With automated testing, DevOps teams can realize significant benefits without having to worry about compromising the quality of the program.
Across software projects, DevOps is becoming a major asset for turning out products that not only have limited bugs, but will also be effective for user needs. However, as employees demand more capabilities and tools, it’s becoming more challenging to deliver successful software in a timely manner using legacy development approaches. For this reason, automated testing should be integrated with DevOps processes. While this will not be easy to accomplish, DevOps teams will be able to realize significant benefits without having to worry about compromising the quality of the program.
While there’s no one particular time organizations should turn to automated testing, one sign that things need to change is if the DevOps team is using legacy or manual approaches. Although these methods may have worked in the past, they are no longer viable for the fast-paced, changing development landscape that programmers and end users work with on a daily basis today.
In a post on the Brian Madden blog, contributor Matthias Wessner noted that manual processes cannot be replicated 100 percent identically, meaning that there is room for redundancies and issues to arise if users make a mistake. If the DevOps team is using outdated tools and operations to run test cases and generate reports, this is as good a time as any to automate for the full benefits of precision accuracy.
“Automation workflows are generally not open for interpretation; they either work or they don’t,” Wessner wrote. “Computers are, unlike people, extremely good at performing the same task over and over again or executing a huge list of instructions without skipping any or executing them ‘in their own way.'”
When using automated testing for DevOps, there are a few significant advantages that organizations can expect to see — and all will help improve the software development process as well as overall operations. One of the major benefits is that DevOps teams can better focus on other areas that need to be addressed rather than being consumed with functions that can easily be handed over to programs. ScriptRock contributor Mike Baukes pointed out that automated tests will also provide a checks-and-balances approach that employees may be lax to implement on their own.
During test runs, automated testing tools can generate potential fixes to issues and quickly verify that the program will function optimally once the changes are implemented. This mitigates the manual procedure of going through lines of code to find issues while also eliminating the need to put in adjustments without knowing if they will even work.
“Being able to automatically test that changes work properly before they’re introduced gives developers more confidence once it’s time to deploy, and it gives sysadmins more peace of mind that there’s a lower probability that they’ll find something seriously wrong with a deployment,” ScriptRock stated. “Manually testing as a developer programs is a huge hassle that heavily increases the time it takes for delivery.”
One of the best practices that DevOps teams can follow is to integrate automation as a fundamental asset in operations. Creating a culture around automation will help users become more accustomed to these processes and improve overall efficiency and product quality. Mobify system engineer Kyle Young noted that there are easy ways to integrate automated testing, including considering what users have to do more than twice. This thinking will reveal some areas that would be best to automate.
Young wrote that “the fundamental spirit [of DevOps] is one of flexibility, agility and automation.” While there may be challenges to overcome to achieve this, integrating automated testing with DevOps can reduce these difficulties, bring significant value to software development processes and improve program quality overall.
Interested in checking out more information on DevOps-based processes and best practices? Browse all of our content relating to the DevOps approach and other ALM topics by visiting the Application Development Resource Center.
[Photo courtesy of flickr user Olga Díez.]