Manage Your Test Environment Better Using Service Virtualization

Challenges in Test Environment Management


Software solutions and applications cannot be developed in silos without considering the possible consumer / user environment. In the current consumer scenario, it is inevitable to consider all types of scenarios that might arise and pose a challenge for the software/application to execute and operate effectively. It is imperative to break down the silos to build a cohesive and an all-inclusive environment for development. By offering an emulated environment, Service Virtualization (SV) makes this possible for the overall development process.

Service Virtualization is an inventive approach offering developers and testers the space to test their applications in a constantly evolving environment. By adopting this approach, the entire application/database is not virtualized, it is only the behaviour that is required for the testers for used cases is created.

While originally, ‘Service Virtualization’ was conceptualised to direct the focus on emulating web services, the new approach towards SV significantly brings down the configuration time, data management efforts, and hardware overhead required for building up and managing a workable development and testing environment.

Testing Environment Management (TEM) with a boost of Service Virtualization is specifically apt for developing and effectively implementing enterprise class solutions and applications. As the testers on the project keep varying and at the same time the testing environment keeps on evolving constantly, there is a need to set up and manage a Testing Environment.

Moreover, dedicated Test Environment Management enables organizations to cut down on costs, achieve faster time-to-market, and meet desired quality standards.

Challenges in Test Environment Management

TEM offers developers a steady test environment for testing software/applications in a LIVE production environment and replicate bugs. These Test Environments need to be managed and kept up to speed with the sheer purpose to get the desired outcome and meet the testing requirements.

It is estimated and validated by experts; a major issue that teams face with their testing environments is its management, which consumes approximately 40% of software development efforts.

Following is a list of a few key challenges faced in the management of a test environment:

  • Regulation of test environments for serving ongoing and future projects
  • Implementing accurate capacity and forecasting demands
  • Creating a testing environment with heterogeneous assets
  • Effective resource allocation process and standards
  • Responsive, adequate support for any probable issues in the test environment
  • Consistently taking up onus for any activity in the test environment

It is observed that when the software development scenario starts getting complex, enterprises are pushed to choose between time and quality. However, Test Environment Management can be maintained even in this scenario, where some simple steps / practices can be adopted to keep up the quality and stability of the test environment.

Best practices by experts recommend that the initial step to build a sustainable TEM is to assign the ownership to an individual, team, or function. If the ownership is shared, it leads to chaos and mismanagement. Most importantly, it provides a single point of contact for people across the organization.

Benefits of Test Environment Management in Software production

Every investment is expected to produce an optimal ROI. Enterprises invest substantially in the development and sustenance of an effective and responsive test environment. So, it is essential to understand the best practises to seek the desired outcomes, namely, enhanced software quality, faster turnaround time, and quicker time-to-market.

Encapsulating and comprehending it further:

  • Rational selection and optimization of test assets brings down the testing cost
  • Standardized procedures for allocation and provision of test capabilities, test automation reduces testing time
  • A resourceful TEM team can optimize test requirements and test cases
  • A dedicated TEM team can develop test strategies and tools to enhance test coverage and quality
  • TEM facilitates the project test teams with acquisition, analysis, processing, and deployment of production-level data essential for conducting tests during the initial stages of development.

Environment Virtualization

Speaking of Environment Virtualization, Service Virtualization enables organizations at the infrastructure level, where any of the VMWARE compatible images can be made available on the cloud. Cloud services can be leveraged by enhancing scalability as per the requirement.

Unlike physical test environment labs, TEM in Cloud deconstructs the complexity of Test Environment configuration and capacity. It leverages the cloud by offering the clients on demand access to the test environments. This is offered without any resource constraints and also brings down the overall expenditure.

Service Virtualization offers an emulated environment with essential components that would be present in the final production environment, which allows complex applications to go through integration testing way ahead in the development process.  Moreover, it helps identify and cut down key bottlenecks that could delay production, turnaround time, and time-to-market for an Application Under Test (AUT).

What do we gather?

Specifically, when it comes to developing enterprise applications, the developer has to rely on various system component to work cohesively. This is exactly the space where Service Virtualization fits in the overall Testing ecosystem, wherein scenarios and components are simulated to offer a volatile testing environment.

Furthermore, TEM enables development and QA teams to readily access the specific environment and accelerate the development process. It further identifies test environment issues and helps evaluate its impact on the application at hand.

Is your enterprise is considering to implement a dynamic Test framework and well conceptualised Service Virtualization strategy? Collaborate with Gallop experts and implement effective SV practices to acquire higher ROI with faster time-to-market.

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Service Virtualization – Need for Specialist QA Vendors

Service Virtualization – Need for Specialist QA Vendors

The Need for Service Virtualization

Agile and DevOps software methodologies are preferred by today’s enterprises as they need agility for their product development with shorter release cycles. There are multiple interdependent components in the process of the software development. Components like testing code and system integration can prove impossible if the test environment lacks some crucial dependencies which are a must for the processes to continue. This is where the process of Service Virtualization (SV) comes in place as it facilitates easy access to required components that actually impede the process of development and testing. SV provides an emulated test environment wherein rapid access to all dependent factors is made available. It emulates the software components that actually block the smooth functioning of the developers and quality analyst teams. Moreover, by emulating the behavior of essential components, SV allows complex applications to undergo integration testing much earlier in the software development life cycle for quality product release.

SV helps shift left the Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC) wherein development and testing are done in parallel and issues are identified at a very early stage. It further helps to fix the issues early with close coordination between developer and tester teams. By using SV, you can lower the additional costs on lab infrastructure and on other software, as also reduce the configuration effort. SV as a whole helps deploy higher quality software within shorter time frames.

Service Virtualization – Need for Specialist Testing Service Providers (QA Vendors)

A Gartner research report states that the market for testing and service virtualization is around US$200 million and is growing at a CAGR of 12%. Also, per Gartner estimates, the overall software testing tools market was around $1.5 billion, with a 5% growth rate in 2014. It is evident from the above data that the SV segment would have a significant impact in the future as the need will be felt more and more by the enterprises. The significance of SV is more effective with respect to development of cloud, API and SOA-based application systems. Due to the emulated environment created, SV enables product testers as well as QA teams to test an actual application in a simulated environment that is an actual replica of the deployment environment.

Specialist testing service providers with professional QA teams are thus the need of the hour. These specialists perform in-depth testing of each component that can be tested individually and in context of real environments. Individual classes are tested by simulating the objects by the QA teams. Further, QA teams can offer API tests that verify and validate the technically correct functionality and behavior of interfaces through automated request generations. All these practices help to identify issues earlier in the life cycle rather than being identified at the time of integration, which might be a costly process to fix them at a later stage. It also allows shifting left your testing, such that issues are identified at the early stages of the software development life cycle. Stubs can also be used as replicas to draw real time replications. Thus, it is important that Service virtualization becomes a part of your core compatibility.

Selecting the right QA vendor that’s most suitable for your enterprise culture, therefore, is very important for your future and long term success. This also helps to obtain good returns on investment. Today’s market offers both open source and commercial tools that offer SV and API testing solutions that are provided by specialist QA vendors who have a good understanding of all SV principles.

Finally, select a QA vendor who works with your existing development and testing frameworks and provide software testing tools of your choice. They can be deployed throughout the entire production cycle, consistently delivering the same behavior and functionality for anyone who wants to use them at any time. A complete and well defined Service Virtualization strategy helps bring about quicker ROI. By using effective SV practices, helps enterprises with faster time to market and improves application quality.

Service Virtualization – Need for Specialist QA Vendors


The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.