Keeping Up With The Pace Of Change
As networks become more software centric, the innovation in technology has accelerated to speeds unimaginable even 5 years ago. This has created a great challenge for the network equipment manufactures to keep up with the rapid development cycles needed to stay ahead of the competition. And it has created a challenge of constant churn in releases of products for their customers, the service providers and enterprise IT managers.
In a recent Gartner report, their analysts predicted "By 2025, 70% of I&O organizations will adopt a diverse approach to their organization structure to support their digital business initiatives, versus 10% in 2020."*
Part of that diverse structure must include continuous test automation to validate the digital transformation and adoption.
Agile development encourages an accelerated pace of change which then accelerates the pace of validation and deployment.
*Gartner, Adopt New I&O Organizational Structures to Drive Digital Transformation, Mark Margevicius, Duncan Prosser, 14 August 2020
Continuous Test Automation is the Key to DevOps
DevOps and Agile principles foster improved automation and data management practices. These methodologies in turn requires comprehensive continuous test (CT) which supports the DevOps overall objective of continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD).
The CT capability achieves optimal testing process by integrating lab optimization and test automation across development and quality assurance (QA) operations.
As well, it creates easily distributed institutional knowledge through sharing of reproducible environments. This delivers accelerated productivity through integrated dev-QA workflows. The end result is an optimization of the entire test lab environment and test processes.
Continuous Testing In The DEVOPS World
Gartner observes the number one trend impacting infrastructures and operations in 2020 is that automation architectures are becoming essential.
"To support digital business, I&O leaders must plan for unpredictable demand, deliver predictable quality and simply do more with less; thus, automation is quickly becoming a fundamental enabler for their teams."*
This means test labs designed to test the networks hosting the digital business must also be a part of that trend. Test teams must evolve to work smarter by deploying test automation and leverage their scripting efforts into all the phases of the CD/CI/CT/CD processes.
*Gartner, Top 10 Trends Impacting Infrastructure and Operations for 2020, Ross Winser, David Cappuccio, 14 April 2020
DEVOPS Depends on Lab Ops
The pace of change is forcing testing teams to evolve, embrace automation through scripting to achieve the operational and business goals of the organization. However, automating the tests isn’t enough if the setup and tear down of the test bed is still performed manually.
Standing test beds that never change and are designed for specific test scenarios reduces the utilization of the equipment in the labs. When testing of other scenarios is required, the static test bed is of little use. That means separate test beds must be acquired for each unique test scenario.
Dynamic test beds that are manually configured require time to setup for each test run, and are prone to human error during the setup process. And the time it takes to set up the test bed is idle time for the equipment that could have been used to run tests.
The solution is to automate the lab operations along with the automation of the test cases. By using a lab operations and management solution, utilization of the test equipment is increased, the overall test cycle is decreased, and delays due to human error and wear & tear on the equipment is eliminated.
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