A detailed guide for a robust DevOps Testing Strategy

The Amazon Web Services (AWS) defines DevOps as a combination of cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that helps a business boost its applications and services delivery. With this definition, a DevOps testing strategy needs to accomplish two critical goals: speed and reliability.

Bringing the Dev (development) and Ops (operations) functions together can remove the independent-working mindset. In fact, this process actually makes tight delivery schedules for processes at scale less terrifying.

DevOps Testing Strategy

Testing in DevOps

What does testing in a DevOps environment look like? Test automation and continuous testing are the two simple concepts that you should keep in mind.

Automation testing

“Automating as much as possible” is not always a good strategy when testing in a DevOps environment. In fact, automation aims to simplify the complexities of manual testing instead of removing it completely.

DevOps teams can replace manual testing with automation in the following cases:

  • Software testing: automation for simple unit, regression, or end-to-end tests. 
  • Infrastructure management: automation can reduce repetitive setups, configurations, and maintain IT infrastructures like servers and networks
  • Log management: effortlessly handling a mountain of data from application requests to error messages with automated logging tools
  • Monitoring: reflecting accurately and instantly on the system’s health and performance trends of all testing activities 

Continuous testing

Continuity is an indispensable element in the development and deployment process to achieve the goal of quality-at-speed deliveries in a DevOps environment. Before delving deeper into continuous testing, let’s define what CI/CD is.

CI means continuous integration, and CD is short for continuous delivery (or development). CI/CD is a pipeline made of various tools and supported by automation.

It has four main parts to play a crucial role in DevOps automation and testing strategies:

  • Continuous integration (CI): continuously integrate or merge code changes into a central repository (mainline), then compile them into builds
  • Continuous testing: defining bugs or inspecting whether anything went wrong from the commit by validating code and product quality from its build with automated unit, integration, or end-to-end tests
  • Continuous delivery (CD): after a new code submission is pushed to staging, developers manually cherry-pick qualified release products with CD support to move to production
  • Continuous deployment (CD): using automation when shipping each successful build to production to extend continuous delivery and ensure no regressions remain by running end-to-end tests. 

Adapting your own DevOps Testing Strategy

The hard truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to DevOps testing strategy. As each team is on a different page of development and constraints, designing one single path for everyone is inefficient. Still, teams can make use of some overlaps in a testing strategy.

Understanding the DevOps testing mindset 

The DevOps model asserts the value of shared ownership in a team. During a software development life cycle (SDLC), DevOps also decreases the frequency of handovers or manual sign-offs. To do this, both the Dev and Ops team should keep each other’s affairs in mind from the start.

Particularly in testing, it is vital to involve the Dev teams or developers, instead of a specific tester, to ensure non-buggy rollouts.

The ideal process will resemble the case below:

Jena, a developer, monitors the pipeline after integrating her code into the mainline. To do this, she waits for CI tools, like Jenkins, to run unit and integration tests and review the new changes that have been made.

At this step, CI tools help developers find bugs, code errors, or logic earlier.

Then, Jena can directly fix the artifacts on the build or branch once the test results have failures.

With real-time notifications from Slack, a communication platform, the testing team receives messages immediately right after Jena has deployed the passing build into the staging environment.

Tom, a tester, now takes responsibility for testing and maximizing its coverage. As most bugs have been fixed when Jena tests the commits with CI, Tom has fewer bugs to log. Because of this, he will have more time to do manual tests and explore new changes on the staging and develop new scenarios. His next step is to use an automation DevOps testing tool, like Katalon Studio or Selenium, to do end-to-end tests.

How to standardize automation and orchestration?

How to Standadize automation and orchestration

We all understand that automation helps to boost scalability and agility in a testing lifecycle, but we are still on the way to finding solutions for implementing automation testing properly.

Let’s go through common questions and answers most teams are encountering:

Which tests need automation?

Automating the right tests depend on elements like execution time, test frequency, resources requirement, and the characteristics of a test case. Let’s take regression testing as an example of tests that need automation, as it is a necessary test for each release. In contrast, we should not do exploratory testing due to the requirement of personal judgment and previous test runs insights.

What is a suitable time for automation testing?

Automation suites play an important role in boosting feedback when constantly merging new codes with CI in an environment. However, this case requires properly organizing your tests, or in technical terms, what to shift left or right.

When reducing obscurities and potential test duplications by sorting tests in terms of their granularity, we should clearly understand what this process means. Find a quick breakdown below.

The testing pyramid is a simple concept focusing on three keywords: granularity, isolation, and integration.

  • Granularity measures how isolated or integrated the test is
  • Isolated tests refer to examples such as unit and integration tests in DevOps testing. In other words, it refers to testing the individual components that are not connected much to your product as a whole
  • Integrated tests are tests that drill down into the product from top to bottom as an end-user (end-to-end tests) 

On the one hand, smaller-scope unit and integration tests can immediately report changes we have made, so we should place these tests in the initial stage of our development project timeline. Why? Because these tests only track the function or class of the codebase work. As a result, they would be considered isolated and have much time for test execution.

On the other hand, it will take us a few days or weeks to do tests like end-to-end, which need a broader scope, and be more integrated when we reach further stages of the SDLC. This is because these tests check your whole software, which can be innately flaky and a real pain to maintain.

How to get the most of test automation in DevOps?

The answer relies on different DevOps testing problems and objectives that your team is trying to solve or to achieve. However, you can maximize the benefits of automation by: 

  • Having the right tool and framework selection
  • Getting the basics knowledge of testing
  • Tracking pass and fail patterns via performance metrics
  • Applying good documentation practices to your CI/CD process

How to streamline automation, CI/CD, and the DevOps pipeline altogether? 

The next step after having an automation testing strategy is DevTestOps orchestration. It helps to deliver your overall ROI with efficient coordination of relevant tasks, tools suite, and a practical vision of outcomes. 

Continuous monitoring 

On a much larger scale, synthetic monitoring is crucial as it keeps everyone updated on performance and the product’s issues, if any. With this DevOps testing strategy, all members have the right insights to catch and handle every issue on time.

In short, your team needs to look at logging, monitoring, alerting, and tracing to have a smooth monitoring process.

Having the right DevOps testing tools and selections

A good choice for your current infrastructure and team’s skillsets is the highest interoperability tool stack and technologies, instead of the best or cheapest ones.

Let’s take Selenium as an example of open-source options for automation testing. Selenium is famous in the DevOps testing industry, but teams have to meet many of its requirements. Besides, users need to have expert knowledge in programming when using Selenium to create and run tests.

Using open-source toolsets doesn’t cost anything. But spending too much time on learning to code, as well as workarounds to integrate with CI tools is inevitable. 

In contrast, despite the cost of buying licenses from commercial tools or a complete tool stack from a single vendor like Atlassian or Azure DevOps, they are worth it because you are supported by a dedicated technical team, personalized training, and stable releases for continuous product improvements.

Katalon Studio and TestOps – Indispensable Solutions for Many Testing Strategies in DevOps’ Fast Lane

You can now define a proper testing strategy for your DevOps culture. Although it takes a lot of effort, there is a way to achieve it.

One of the most critical factors to optimize your DevOps testing plan is the tools selection step.

It is essential to have a tool to eliminate the complexities of automation in a team with a skills gap between a manual tester and automation fresher without coding expertise.

Katalon Studio and TestOps is a robust DevTestOps solution adopted in over 100,000 businesses. Below is their benefits:

Check out What is TestOps?

Test automation and orchestration made easy. Katalon Studio is not only a good choice to alternate from Selenium, but also a low-code approach that boosts your test creation stage to reduce maintenance burdens using:

  • Keyword-driven testing
  • Self-healing mechanisms
  • Smart Wait
  • Page-object model and the support of BDD design

TestOps provides an orchestration platform that helps you effortlessly customize the frequency of scheduling and triggering tests. Besides, TestOps orchestration also has innovative auto-distributed and parallel executions to speed up their completion time. 

Embracing shift-left practices. Developers can join earlier on the testing lifecycle through a collaborative dashboard in TestOps. Furthermore, TestOps also has native integrations to top CI tools, like Jenkins, Azure DevOps, or CircleCI, so we can use automation to draw, store, and centralize unit tests and integration tests into one platform.

With TestOps, developers can:

  • Boost failure and flakiness investigation with historical trends
  • Get alerts on all problems right on Slack, Jira, and more

Proactive continuous monitoring. TestOps platform orchestrates all operational and development activities into a real-time and easy-to-understand snapshot for everyone not worrying about the scope of work. TestOps brings:

  • The ID of builds and tests for owner and creator to clearly delegate task processes
  • Full view of all issues on both the pre and production environments with a smooth-functioning quality gate 
  • Visualized tests execution results and reports to define what actions should be taken

We hope your team can build a powerful DevOps testing strategy with our insights.

And, much more than that, having over 100,000 organizations that have already built powerful testing strategies with Katalon Studio and TestOps, our Katalon experts always stay here to help you tailor a suitable plan and testing strategy.

Try Studio and TestOps

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