Modify your test automation approach for the Microservices environment

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Microservices have gained a lot of traction across modern industries, and it is poised to get stronger in the upcoming years. The most popular companies such as Amazon, Google. Netflix, Uber, Spotify are leveraging microservices to achieve better agility and efficiency.

Well, microservice is not a new concept. It has been used by companies for more than a decade now.  When you search for something on Google, it calls multiple microservices at the same time to retrieve the results.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of architecture and microservices test automation, let’s discuss the success stories of companies using microservices.

Microservices success stories

Netflix – It is one of the best examples of using a microservices architecture. The company has moved from a monolithic architecture to microservices to manage the increasing demand of users. Moving to the microservices approach enabled developers to deploy multiple code sections every day to deliver the best internet television experiences. Today, Netflix is enjoying a whopping 214 million subscribers with over 10 billion hours of movies and TV shows.

Amazon – The company has adopted microservices to switch to a microservices architecture to reduce the losses caused by server downtime. The developers have focused on simplifying the processes and scaling up and down depending on the traffic. The microservices architecture enables developers to deploy the code more often. Now, Amazon deploys a new code every 11.7 seconds to update new deals, discounts and enhance user experience.

Uber – The startup company was using monolithic architecture at the beginning as it was an easy option for the founders. But with the fast growth, Uber has moved to a microservices architecture to use different programming frameworks and languages. Currently, Uber uses over 1,300 microservices that focus on improving the reliability and scalability of the application.

So, what is a Microservice?

Microservices are an architectural approach to software development where the small independent services are developed with individual interfaces and operations. Every microservice is built individually and deployed separately to run their process while communicating with the help of lightweight APIs (Application Programming Interface). The microservices architecture depends on the small services that are deployable through smaller devices to achieve the business objectives like analyzing reports, making online payments, routing network traffic.

Every microservice involves less than 100 lines of code as it conducts a single task within a broad set of processes. And all these codes are combined after the microservices test automation process to ensure a fully efficient application or system.

Monolithic vs. Microservices architecture

In the earlier architectures, all processes are tightly coupled, and everything is run as an integrated service. It means that if any of the applications experience higher demand, the entire architecture needs to be scaled. For the same reason, it was difficult to add or improve the features of a monolithic application. This complexity limits experimentation and makes it difficult to try new ideas. Moreover, the monolithic architecture adds risk to the availability of application as it increases the impact of single process failure.

On the other hand, microservices architecture is built on the independent components that run every application as a service. All the services communicate with the help of lightweight APIs or well-defined interfaces. The microservices are built for specific business capabilities and perform pre-decided functions. Since every service runs independently, each service can be deployed, updated, and scaled to meet the dynamic demands of an application.

What is Microservices testing?

Now when you are aware of the benefits of microservices over monolithic architecture, it is time to determine the right testing approach for microservices. As each service is built around a specific function, it can be written in multiple programming languages and utilize different technologies for data storage. So, the testing of microservices needs to be fully automated to ensure end-to-end testing of the services. Here is how distributed teams can leverage microservices architecture.

Why automated testing for Microservices?

There are varied benefits of microservices, and an automated testing approach can take these benefits to a much higher level. It is crucial to test the microservices to be confident about the assumptions for every service. Automated testing of microservices is also important to ensure the proper functionality of the internal dependencies of the application. Here are some benefits of choosing microservices test automation-

  • Monitor the ongoing application performance
  • Test every service individually
  • Tests are represented as documentation for the API exposed by the application
  • Assess the impact of changes in application
  • Applies pressure on developers to structure the API in an easier manner
  • Easier to test specific pieces of the application
  • Better isolation between the design and services

Microservices test automation strategy

It is always important to be aware of the testing strategy of microservices. Having good test coverage ensures great confidence in your code and results in a better pipeline of continuous delivery. As microservices is a modern approach, it requires a new and automated approach to testing. Here are the five automation test layers performed over microservices:

Unit testing

Unit tests are mostly automated, and their scope of testing is internal to the service. In context to test volume, unit tests have the maximum capacity. It helps in validating the codes of different components of the application to ensure their compliance with the business logic. This is the stage where the largest number of unit tests are performed and for the same reason, unit testing is very important for the testing of microservices. For effective testing of microservices, it is vital to limit to the small testing units. The large unit tests can lead to a complex testing process as it maximizes the consumption of resources.

Contract testing

Contract testing treats every service as a black box and every service is called independently to verify their respective responses. The service dependencies are also checked to understand the service interaction level. It helps in avoiding any complicated behavior that may be caused by the external calls and leads to underperformance of any service. The purpose of contract testing is to ensure that every user receives the same results from the service over time, even if the service changes. It also ensures that the service functionality does not break by adding more features and functionalities. The application should stay robust over time. The interactions between two services are stored as a contract and ensure that both parties comply with the business logic.

Integration testing

This test verifies the services that are individually tested. The verification process relies on the functioning of inter-service communications within the microservice architecture. The service calls are made with integration to external services, including success and error cases. Integration testing validates the seamless working of the system and the dependencies between the services. In context to microservice test automation, integration testing is performed to verify the communication between the subsystems that interact with external components such as data stores and related services. As microservices are executed together, tests should examine the requests flowing through the services to ensure multiple communication channels function as required.

End-to-end testing

End-to-end testing verifies the overall process flows appropriately, including database and service integration. It conducts thorough testing of operations that impacts different services to ensure that the system functions correctly and satisfies all the requirements. The end-to-end testing of microservices helps in validating the ability of the system to meet business goals irrespective of the component architecture. This type of testing is used to verify the message moving between the services by prioritizing the customer journey, creating a few end-to-end tests, and ensuring that test data is independent.

Microservices automation testing using selenium

A microservices architecture is characterized by small, focused, and independent services that create a complete application. Now when every module works in isolation, it is important to test each module thoroughly. The modern automation testing tools provide a greater ability to access varied areas of application like user interface components, APIs, etc. Leveraging open-source automation testing suites like Selenium can help in bolstering the ability to focus on specific areas. Let’s explore some ways to test microservices using Selenium.

InfluxDB – It is an open-source tool used to monitor a wide range of security, performance, and log usecases. It provides better visibility across the application to ease the job of development teams. This microservices testing tool is commonly used to load testing to identify the bottlenecks as it performs the most complex queries perfectly.

Jaeger – It is an open-source tool to monitor microservices architecture. It troubleshoots and checks the systems that have microservices as a central part. It performs the root-cause analysis by monitoring the key service dependencies. It can be used to identify the scope of performance optimization.

Best practices for microservices test automation

Isolation testing

Testing microservices is a tricky process because there are a lot of independent services communicating with other services through multiple communication channels. It is always recommended to start the test automation efforts by testing the functionality of a specific microservice in isolation. It can be done by using the REST API to interact with your service.

80/20 testing rule

Since microservice is an independent entity and can be used in multiple ways, the “application” concept becomes an illusion in this testing environment. Therefore, an end-to-end test automation strategy cannot be considered an effective approach. It is recommended to use the 80/20 rule to identify the core journey instead of thinking of all the end-to-end possibilities.

Make a contract

It is almost impossible to know how and when the consumers will use the services. With a contract model, it is the responsibility of the consumers to provide a test suite that specifies the type of interactions required and their format. The service agrees to this contract and ensures that it is not broken. It helps in getting rid of the dependencies on other services. This approach helps in verifying that the contract is fulfilled properly.

Shift-right into production

In the world of microservice test automation, testing in production is an essential step of the overall quality assurance plan. The microservices architecture keeps on shifting the relationships, leading to a lot of uncertainty in the consumption of services. So, it is recommended to start testing in the production phase.

Monitoring and alerts

It is crucial to react quickly to situations in the microservices architecture. Having a key monitoring and alert system in place and tracing the concerns in production is critical. By identifying the issues in the production phase, it gets easier to roll back to the earlier better version of the service before the users even know there is an issue.

Final thoughts

Microservices are critical in achieving the business goals of the modern world – whether that’s a better application, faster development, enhanced agility, or lower costs. While it takes a good amount of effort, time, and resources to convert conventional architecture to microservices architecture, it pays off.

Today, building complex applications, adding new features regularly, matching to the increasing user demand, and introducing dynamic functionalities is very common. This means testing the application every time a new service is added or a new connection between microservices is made.

So, the better idea is to adopt microservice test automation. It helps you to examine the individual services as well as the entire application to keep the interconnected set of microservices working effectively.

How can QAonCloud help you?

QAonCloud offers excellent automation testing services for large enterprises and startups while keeping their business goals intact. We help you to modernize your application with the migration of monolithic applications to new microservices architecture.

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