Software Testing 101
 

DevOps

Those familiar with software development and testing trends are no strangers to DevOps. In 2018, we celebrated 10 years of DevOps and the adoption is on the rise. DevOps(portmanteau of Development and Operations) is an IT practice that combines software development with IT operations.

It originated from applying Agile and Lean approaches to operations work. But it can mean a lot of different things to various people because of the way it has evolved over the years. For some, it is simply developer and operations collaboration or treating your code as infrastructure, or using automation, using Kanban etc. and similar loose terms.

Put simply, it extends the Agile principles beyond development and ‘code’ to delivery.

As Agile promotes close collaboration among customers, product management development teams, QA, to fill gaps and quickly iterate toward a better release. DevOps goes a step further and includes service delivery and product teams to represent the client side of priorities.

DevOps was born out of the need to keep pace with the agile velocity of software development and a more whole approach to the software delivery cycle. It promotes collaboration and communication between conventionally separate workflows of development and operations teams. DevOps also replaces the siloed teams with cross functional teams that are able to implement Agile methods. These Agile methods include continuous integration, continuous delivery and infrastructure automation.

Challenges Solved by DevOps

Before DevOps, application development was highly sequential, siloed approach. Teams gathered business requirements for a software program and writing code, and separate QA teams tested the program in an isolated dev environment. The code was released if the requirements were met, or was sent back if it was buggy.

There are several issues with this approach:

  • Dev and QA work in isolation, unaware of the challenges that prevent from achieving a common goal.
  • QA and Ops who work on features have little or no context of the business purpose or value proposition of the software.
  • Each group seems at loggerheads with the others, that leads to inefficiency and often blame-games.

DevOps resolves this with collaborative, cross-functional teams that have a shared objective and responsibility.

The goal of DevOps is to:

  • Optimize the flow of value from idea to end user
  • Enable faster release and deployment
  • Achieve shorter time to market
  • Lower the failure rate for releases
  • Decrease the lead time between fixes
  • Enhance mean time to recovery
  • Eliminate technical debt and unplanned work

Challenges in implementing DevOps

Implementing DevOps is not like pressing a switch. The transformation takes a while and there are no shortcuts. The good news is that you can start rolling out a DevOps practice by making small and incremental changes.

What are some of the common implementation bottlenecks? And how can teams address these challenges to ensure faster turnarounds with better quality?

  • Shorter release sprints demand more speedTo ship better quality code faster, is a criteria for success and an Agile parameter. With release cycles become shorter and multiple versions and updates released in a narrow time-frame, developers must assure timely release and consistent performance. The proliferation of several new platforms and tech like IoT and wearable devices to this mix, has made it more challenging.The solution to this is adopting best practices like test-driven development and behavior driven development. These can enhance automated testing. They drive the test automation code before the code itself. Acceptance test-driven development is also fast gaining popularity for its collaborative approach.
  • Lack of ModularityScalability and control are two main concerns for agile QA teams. Modular tests are highly reusable and editable, streamlining test suite management. A modular system lets you reuse tests in multiple flows but manages them centrally.By moving test scripts to a central, enterprise version control tool you can create a single source of truth. Grouping the automation suite in multiple, modular test layers helps deliver faster feedback at every checkpoint.
  • Traditional testing paradigmThousands of interdependent test cases are implemented through application user interfaces for several days resulting in longer test cycles and manual processes, extending the feedback loop.Continuous testing demands parallel execution of automated tests through modern tools and methods to minimize feedback time. Modern, agile testing methods and tools ensure that the most critical of automated tests are carried out to ensure that key system features are functional.

Organizations using traditional ops can shorten this journey towards continuous testing by reusing and aligning their existing automation capabilities.

In DevOps and agile methodologies, modern and traditional IT organizations have an opportunity to accelerate their digital initiatives and provide more business value. Implementing Continuous Testing can truly bridge the chasm between development and operations.

DEVOPS IT: TOOLCHAIN AND ARCHITECTURE

While DevOps-as-a-Service and DevOps products are marketing concepts designed to communicate with a specific audience, there are particular software tools designed to empower DevOps practices and processes. We sometimes refer to the technology stack of software tools you use in DevOps environments as a toolchain. Adopting a DevOps model of software development relies on effective tooling, i.e., selecting the right technology to manage complex systems and scale workflows in fast-paced, high-pressure environments. The DevOps toolchain is a categorization method to distinguish different tools you use at different stages of software development, testing, and IT operations business processes. These categories include the following:

  • Develop code
  • Build with continuous integration
  • Test automation
  • Package application pre-deployment
  • Manage releases
  • Configure infrastructure
  • Monitor performance

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