Testing Is the ‘Rodney Dangerfield’ of DevOps

Testing is a crucial element of the development lifecycle. You can’t eliminate testing, but you also don’t want testing to be a bottleneck. Testing should be automated in a DevOps environment to streamline it as much as possible and ensure it is an efficient part of the DevOps system rather than a roadblock.

One of the key mantras of DevOps is “continuous.” Effective DevOps relies on automating routine tasks. Any step in the process that requires human intervention or manual input becomes a roadblock that can slow or halt productivity. To the extent that it’s possible, anything and everything should be automated—and that includes testing.

Test is like the Rodney Dangerfield of DevOps—it gets no respect. It should, though. Test—and test automation—is a crucial element of a successful DevOps program. A recent Gartner survey found that 50 percent of respondents listed test automation as one of the top enablers of DevOps success.

Joan Wrabetz, CTO of Quali, is focused on automating test capabilities and ensuring that testing gets the respect it deserves in DevOps. DevOps isn’t really a process with a beginning and end. It’s a continuum—a self-perpetuating cycle. When test teams take the lead, they need to find ways to push automation back into development and forward into staging and production. “In fact, the problem of test automation is particularly difficult, and this means that the team that implements test automation is in a great position to lead DevOps initiatives beyond test,” Wrabetz says.

That self-perpetuating cycle “starts” with planning and development and “ends” with deployment into operations, but that flows right into monitoring and management, which leads to discovering issues and identifying new feature requests—and that takes you right back to planning and development. If done properly, test falls somewhere in the middle of that cycle, so it’s imperative to streamline and automate that functionality as well.

“Sometimes test drives DevOps. Test organizations have been focused on automation already for 10 years, so often they are the driver for DevOps,” explains Wrabetz. “When test is the focus of DevOps, it is called continuous integration. However, it is also important to work to continuously expand automation outside of test.”

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