What Makes Test Automation the Cornerstone of DevOps?
September 30, 2020

Irina Demianchuk
Oxagile

In the modern software delivery landscape, success comes to those businesses that can keep up with an aggressive release schedule and respond to consumer feedback by implementing new features and fixing issues in a matter of days. The quicker the team can push new code into production, the sooner it can start bringing value. On the other hand, teams can't afford to compromise on quality — updates that make it harder to use the solution leave users frustrated and push them into the arms of competitors.

The Challenges of Testing in DevOps

To build and deploy state-of-the-art software quickly and effectively, many teams follow the DevOps approach that tightly integrates the activities of developers and IT specialists. CI and CD, both important elements of DevOps, rely on automation to build, test, and deploy software seamlessly and continuously.

"In a world of nightly or weekend regression runs, the volume of testing has increased substantially," said Heather Krebsbach from Atlassian. "And with this increased volume of testing comes the need for test automation. DevOps can simply not succeed if it still requires a large number of test cases to be run manually."

A common feature of modern apps is complex, multi-level architecture that includes multiple microservices, APIs, various types of storage, third-party integrations, web and mobile client apps, and more. Every solution update brings a great amount of regression tests and complicates the task of detecting and resolving bugs.

Another challenge is the decreasing length of a typical release cycle. The high pace of production requires extensive test coverage, and manual testing often proves to be too slow and costly to meet the demands of DevOps-driven projects.

In these conditions, software problems become more likely, instantly affecting the user base and hurting the reputation of the brand.

The Value of Test Automation Services for DevOps

The chief advantage of automated testing over manual testing is that it ensures repeatability. Repeatable tests create a stable basis for managing multiple testing environments that are a trait of long-term, evolving projects.

With test automation services, the QA team can deploy new environments faster, streamline test planning, and execute more tests in parallel. Meanwhile, stakeholders can appreciate access to detailed test effort reports that are also generated automatically.

Test automation helps DevOps experts minimize risks while deploying new code, meaning that software updates behave as expected and start bringing value to the business right away.

Here are the steps of a typical test automation workflow:

1. The development team, QA specialists, and stakeholders discuss user behavior and formulate user stories.

2. Developers and QA specialists cooperate to design the necessary unit and integration tests based on the user stories. These tests are deployed to the shared repository together with the code.

3. The team's DevOps experts set up the continuous integration process so the tests could be executed in a shared repository.

4. QA and AQA engineers design new tests to meet the needs of the project, including functional tests, performance tests, end-to-end tests and so on.

5. The team can reuse any tests from the repository when necessary, for example at the end of every release cycle to ensure the overall health of the solution.

The Role of Test Automation Frameworks

The value of test automation frameworks for DevOps-led projects can hardly be overestimated. AQA frameworks converge the benefits of standardized tools, the flexibility of custom drivers and connectors, and the transparency of 24/7 reporting.

Frameworks speed up test design, enabling teams to create and then reuse entire blocks of test cases. A well-designed framework can be set up for testing any kind of solution, including web and mobile apps and APIs. Reusability frees up time for other important QA activities and reduces the cost of testing.

"Test automation is technically complex and the main pitfall for the majority of DevOps projects," Krebsbach adds. "A test automation engineer needs to have a good understanding of not only application functionality but the underlying technical landscape, test automation tools, and how scripts can be created in parallel with development. They also need to know how scripts can be executed with the help of CI/CD tools and collaborate well with both development and operations."

Last Thoughts

Unlike CI and CD, test automation services and test automation frameworks in particular get less attention in discussions about DevOps. However, test automation is absolutely crucial for teams that aim to deliver high-quality software at a punishing pace, reacting promptly to changing market conditions.

Irina Demianchuk is a Technology Copywriter at Oxagile
Share this

Industry News

May 25, 2022

JFrog introduced Project Pyrsia, an open-source software community initiative that utilizes blockchain technology to secure software packages (A.K.A Binaries) from vulnerabilities and malicious code.

May 25, 2022

Kasm Technologies, in partnership with Docker, has developed Kasm Workspaces as a Containerized Desktop Infrastructure platform for streaming remote workspaces directly to your web browser.

May 25, 2022

Cascadeo announced the integration of Amazon DevOps Guru with cascadeo.io, Cascadeo’s cloud monitoring and management platform that provides users with a single view of multi-cloud or hybrid infrastructure environments.

May 24, 2022

Oracle announced the availability of Java 18, the latest version of the programming language and development platform.

May 24, 2022

Docker announced the acquisition of Tilt, makers of a development environment as code for teams on Kubernetes.

May 24, 2022

F5 announced the release of F5 NGINX for Microsoft Azure, an Azure-native service offering developed in partnership with Microsoft, that helps customers deliver modern applications on Azure with just a few clicks.

May 24, 2022

Pegasystems announced a strategic partnership with Google Cloud that will help enable joint clients to accelerate their digital transformations with Pega’s low-code enterprise software on Google Cloud’s highly scalable cloud services.

May 23, 2022

Sauce Labs announced the release of contract testing with mocking on the Sauce Labs API Testing Platform.

May 23, 2022

Pure Storage announced a series of updates to its Portworx portfolio.

May 23, 2022

StackHawk has secured $20.7 million in capital.

May 19, 2022

Jellyfish announced the launch of Jellyfish Benchmarks, a way to add context around engineering metrics and performance by introducing a method for comparison.

May 19, 2022

Solo.io announced the addition and integration of Cilium networking into its Gloo Mesh platform, providing a complete application-networking solution for companies’ cloud-native digital transformation efforts.

May 19, 2022

Aqua Security announced multiple updates to Aqua Trivy, making it a unified scanner for cloud native security.

May 18, 2022

Red Hat unveiled updates across its portfolio of developer tools designed to help organizations build and deliver applications faster and more consistently across Kubernetes-based hybrid and multicloud environments.

May 18, 2022

Armory announced public early access to their new Continuous Deployment-as-a-Service product.