How DevOps Uses Test Automation Tools to Accelerate Software Development
The goal of DevOps is to build faster, effective, and responsive applications by bringing together the development team and the operations team. It is a cultural shift to remove all barriers between Dev and Ops and provide shorter as well as frequent software deliveries, thus enabling organizations to respond in a much agile manner with respect to the constantly changing customer demands and expectations.
In a nutshell, DevOps via effective collaboration, communication, streamlined delivery, and automation of processes will accelerate software development in the following key ways:
- Faster time to market
- Reduces risks of failures in each release
- Enhances error fixing and recovery time
- Improves the checking process efficiency
- Speeds up the rate of change
- Allows managers to make improved and effective trade-off decisions
- Enables rapid and continuous feedback
- Offers flawless continuity throughout the Software Development Lifecycle
Testing in DevOps starts from the very beginning of application development and hence it is important to make sure that the development team and the operations team work closely with each other to ensure continuous integration and prompt delivery by continuous testing and monitoring.
Related Reading: Test Automation Trends to Accelerate Development Cycles in 2020
Automation Testing in a DevOps Environment
DevOps is categorized into the following 4 processes:
- Continuous Integration
- Continuous Delivery
- Continuous Testing
- Continuous Monitoring
The testing teams require to align their test design, automation, as well as test case development along with DevOps to ensure that the frequent changes made have not affected the final product.
Unlike the traditional approach, automation testing in a DevOps environment requires moving test automation scripts to a control tool which is of an enterprise version. This system of centralized enterprise-level testing results in an integrated test suite that offers centralized execution and reporting.
Let us walk through the different ways in which DevOps makes use of test automation tools:
How DevOps Uses Test Automation to Speed Up Software Development and Delivery
DevOps testing lays its core focus on test automation within the application’s development pipeline to ensure that by the time the application is deployable, it is done without any further confusion. Some of the popular test automation tools of DevOps are Selenium and Water.
Here is a quick rundown on the popular DevOps tools:
1. New Relic– New Relic offers an end to end visibility along with improved customer experience and dynamic infrastructure. It also helps the DevOps team to save their time spent in monitoring applications.
2. Jenkins – Jenkins is a DevOps automation tool used for checking the execution of redundant tasks. Jenkins is an open-source CI/CD (Continuous Integration/ Continuous Delivery) server that allows users to automate various phases involved in the application delivery pipeline.
3. Splunk – This automation tool is used to access machine data. It offers operational effectiveness to both the development as well as the operations teams in DevOps. It offers enterprises the ability to be more productive, competitive, secure, and reliable.
4. Selenium – Being the most popular automation testing tool for DevOps, Selenium is designed to meet the specific needs of a wide range of different browsers. It makes use of lesser resources and supports parallel test execution which reduces the overall time required for the testing process. The test cases prepared can be run on any operating system as well.
Cucumber, Jasmine, JUnit, and JMeter are other popular test automation tools used by DevOps to accelerate application development and deployment.
Related Reading: How To Measure The Effectiveness Of Your DevOps Program
Future of Test Automation in DevOps: Enhancing Application Development
With the evolution of continuous testing, DevOps has enhanced its test automation strategies where it is supported by practices such as a test-case design that is risk-based, stateful test data management, service virtualization, as well as seamless integration into the DevOps set of test automation tools.
To get the best out of test automation and to learn how to incorporate test automation tools using DevOps to accelerate your application development and deployment, talk to our experts today.
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In the wake of the age of mobility, and increasing demands for high-quality web and mobile applications, DevOps is fast becoming the most reliable and preferred strategy for most organizations. It’s cross-functional collaboration and speed are making it more like a go-to strategy, as it enables quick delivery of software solutions, which is precisely what is needed in the current business scenario. Moreover, as businesses are in the process of digital transformation around the world, an agile environment is only a necessity, as a lot of business aspects linked to the transformation process like growth, customer loyalty, and satisfaction, competition differentiation etc., need to be taken care of well. DevOps helps in creating such a responsive IT environment, enabling organizations in rapid development and deployment of high-end software solutions.
But how far is DevOps successful? How can an organization judge for itself whether it’s DevOps initiative was, or will be successful? Sure, a lot of organizations are following it, but given the transformational scenario that most organizations are in, it could be difficult to measure its success, because DevOps by itself is not exactly a formal framework and it doesn’t provide a lot of guidance. Organizations simply have to learn into it.
There are some metrics or elements that accurately help in measuring the success of DevOps. Most organizations make the mistake of measuring a number of elements, which often may not be necessary and retreat to ones that can be easily collected. But, the issue is that some of these metrics that matter for DevOps may not be as familiar to organizations. For example, the speed of deployment, rate of change and the like are metrics that are only applicable to DevOps, which in turn is a comparatively new concept for organizations.
So what are the metrics that should be considered for DevOps?
The elements that matter
Importantly, we need to consider people-centric metrics, and process and technology centric metrics as well for DevOps. Out of these, people-centric metrics are probably the most difficult to collect, but often prove to be the most useful. They can actually be one of the most powerful influencers on a DevOps program. Hence, internal metrics like staff training and retention rates should be strongly considered.
When it comes to
When it comes to process metrics, we need elements that help to measure the effectiveness of interlinked processes throughout the delivery process. It helps to see if the collaboration is effective. It also helps to identify deficiencies within the processes that need more work.
Technology metrics are those such as uptime and capacity to support expected web traffic, which basically help in reviewing the technologies used in the DevOps process. It also includes insights derived from failures or errors like failed releases, code defects and the like.
Another important thing to note while determining metrics is to sustain a comprehensive or holistic approach. Sticking to just one or two aspects of measurement like operational or developmental metrics, may not provide the required results. As a matter of fact, there are chances of it having a negative impact on behavioral improvements in the organization.
To start off, here are a few dimensions which can be used to measure the effectiveness of DevOps:
- Collaboration and sharing – This literally forms the base of a DevOps program and is hence the most important measure. They help in judging the acceptance or resistance to the program, on an ongoing basis, which is a valuable indicator of the effectiveness of DevOps. As mentioned before, some of the metrics in this dimension might be easier to collect such as staff retention rates, training, and turnover, while others like employee morale might be more difficult. Another aspect to look into here, is how metrics in other dimensions are affecting elements in this dimension. For example, how far are MTTR (Mean Time To Repair) changes affecting employee morale, retention, absenteeism and the like. Automated surveys and other means to get employee feedback are other areas that may be considered for this dimension.
- Efficiency – This dimension mainly focuses on developmental and operational aspects. The capacities and capabilities. Moving from the traditional ratios like server to admin, businesses are now using customer-centric ratios like FTE (Hours worked by a Full-Time Employee) to customers. This value is expected to increase in the coming years, as more enterprises are now moving to automation and the cloud. Other metrics such as examining costs on an application basis and cost of release are good measures in improving data center efficiencies.
- Quality – This dimension focuses on elements related to service delivery. For example, metrics like percentage of applications rolled-back because of code defects. Now this metric could initially be high for organizations that have just begun on their DevOps initiative. This is probably due to extra time required for the purpose of making the new processes effective, and other related things. These metrics might give other useful insights when combined with other indicators. For example, the rate of rollbacks when combined with the change volume indicator, could provide more important insights.
These are some other metrics in this dimension:
Cycle time – time required to complete a stage or several stages within a project
MTTR – average time taken to restore a service or repair a defective part
- Business value – This dimension is focused on external things – like the impact of DevOps on meeting business goals. It includes elements like customer value or loyalty, time to market and the like. The lead time too provides businesses with an analogous metric that helps to know how well DevOps is meeting the need to deliver high-quality software services fast. This is specifically important as a long lead time may mean more defects in code and issues in testing.
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is another important metric, which is a simple method to measure customer loyalty. Even though this measure has been traditionally used for marketing purposes for a long time, customer loyalty is also affected by the fast and timely delivery of software services through high-quality web and mobile apps.
All these metrics contribute towards analyzing the effectiveness and success of DevOps. Keeping track of these, can help an organization in deciding whether to continue with the program or do the needful to make it further effective.
Image credits: Prashant Arora’s blog
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Enterprises these days, are always looking to adopt the best technologies and applications for their various business requirements. In fact, it is almost inevitable for organizations to use software to automate their processes and improve efficiency so as to gain competitive advantage. Along with it, organizations also need ways to have more sustainable development processes, and the good news is that they have already started to realize it with DevOps. According to a recent research by International Data Group (IDG), there are only 10% of organizations that do not have any DevOps plans in the near future.
Do you think DevOps is that necessary for your business?
To answer that question, it would be worthwhile to discuss a little history of DevOps, how it came into being, and how it is used by businesses these days.
What is DevOps
According to Wikipedia, DevOps is a culture in business enterprises that emphasizes the need for collaboration, communication and coordination between the software developers and other information technology professionals in the organization, while automating the various processes of software delivery and infrastructure changes. It basically aims at promoting an environment, where application development, testing, as well as release, can be more frequent, fast and reliable. In the traditional setup of organizations, there was a lack of integration of these functions with the IT department, which often led to unsatisfactory results. DevOps seeks to bring about a culture, where the processes and procedures in an organization promote communication and collaboration among the development team, the Quality Assurance (QA) team and the IT operations team.
Nowadays, as more and more applications are being built to meet different business requirements, and they are constantly updated to adapt to the changing needs, the processes become seemingly never ending. This is where DevOps would particularly be useful. It accelerates development, testing as well as deployment of applications with the help of tools and techniques that automate tasks for operations, while at the same time give the developers more control and command over the entire application life.
A brief history
It was in 2009 that the term DevOps became popularized through a series of devopsdays in Belgium. Since then, it has been widely used among web-based businesses, like Netflix and Etsy.7 Although, that is not the case now, when enterprises know and have seen the benefits of DevOps and are capitalizing on adoption.
How enterprises are utilizing DevOps now
According to the IDG research, almost 61% of organizations are embracing new strategies and techniques, like the agile development methodology and DevOps in the upcoming year, which is an increase from 48% this year. This only proves the level at which DevOps has grown in adoption and how much popular it is in increasing efficiency. Up to 77% of organizations say that their software development team and IT operations team collaborate frequently, and 56% of them also say that their IT operations team plays an increasing role in the management of outsourced development activities. This again goes on to prove that DevOps is definitely the way to go. With the increased role of the IT team and considering how important their association is with the development team, a combined culture will go a long way.
Considering that DevOps is a whole culture change and not just a kind of technology that can be adopted and used easily, enterprises do need their time to adapt themselves and get used to the new ways of interaction and working.
Michael Rembetsy, VP of Technical operations, Etsy says, “It takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of effort from people at the top and it takes effort from people at the bottom as well. It’s not just the CEO saying, ‘Next year we’re going to be DevOps’. That doesn’t work. It has to be a cultural change in the way people are interacting.”
According to the research, almost 60% of organizations still use a waterfall development approach, which is a linear progression through the development stages of a project. It often leads to misinterpretations and failures, as there may be change requests by the client after the entire process is complete.
41% of organizations use an agile development process, which involves smaller and more frequent builds, regular and continuous planning, testing and integration and a more welcoming attitude towards new requirements. It leads to a faster time to market as well. DevOps clearly serves the needs of this approach, as it involves frequent interactions as well. Simply put, it leads to more sustainable processes.
Another reason why DevOps is necessary is because of the rise in demand for innovative web and mobile applications. Since such applications are required to connect and interact with customers and partners regularly, and capture their preferences and needs at all times, there is no such thing as “one-and-done” with them. They are always changing to adapt to the different needs of customers. DevOps helps to shorten the time of productions of these apps. It adds automation and streamlines workflows so that the developers can build, test and deploy applications smoothly. The research report says that 49% of organizations are planning to increase their investment in custom mobile app development, out of which 57% of organizations are planning to mobilize customer relationship management apps, 51% are planning to go for enterprise relationship management apps and 50% of them for field force automation apps. This only means that DevOps is all the more necessary to keep up with the changing environment.
Benefits of DevOps methodology
According to the report, using DevOps can lead to:
- 41% more automated development processes, which can free up a lot of time for other important activities.
- 38% more positive interactions with the operations team
- 38% accelerated time to production
- 38% ability to improve the product for which a developer is responsible
Not using a DevOps approach can lead to problems like, lack of proper visibility into IT operations requirements in the development processes, increased development costs because of redundant jobs resulting from lack of timely communication and the like. Apart from all these, there will be much less collaboration between the development team, the operations team and the business.
DevOps is definitely becoming increasingly prevalent for all the above mentioned reasons. It is indeed better to shift to a more dynamic and interactive culture today, as the already fast paced business environment is rapidly changing to become even more so in future.