Facing Challenges Today & Tomorrow
Organizations today face a host of challenges that impact their ability to remain competitive in a world where the pace of change has accelerated exponentially. Their core goal, however, has not changed: to deliver high quality products and services with faster time to market. To achieve that, they look to automation to accelerate testing and reduce the workload of monitoring. The practices of the past, like manual testing and monitoring dashboards for alerts is time consuming and costly. New technologies in the modern network are expensive and budgets are shrinking. New technologies are also more complex than before and organizations face a skills gap in networking, testing, monitoring and automation.
The solution to increasing equipment utilization in the lab & network and accelerating functional validation & performance characterization is to automate everything. The key to a long-lasting automation solution is to select the right tools, processes, and people that will define a solution that works for today but with the future in mind.
Selecting The Right Tools & Processes
Automation solutions are as unique as the teams that deploy them. And so are the tools available to implement the solutions. Successful adoption of automation hinges on making the right choices of tools and processes that achieve the operational and business goals of the organization. Test and monitoring tools also have different automation capabilities. They are judged by how easy they are to automate and their ability to integrate with other components in the tool chain. Modern test & monitoring tools follow industry trends such as working with open source tools and leveraging scripting best practices. They have a well designed, data-model driven REST API and a intuitive Python Library to expertly and easily program scripts.
A More Efficient Way To Script
A well designed API can accelerate the process of scripting. When it’s based on a clear and intuitive data model, and structured to match with the GUI that comes with the tool, scripting can be just as simple as using the GUI manually; only scripting makes it repeatable and able to run automatically as part of a process or a schedule.
Most of the time spent scripting is in debugging. Keysight tools are designed to be interactive during the debugging process. While the script is running, the developer can watch the GUI to ensure the script is working correctly, and can intervene through the GUI as a way to quickly determine the fix required in the script. This immediate feedback provided by the web-based GUI can take debugging from hours to minutes.
Scripting a process, like testing or active monitoring helps with efficiency, but takes an investment to make the scripts and maintain them. The size of the investment can be considerable, so maximizing the impact from the investment is always a key metric.
Three components contribute to an efficient automation solution.
- Scripting – the form the scripts take and the tools used to implement the scripts, and the tools performing the actions.
- Script Management – the methods used to manage the storage, execution and results analysis of the scripts
- Environment Management – the operational organization for defining, reserving and orchestrating the environment in which the scripts run
All three of these components, working together as a tightly integrated chain of tools and processes can have the maximum desired impact for the organization.
Keeping Up With The Pace Of Change
As networks become more and more software centric, the advancement in technology has accelerated to speeds unimaginable even 5 years ago. The adoption of software defined networking has accelerated in the datacenter and the core network. Virtual network function continues to advance and give providers the ability to dynamically deliver and scale services to their customers almost instantly.
The pace of change that these technologies must be tested and deployed accelerates as part of an AGILE Continuous Development/Test/Delivery process. The automation used in the network is influencing the nature of testing and active monitoring.
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 & 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.
Testing In The DEVOPS World
With the pace of change being accelerated by AGILE processes that come as part of DevOps development & delivery, the testing function runs the risk of becoming the bottleneck that prevents the organization from achieving the operational and business goals set.
In order to prevent this from happening, test teams must evolve to work smarter by deploying test automation, and by leveraging their scripting efforts into all the phases of the CD/CI/CT/CD processes.
Automate Faster With Testing And Scripting Services
Keysight's team of professionals have been at the forefront in designing and implementing the industry's widest array of test methodologies and automation frameworks. Our experienced Solution Architects, Professional Services, and Scripting Services teams will help you craft the ideal automation solution that addresses your specific goals. We will create entire solutions from a variety of proven products, or simply accelerate the integration of our test tools into your custom automation framework. Let us help you start and stay on the path to successful automation and avoid the most common pitfalls that cause automation projects to fail.
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