these tools are capable of providing a scalable way of collecting and indexing these log files. They also provide a search option for users so they can interact with data and create visualizations like dashboards, alerts, or reports.
Go through these Top 60 Devops Interview Questions and Answers to crack your interviews.
Testing Types in DevOps
There are various testing types in DevOps. Let’s look at them one by one.
The Chain Test helps confirm that all the apps on the chain are working well together. This is sometimes also called the Integration Test.
Big applications are built on different components and the Component Test tests all of them.
Functional Acceptance Test
This test helps verify if the happy path of the app is working according to the functional requirements. The error and alternate paths need to be tested as well.
It works similar to the Component Test but while the Component Test works on one component at a time, this can work on multiple components simultaneously.
Performance Stress Test
This test checks if the system can handle the request on time by a set number of users, background workload, and transactions.
Production Acceptance Test
This test verifies if the app can work fine in the target environment.
This test verifies if the app can fulfill the requirements.
This test examines a single small object.
User Acceptance Test
This test helps figure out if the user can use the app and whether it’s user-friendly, effortless, usable, etc.
DevOps Testing Tools
Using DevOps Testing Tools helps DevOps teams in various ways, for example – improving the code quality of the team, accelerating the software’s time to market in the DevOps pipeline, and providing continuous quick feedback to increase collaboration between all the teams involved. Let’s look at some of them:
- Unit tests are the first tests done in the DevOps pipeline. They are written as part of the Test-Driven Development (TDD) process. The unit tests for each code piece are written before the code itself. TDD is an important part of the agile method and helps developers be thorough about how each unit of the software they are building should behave.
- JUnit is a tool used by Java developers to write repeatable cases which help increase programming speed and improve the quality of code. The tool provides various features like test suites, fixtures, test runners, and JUnit classes.
- A lot of DevOps teams also employ Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATTD) and Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) to run more advanced tests. This enables testing to be done again and again in slight increments while software components are being assembled on each other.
- A BDD tool called Cucumber is used to encourage collaboration between QA, developers, and business participants. It helps bridge the gap between IT and business by writing test cases in a language that domain experts and non-programmers can read.
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DevOps Test Automation
It’s very important to choose the correct DevOps Test Automation Tool as it can help foster collaboration, lower costs, and reduce release cycles. It also gives live visibility into the quality and status of the applications in the DevOps pipeline.
DevOps automated testing works by conducting a huge number of tests to be sure that an application won’t break when new changes are introduced at all levels of the Test Automation Pyramid.
Here are some tools that help is DevOps Test Automation:
A CI/CD server from Atlassian, Bamboo helps developers integrate, build, deploy and test source codes automatically. It is integrated with other Atlassian tools like HipChat for team communication and Jira for project management.
Selenium is a popular software suite that contains several open-source tools which help in automated software testing. Selenium’s open-source tools help in different types of problems in automation. It is widely used to make foolproof regression automation tests and suites across different browsers. Selenium can be used to write automation scripts on modern web browsers using languages like Java, C#, Python, .Net, Ruby, PHP, etc.
SoapUI is a tool that helps in functional testing, security testing, load testing, and web services testing. It is specifically designed for testing APIs. It contains drag and drops features to help create testing suites, steps, and requests. It is capable of building complex test scenarios, without writing test scripts.
DevOps QA Testing
Before DevOps, QA used to get builds deployed in their designated environment. Then the QA would start their Functional and Regression Testing. The builds would be with the QA for a few days before they are approved. This changed with the onset of DevOps QA Testing.
With DevOps QA Testing, QA is required to align with the DevOps cycle since the beginning. They have to make sure that they automate all their test cases and this should cover almost all of the code. They also need to see to it that the environment is standardized and the QA box deployments are automated.
After DevOps Testing came into the picture, all the pre-testing and post-testing tasks, cleanups, etc. were automated. They are now aligned with the Continuous Integration Cycle.
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DevOps Testing Strategy
Speaking of the impact the DevOps culture is bringing about, you would by now know that the quality of the DevOps testing has a great impact on your organization’s success. Following are a few key tips to make the best use of the DevOps Testing Strategy for your organization’s success:
- You need to identify all the test cases that need to be executed for a particular build.
- The execution of all tests should be minimal yet powerful.
- The Development and QA teams need to identify all the areas that a particular build is affecting. They need to execute all the test cases related to the build.
- Coverage tools and specialized code analysis need to be configured to ensure that all of the code is covered.
- Don’t execute all regression test cases for a test pass.
- A new features testing strategy needs to be standardized while the QA creates test scripts and runs the automation tests on the builds in the interim. This process should continue until the code is stable enough and can be deployed in the Production environment.
- All the deployments need to be automated. The environments required for testing need to be formalized.
- Automation testing across different cross-platform environments should be run by QA with the help of automation techniques.
- Parallel execution of tests should be implemented to reduce the time-to-market.
- There should be an exit criterion set for each of the test cases. When the results get back to the chain, the Production can take a quicker decision.
With the abundant growth of DevOps Testing, it has become imperative to choose the right testing strategy to ensure organizational success. Furthermore, with the influence of DevOps in various aspects of the organizational functionalities, it is important to ensure that the system makes the right impact on the teams without overstepping any boundaries. This will ensure that the implemented DevOps culture is on par with the core idea of the DevOps system in general.
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