What Is Infrastructure Testing And Why Is It Needed

This Comprehensive Guide to Infrastructure Testing covers its Benefits, Challenges, Infrastructure Testing Tools & Methodologies:

Infrastructure is shared among many projects. Infrastructure testing is the testing of hardware and software dependencies required to run software products. It helps to cover the product risks that relate to the target infrastructure.

This tutorial will help you learn Infrastructure testing from scratch. We will cover complete details like benefits and challenges, who can perform, when to perform, and techniques to perform this testing. Infrastructure testing tools are also covered in this tutorial.

Infrastructure Testing

What Is Infrastructure?

IT Infrastructure Ecosystem includes Operating Systems platforms (such as Windows, UNIX, Linux, macOS), Computer Hardware platforms (such as Dell, IBM, Sun, HP, Apple), Internet platforms (such as Apache, Cisco, Microsoft IIS, .NET), Data Management and Storage (such as IBM DB2, Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL) and Enterprise Software Applications (such as SAP, Oracle, Microsoft).

What Is Infrastructure Testing?

Every software requires an infrastructure to perform its actions. Infrastructure testing is the testing process that covers hardware, software, and networks. It involves testing of any code that reads configuration values from different things in the IT framework and compares them to intended results.

It reduces the risks of failure. This testing incorporates testing exercises, procedures to guarantee that IT applications and the fundamental infrastructure are tuned to deliver on execution, adaptability, unwavering quality, accessibility, performance, and scalability. The aim is to test infrastructure between test environments, test tools, and office environments.

What is Infrastructure Testing

Why Infrastructure Testing Is Needed?

Organizations spend many dollars to make sure their business applications are tested to perfection. However, the basic foundation i.e. infrastructure that hosts and conveys these applications is once in a while tested and generally underestimated.

Infrastructure testing is needed to mitigate the risk of failure of any hardware or software component. When new infrastructure design is prepared for the software, it becomes necessary to perform this testing. It is needed to ensure if new infrastructure functionality is working as intended. Issues arise more likely when a new infrastructure module is integrated with the project.

Infrastructure failures arise when no testing is planned on scalable infrastructure. Therefore, to prevent disruption and last-minute problems, this testing needs to be performed.

This testing is needed to identify defects that were not efficiently found during different testing processes. It becomes important to analyze the software application whenever hardware and software resources are changed. It is done to analyze the system efficiency and performance.

Timely implementation of this testing type is required because projects involve a high cost on infrastructure. Therefore, good knowledge of this testing is required to minimize the cost involved in project risks. To avoid any failures, this testing is needed as an industry standard.

industry standard

What Are The Benefits Of Infrastructure Testing?

The planned and exhaustive approach of Infrastructure Testing gives many benefits to a software product as well as organizations.

Few of the benefits are enlisted below:

  1. Reduction in Production failures.
  2. Improvement in defect identification before production execution. Upgrade the quality of infrastructure with zero defect slippage to production.
  3. Quickened test execution, empowering early go live.
  4. It helps in annual cost savings in operations as well as in business.
  5. Confirm that software works in a systematic and controlled procedure.
  6. Reduction in downtime.
  7. Improvement in quality of service.
  8. Availability of stable environments.
  9. Reduction in the cost involved in risks.
  10. Better user experience.

Benefits

Challenges Of Infrastructure Testing

Let’s look at a few challenges that companies face when they seek to adopt Infrastructure Testing.

#1) Remote environment

Test environments or resources are positioned in topographically remote locales, making the test teams rely upon support groups at the area to manage challenges related to equipment, hardware components, software components, networking, etc. This frequently requires some investment with respect to time and causes delays, particularly where the teams are situated in different time zones.

#2) Absence of a dedicated team

Lack of knowledge among the team is a major challenge to perform this testing. A dedicated team is required to maintain information related to all activities including schedules, plans, coverage, status reports.

#3) Investigation of test environment issues

Many times test environment issues could not be resolved and needs investigation. Coordination with concerned teams is required until the issue is resolved.

#4) Maintaining environments at one place

Maintaining a common storehouse of test-environments, their old compatibility, as well as the latest versions, pose a major challenge while performing this testing. Connectivity details and configurations of all versions are not maintained.

#5) Manual work

Few activities involved in this testing require manual work as no tools are available. This leads to human error and delays in the process.

#6) Lack of standard definition for Infrastructure Testing 

Most people are still not aware of the implementation and processes. Improper knowledge and understanding often lead to difficulties in implementation. Lots of new problems arise that may affect the process to be stable.

#7) Isolated teams

There lies a big gap between team locations. This usually leads to a lack of transparency and poor teamwork.

Who Can Perform Infrastructure Testing?

Various teams are involved in this testing type. These are explained below:

Who can perform Infrastructure Testing

#1) Infrastructure Testing Team

The infrastructure-testing team has a good bunch of knowledge related to this testing. They are also involved with the Quality Assurance team. This team knows how to test IT infrastructure. This team knows how to design test cases for this type of testing.

#2) System Administrator Team

System Administrator team often test network-level infrastructure. Team design and document test cases based on their experience. They are responsible to ensure that the applications are not impacted after any change in the network.

#3) Infrastructure Maintenance Team

This team plays a very important role. They are involved at an early stage and are responsible to set test environments as per the requirements. They participate in test planning and maintaining infrastructure environments.

#4) Quality Assurance Team

QA team is responsible to run regression test. They are also involved in integration testing. They perform testing on different test environments that are created as per different infrastructure.

#5) Project Manager

The project manager is responsible to handle the project. They are involved in planning, designing, documentation of test cases that are required for this testing type. A Project Manager is in sync with all the teams.

When To Perform Infrastructure Testing?

There is an urgent need to perform this testing whenever any infrastructure-related changes are introduced.

Examples of such changes are:

  1. Any new patch in the system is developed.
  2. Any new system updates are experienced.
  3. Any update in Operating System.
  4. The database version/structure is upgraded.
  5. When there is memory up-gradation for servers.
  6. Implementation of the new tool.
  7. Security fixes.
  8. Software update.

Sometimes this testing type becomes more important when Database or Data Centre migration is encountered. More focus is needed when there are diverse and rapid changes in application and when infrastructure migrations are involved.

It is also performed when the support of new devices for software is introduced.

Example:

  1. New laptops/Desktops
  2. New Mobile devices
  3. New third-party tools

When To Perform Infrastructure Testing

Infrastructure Testing Methodologies

We have different modules in this. Few of them are listed below:

  1. Server/Client Infrastructure
  2. Data Migration
  3. Infrastructure Testing in Cloud
  4. Network-level Testing
  5. Installation/Uninstallation/Deployment
  6. Test Environment Infrastructure
  7. TDD approach

#1) Server/Client Infrastructure

Servers include web servers, file servers, mail servers, proxy servers, virtual servers, and physical servers on hardware. The client includes OS, applications, user settings, etc. Servers run different services and these services can be used by the clients.

The main objective is to test the quality of servers, desktops, Operating Systems, and hardware. Server/Client components are tested to ensure the performance of infrastructure is improved in the production environment. It also includes testing of installation or uninstallation of applications, browser compatibility testing, integration testing with different versions of OS and user settings.

Procedure:

  1. Foremost thing is to collect the requirements from stakeholders.
  2. Design a test plan as per the understanding of the required infrastructure.
  3. Test cases are then designed covering Operating Systems support, up-gradation scenarios, the scope of server/client infrastructure testing, and also functionality testing.
  4. After the approval of test cases, QA Team executes each scenario and corresponding test cases.

All server/client related changes like up-gradation, configuration changes are already tested on QA setups, so this ensures that there will be less impact possible in the production environment. Also, different OS versions will be tested before deploying in production. Moreover, if anything failed in production, fallback procedures are tested beforehand to ensure backup.

#2) Data Migration

Data Migration includes data migrated from old version to new version, data migrated from one server to another, and also data migrated to different configurations.

The main objective of Data Migration testing is to test the data migrations on various versions, servers, new builds. Test the application to certify that there is no impact due to migration. Data Migration testing is also performed to verify the performance and latency in the application.

Procedure:

  1. Test the application before and after the migration.
  2. Test the servers before and after the data migration to ensure that no changes are observed.
  3. Test that no changes are observed in the performance of the application after data migration.
  4. Test the application with different versions of the database
  5. Test the new build is compatible with all versions of the database.
  6. Test different configuration settings of the server with different database versions

With the help of data migration testing, server mismatched configurations can be discovered. Any server build issues if exist while performing data migration can be resolved before the production deployment. Data migration testing enhances the quality and stability of the product. This testing later helps in installation testing while deploying the application on the production environment.

#3) Infrastructure Testing In Cloud

Information and data are mostly stored on virtual servers and these servers are kept and managed by Cloud computing vendors such as AWS.

The main objective is to certify the Cloud services for different versions of applications. Test the architecture of application on the Cloud. A real application is simulated on Cloud and the performance and scalability of applications are tested.

Procedure:

  1. Test the load on application with different configurations.
  2. Perform regression testing and make sure that the application does not affect load testing.
  3. Test if an application is a browser compatible in a cloud environment.
  4. Test installation of the application on the cloud.
  5. Test if the application is working as expected across different cloud environments.

Infrastructure testing in Cloud ensures error-free implementation of the application in the production environment. It helps to know the performance, scalability, and stability of the application. It helps in utilizing the resources found in the Cloud such as any hardware, software, and infrastructure.

#4) Network-level Testing

The network is the most important part of the infrastructure of the application. The network helps in communication between servers, clients, and other networks. Networks have different modules such as proxy servers, infrastructure for Internet connectivity.

The main objective is to control and manage any network-level issues such as excessive resource usage, server downtime, system configuration, the infrastructure required for operations, Operating System patches.

Procedure:

  1. Test the network layer for future updates of the application.
  2. Test for fallback procedures in case of any failure in the production environment.
  3. Perform System testing, UAT testing, Security testing.
  4. Design test cases and prepare test data.
  5. Ensure that any server/network level services are not impacted after any new release.
  6. Test for the isolated network.
  7. Test impact on the performance of the application on various networks such as VPN, Wi-Fi, LAN, etc.

Network-level infrastructure testing improves recovery time. It ensures the backup and restores mechanisms. It helps in the security of applications as well.

#5) Installation/Uninstallation/Deployment

The main objective of testing infrastructure while performing the installation is to ensure that whenever a new client is using the application, no issues arise while installing the application for the first time. Uninstallation of application is performed to test the exit process of application.

Procedure:

  1. Test for the installer packages required for installing the application.
  2. Test for additional libraries, build packages.
  3. Test for the time required to install and uninstall the application.
  4. Install the application on different Operating Systems.
  5. Test for disk space required.
  6. Test if all files are removed after the uninstallation of the application.

Testing infrastructure while installing/uninstalling/deployment ensures that the application can be installed over the network at a particular time. It makes sure that any patch can be later installed or not. Helps in improving the storage required by the application.

#6) Test Environment Infrastructure

A test environment is a collection of hardware, software, tools, and processes. To execute the testing accurately and efficiently, the test environment is necessary. The test environment also includes the workplace where good network, PC, and power supply is provided to testers to perform their job.

The main objective is to check the software installation, application configuration setups, choose the right testing tools that support test planning, test execution. It also ensures the continuity of test execution.

Procedure:

  1. Set up a test environment for regular releases of the project.
  2. Create a test environment for hotfix releases.
  3. Create solutions to manage server and client environment issues.
  4. Finalize test tools for Test Plan, test design, and execution.
  5. Decide tools for debugging and reporting the bugs.
  6. Create a document for setting the test environment.

The use of tools and test environments have multiple advantages. Higher quality is observed. Productivity increases with the use of tools. Test activities are carried out in a processed manner. Documentation of the test environment helps new members of the team to understand better.

#7) TDD Approach

Test-Driven Development or TDD framework is a method to first write test cases based on the requirement documents and then implement the functionality according to the test.

The main objective is to know the infrastructure resources required for the project. The purpose is to define and organize the infrastructure for security, operations, and production.

Procedure:

  1. Design document for infrastructure requirements.
  2. Design test plan covering infrastructure required for the application.
  3. Design test cases involving infrastructure tests.
  4. Test for different configurations.

TDD approach helps in improving the complexity of the project. Any changes to infrastructure are tested before pushing to production. Different possible configurations can be implemented as tests are already designed.

Infrastructure Testing Tools

Chef, Puppet, and Ansible are different tools that serve the same purpose. These tools are used in deploying and configuring different servers required for an application. These tools serve great help when there are complex tasks related to infrastructure. It becomes easy for the team to execute tasks on multiple servers together using these tools.

The team using these tools deploy multiple applications, dependencies, and libraries quickly. Other activities include servers, binaries, log files, recovery mechanisms, version up-gradation, database management.

#1) Chef

chef

Features: Chef supports Ruby Domain-Specific Languages. Therefore, it becomes difficult for non-developers to learn this tool. Despite being difficult for language support, this tool is highly available. Chef follows the master-slave configuration. In the master-slave mechanism, the primary server i.e. chef-server can be replaced by the backup server if in any case failure is encountered.

We can deploy applications, configure infrastructure, and also configure the network with Chef. It is not highly secured.

Price: It is less expensive than Puppet but more expensive than Ansible. Its price is approximately $13.5k/year up to 100 nodes.

Website: Chef


#2) Puppet

puppet

Features: Puppet is built with Ruby and supports DSL and Embedded Ruby. A programmer can only manage the configuration if the Puppet is selected to be used. The system administrators team is also aware of the configurations of this tool. It follows master-master architecture. If an active master experiences failure, another master can replace it.

Puppet is useful in the scalability of machines, in setting different configurations for every host. If any change is made in the configuration, this tool helps to make changes globally. It is also not so highly secured tool.

Price: Its price is the highest at approximately $11k-$20k/year for up to 100 nodes.

Website: Puppet


#3) Ansible

Ansible

Features: Ansible is written on Python and also supports YAML command scripts. Python is human readable and therefore this tool is ideal for system administrators. It runs with a single active node but in case of any failures, it has a secondary node too.

Ansible is highly scalable, i.e. it could manage a large number of nodes without any issues. As compared to Puppet, Ansible is more convenient in terms of scalability. Unlike Chef and Puppet, it is a highly secured tool with SSH.

Price: Its price is much lower than Puppet and Chef approximately $10k/year for up to 100 nodes.

Website: Ansible


Conclusion

Infrastructure testing is necessary for Software Development Lifecycle as companies incur high costs on infrastructure. Various topics such as benefits, challenges, techniques, and people involved in this testing type are covered in this tutorial. A glimpse of infrastructure testing tools is also covered.