Service Virtualization In Software Testing

The complexity of the current QA software testing market impels businesses to strive for quality software quickly and economically. DevOps and Agile workflows have made the software testing ride much smoother than the traditional practices by introducing automation and enabling superior communication, collaboration, and transparency. However, waiting on the dependent components can stymie even the best of approaches, and this is where Service Virtualization (SV) can help speed up things.

What Is Service Virtualization

In the absence of key components in your system architecture, SV involves using virtual services to enable frequent and comprehensive testing by emulating the behavior of essential components. This means testing teams get a comprehensive first-hand testing platform equipped with all the components of a real production environment, enabling testers to test component-driven applications such as independent APIs, SaaS-based apps and SOAs (Service-oriented architectures).

Service Virtualization In Relation To Stubbing and Mocking

Modern applications are complex and rely on numerous dependent services. Adding to the complexity of software functionality, the rise of Agile software development has made it increasingly difficult for testers to manually develop the number, scope, and complexity of stubs or mocks required to complete testing tasks for modern enterprise application development scenarios.

Service Virtualization should not be mixed-up with unit testing with stubbing and mocking– which are mere workarounds, unlike properly architected SV technology. With stubs and mocks, the test suite simply ignores the unavailable components, often leaving the vital components out of the testing sphere until a final end-to-end testing is conducted prior to the release. The major advantage with SV is that testing teams have the ability to virtually test application behavior incrementally before the full availability of all components. This largely eliminates some of the major disadvantages of stubs and mocks, making SV a valuable asset for the testing companies.

Advantages of Service Virtualization in Software Testing

Let us highlight some of the key benefits Service Virtualization offers:

Speedy Delivery: In the current Continuous Development (CD) scenario, testing needs to occur alongside development, and this is especially desirable in the production of heterogeneous systems involving multiple layers of interdependent components, APIs, and third party apps. It is no longer feasible to wait for QA teams to give a green signal for each and every component to be market ready; rather the behavior of the connected components can be understood in a demo environment using SV. This leads to reduced timeframes and shorter release cycles. This is further validated by the voke Research 2015 where 34% participants experienced a 50% or greater reduction in test cycle times, while 40% participants saw their software release cycles decrease by 40% or more using SV.

Access to Otherwise Unavailable Resources: A complete end-to-end test can be conducted even when the dependent system components (third party apps, APIs and so on) of the app under test cannot be properly accessed or configured for testing. SV helps to simulate these dependencies. Moreover, almost all kind of scenarios can be tested using SV, including varying levels of functionality, performance and maintenance levels.

Reduced Costs: Operational costs can be reduced significantly through a planned and systematic approach reducing test environment configuration time, easy test environment access and setup, and elimination of interface dependencies. Moreover, since each component can be tested individually without waiting for the complete assembly, unit and regression testing can take place sooner, is more complete, and bugs and performance issues can be identified long before integration or user acceptance testing, making resolution possible early in the SDLC, thus saving huge remediation costs. Infrastructure and resource costs are also significantly saved. This can further be justified in the light of HPE Service Virtualization Case Study that depicts cost savings of £1.94 million through SV.

Reduced Business Risks and Increased ROI: With the ability to test early and often, defects get exposed when they are easiest and least costly to fix. Early detection of bugs implies reduced risk of defects slipping into the final product and faster delivery, ensuring that businesses stay on top of their competition in a cost effective way. This reduces the business risk of product failure and offers a superior ROI through speedy product delivery. HPE Service Virtualization Case Study depicts an outstanding value for money using SV,  yielding an ROI of 88.6%.

Better Quality: The actual product deployment scenarios can be mimicked with SV making it easier for QA teams to identify issues and failures before the product goes LIVE for users. Development errors are caught well in time through the shift-left approach with enhanced scalability, ascertaining a robust end product. As per the voke Survey 2015, 36% participants reported a reduction in production defects by more than 41% by adopting SV, while 46% participants experienced more than 41% reduction in total defects, thus resulting in a superior quality product.

Service Virtualization, hence, reduces the time, effort and cost of delivering secure, reliable and compliant software by eliminating numerous software testing constraints. It is, therefore, a smart investment for quality assurance software companies, culminating in measurable, tangible benefits. Happy testing!!

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