As enterprises move more and more into a state of digital transformation, they are moving into cloud computing and storage and adopting a stronger DevOps testing mindset. Building resilient CI/ CD pipelines gives them a faster SDLC and delivery so they can serve robust products faster to market. Therefore, developers and IT teams rely on continuous testing in DevOps throughout the development lifecycle.

Continuous testing helps find incremental errors and bugs that can be fixed well before they become larger problems. But, the responsibility does not rest on the IT teams alone. If enterprises were to depend on the developers or IT only, it could lead to a large backlog of work, causing delays and a slower delivery to the customers.

The organizations that are focus on DevOps-centric software testing adopt ways to distribute testing between the developers and the IT teams from the development stage to QA and the release of the product. Constant and continuous testing at every stage reduces the time taken to test each case. To understand how this works, let’s discuss the strategy behind a DevOps-centric continuous testing approach to drive a more resilient CI/ CD.

 The Strategy of DevOps Continuous Testing 

There are three core elements that are involved in continuous testing for the CI/ CD pipeline: 

  • Consistency 
  • Speed 
  • Scale 

 Manual testing requires people to run tests, whereas automated continuous testing enables building and running more applications, builds, and commands. Test Automation, especially in DevOps, also helps the IT teams achieve a higher standard of application and security requirements.

The basic framework for continuous testing consists of a compilation of different development tasks, tools, and processes. It is impossible to find a one-size-fits-all framework. Instead, it is possible to define the core elements and apply them to specific circumstances. For instance:

Continuous integration (CI)

Continuous integration is a practice where automated build testing is an integral part. Here, we submit the code to a shared repository frequently to detect the defects in the code before sending them to a staging environment and into a production environment.

Unit testing

Unit testing requires testing individual units of the source code, sets of the program modules, and operating procedures. It is ideal for checking that these codes are ready and ensuring that the different units connect to each other to work as a whole.

Performance testing

Performance testing is specific to the service or application the team is working on. It is used to track the reliability, speed, and uptime of the feature or product. Performance testing is vital as it determines the end-user experience. It is also performed in the staging and production environments, helping us proactively detect issues.

Integration and functional testing

Integration testing combines individual units of the system to verify if they can be tested together. It helps detect potential problem areas between the integrated units. It also helps expose weaknesses before they reach the production stage. This process fits in with functional testing, where different elements are tested against the software’s specifications, requirements, and expectations. It helps enterprises know how their product is expected to respond; and if the product is responding as expected consistently.

End-to-end testing

Software developers run the end-to-end testing to ensure that the workflows or data perform as expected, making this type of testing imperative to test the product’s reliability. But, it may not be enough because it will only reveal that there is a problem and not its cause.

Acceptance testing

Acceptance tests are usually run at the end to ensure that the product meets business needs and compliance requirements.

Smoke and chaos testing

The team involved in DevOps software testing will need to prioritize the different elements of the product and continuously test the most important functions within the application. Actively injecting chaos into the environment can also reveal how the product responds to stress and unknown elements. It reveals problems in infrastructure and applications that you had not foreseen.

Test Automation

Without automation, the above testing process can be time-consuming and defeat the process of getting the product ready for delivery. Automated continuous testing is of great value to the product’s development, the DevOps QA team, and customers.

The upshot of such automated continuous testing is that you can move the product into production frequently and with fewer bugs because it is also being continuously integrated into a shared repository. The shift-left mindset allows the IT teams to become used to staging and testing frameworks in development even as the developers become more entrenched with the code in production, helping them fix bugs faster.

Conclusion

The DevOps-centric software testing approach enhances collaboration among everyone involved in the SDLC, transparency around development, operations, and release, leading to an improved CI/ CD pipeline. The continuous testing and delivery processes cannot be implemented overnight. It takes time to incorporate continuous automated testing into the enterprise with a shift-left mindset and with all members of the SDLC, including stakeholders committed to successful product delivery.

 

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Kripaa Krishnamurthi