Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White, AppNeta Blog, Kong Yang

Related Topics: Microservices Expo

Microservices Expo: Article

SOA World - Approaching SOA Testing

Even testing needs testing

So, does testing change with SOA? You bet it does. Unless you're willing to act now, you may find yourself behind the curve as SOA becomes systemic to all that is enterprise architecture, and we add more complexity to get to an agile and reusable state.

If you're willing to take the risk, the return on your SOA investment will come back three fold...that is, if it is a well-tested SOA. Untested SOA could cost you millions.

Truth be told, testing SOAs is a complex, disturbed computing problem. You have to learn how to isolate, check, and integrate, assuring that things work at the service, persistence, and process layers. The foundation of SOA testing is to select the right tool for the job, having a well-thought-out plan, and spare no expense in testing cycles or else risk that your SOA will lay an egg, and have no creditability.

Organizations are beginning to roll out their first instances of SOA, typically as smaller projects. While many are working fine, some are not living up to expectations due to quality issues that could have been prevented with adequate testing. You need to take these lessons, hard learned by others, and make sure that testing is on your priority list if you're diving into SOA.

How Do You Test Architecture?
The answer is, you don't. Instead you learn how to break the architecture down to its component parts, working from the most primitive to the most sophisticated, testing each component then the integration of the holistic architecture. In other words, you have to divide the architecture up into domains, such as services, security, governance, etc. and test each domain using whatever approach and tools are indicated. If this sounds complex, it is. Indeed, the notion of SOA is loosely coupled complex interdependence and so the approach for testing must follow the same patterns.

Before we can properly approach SOA testing, it's best to first understand the nature of the concept of SOA, and its component parts. There are many other references about the notion of SOA, so I won't dwell on it here. However, it's the foundation of the approaches and techniques you'll employ to test this architecture. SOA, simply put, is best defined thus:

SOA is a strategic framework of technology that allows all interested systems, inside and outside of an organization, to expose and access well-defined services, and information bound to those services, that may be further abstracted to orchestration layers and composite applications for solution development.

The primary benefits of a SOA, and so the objective of a test plan, include:

  • Reuse of services, or the ability to leverage application behavior from application to application without a significant amount of re-coding or integration.
  • Agility, or the ability to change business processes on top of existing services and information flows, quickly, and as needed to support a changing business.
  • Monitoring, or the ability to monitor points of information and points of service, in real-time, to determine the well being of an enterprise or trading community. Moreover, the ability to change processes or adjust processes for the benefit of the organization in real-time.
  • Extend Reach, or the ability to expose certain enterprise processes to other external entities for the purpose of inter-enterprise collaboration or shared processes.
What is unique about a SOA is that it's as much a strategy as a set of technologies, and it's really more of a journey than a destination. Moreover, it's a notion that is dependent on specific technologies or standards, such as Web Services, but really requires many different types of technologies and standards for a complete SOA. All of these must be tested.

Figure 1 represents a model of the SOA components, and how they're interrelated. What's key here is that those creating the test plan have both a macro understanding of how all the components work together as well as how each components exists unto itself and the best approach to testing those components.

You can group the testing domains for SOA into these major categories:

  • Service-Level Testing
  • Security-Level Testing
  • Orchestration-Level Testing
  • Governance-Level Testing
  • Integration-Level Testing
I'm going to focus more on service-level testing, since it's critical to SOA. Moreover, the categories or domains that you choose to test in your architecture may differ due to the specific requirements of your project. Moreover, there are other areas that need attention as well, including quality assurance for the code, performance testing, and auditing.

Service-Level Testing
In the world of SOA, services are the building blocks, and are found at the lowest level of the stack. Services become the base of a SOA, and while some are abstract existing "legacy services," others are new and built for specific purposes. Moving up the stack, we then find composite services, or services made up of other services, and all services abstract up into the business process or orchestration layer, which provides the agile nature of a SOA since you can create and change solutions using a configuration metaphor. It's also noteworthy that, while most of the services tested in SOAs will be Web Service-based, it's still acceptable to build SOAs using services that leverage other enabling technologies such as CORBA, J2EE, and even proprietary approaches.

When testing services, you need to keep the following in mind:
Services are not complete applications or systems and must be tested as such. They are a small part of an application. Nor are they subsystems; they are small parts of subsystems as well. So you need to test them with a high degree of independence, meaning that the services are both able to function properly by themselves, as well as part of a cohesive system. Indeed, services are more analogous to traditional application functions in terms of design, and how they are leveraged to form solutions, fine- or course-grained.

The best approach to testing services is to list the use cases for those services. At that point you can design testing approaches for that service including testing harnesses, or the use of SOA testing tools (discussed later). You also have to consider any services that the service may employ, and so be tested holistically as a single logical service. In some cases you may be testing a service that calls a service, that calls a service where some of the services are developed and managed in house, and some of them exist on remote systems that you don't control. All use cases and configurations must be considered.

Services should be tested with a high degree of autonomy. They should execute without dependencies, if at all possible, and be tested as independent units of code using a single design pattern that fits in other systems that use many design patterns. While all services can't be all things to all containers, it's important to spend time understanding their foreseeable use and make sure those are built into the test cases.

Services should have the appropriate granularity. Don't focus on too fine-grained or too loose-grained. Focus on that correct granularity for the purpose and use of the SOA. Here the issues related to testing are more along the lines of performance than anything else. Too finely grained services have a tendency to bog down due to the communications overhead required when dealing with so many services. Too loosely grained and they don't provide the proper autonomic values to support their reuse. You have to work with the service designer on this one.


More Stories By David Linthicum

Dave Linthicum is Sr. VP at Cloud Technology Partners, and an internationally known cloud computing and SOA expert. He is a sought-after consultant, speaker, and blogger. In his career, Dave has formed or enhanced many of the ideas behind modern distributed computing including EAI, B2B Application Integration, and SOA, approaches and technologies in wide use today. In addition, he is the Editor-in-Chief of SYS-CON's Virtualization Journal.

For the last 10 years, he has focused on the technology and strategies around cloud computing, including working with several cloud computing startups. His industry experience includes tenure as CTO and CEO of several successful software and cloud computing companies, and upper-level management positions in Fortune 500 companies. In addition, he was an associate professor of computer science for eight years, and continues to lecture at major technical colleges and universities, including University of Virginia and Arizona State University. He keynotes at many leading technology conferences, and has several well-read columns and blogs. Linthicum has authored 10 books, including the ground-breaking "Enterprise Application Integration" and "B2B Application Integration." You can reach him at [email protected] Or follow him on Twitter. Or view his profile on LinkedIn.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
Developers want to create better apps faster. Static clouds are giving way to scalable systems, with dynamic resource allocation and application monitoring. You won't hear that chant from users on any picket line, but helping developers to create better apps faster is the mission of Lee Atchison, principal cloud architect and advocate at New Relic Inc., based in San Francisco. His singular job is to understand and drive the industry in the areas of cloud architecture, microservices, scalability ...
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Val...
Cloud promises the agility required by today’s digital businesses. As organizations adopt cloud based infrastructures and services, their IT resources become increasingly dynamic and hybrid in nature. Managing these require modern IT operations and tools. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Raj Sundaram, Senior Principal Product Manager at CA Technologies, will discuss how to modernize your IT operations in order to proactively manage your hybrid cloud and IT environments. He will be sharing be...
This recent research on cloud computing from the Register delves a little deeper than many of the "We're all adopting cloud!" surveys we've seen. They found that meaningful cloud adoption and the idea of the cloud-first enterprise are still not reality for many businesses. The Register's stats also show a more gradual cloud deployment trend over the past five years, not any sort of explosion. One important takeaway is that coherence across internal and external clouds is essential for IT right n...
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...
To more closely examine the variety of ways in which IT departments around the world are integrating cloud services, and the effect hybrid IT has had on their organizations and IT job roles, SolarWinds recently released the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2017: Portrait of a Hybrid Organization. This annual study consists of survey-based research that explores significant trends, developments, and movements related to and directly affecting IT and IT professionals.
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Is your application too difficult to manage? Do changes take dozens of developers hundreds of hours to execute, and frequently result in downtime across all your site’s functions? It sounds like you have a monolith! A monolith is one of the three main software architectures that define most applications. Whether you’ve intentionally set out to create a monolith or not, it’s worth at least weighing the pros and cons of the different architectural approaches and deciding which one makes the most s...
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Aruna Ravichandran, vice president of DevOps Product and Solutions Marketing at CA Technologies, has been named co-conference chair of DevOps at Cloud Expo 2017. The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In large enterprises, environment provisioning and server provisioning account for a significant portion of the operations team's time. This often leaves users frustrated while they wait for these services. For instance, server provisioning can take several days and sometimes even weeks. At the same time, digital transformation means the need for server and environment provisioning is constantly growing. Organizations are adopting agile methodologies and software teams are increasing the speed ...
Back in February of 2017, Andrew Clay Schafer of Pivotal tweeted the following: “seriously tho, the whole software industry is stuck on deployment when we desperately need architecture and telemetry.” Intrigue in a 140 characters. For me, I hear Andrew saying, “we’re jumping to step 5 before we’ve successfully completed steps 1-4.”
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, CTO of Embotics, will discuss how automation can provide the dynamic management required to cost-effectively deliver microservices and container solutions at scale. He will discuss how flexible automation is the key to effectively bridging and seamlessly coordinating both IT and developer needs for component orchestration across disparate clouds – an increasingly important requirement at today’s multi-cloud enterprise.
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor – all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Software as a service (SaaS), one of the earliest and most successful cloud services, has reached mainstream status. According to Cisco, by 2019 more than four-fifths (83 percent) of all data center traffic will be based in the cloud, up from 65 percent today. The majority of this traffic will be applications. Businesses of all sizes are adopting a variety of SaaS-based services – everything from collaboration tools to mission-critical commerce-oriented applications. The rise in SaaS usage has m...
The proper isolation of resources is essential for multi-tenant environments. The traditional approach to isolate resources is, however, rather heavyweight. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Igor Drobiazko, co-founder of elastic.io, drew upon his own experience with operating a Docker container-based infrastructure on a large scale and present a lightweight solution for resource isolation using microservices. He also discussed the implementation of microservices in data and application integrat...
We'd all like to fulfill that "find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life" cliché. But in reality, every job (even if it's our dream job) comes with its downsides. For you, the constant fight against shadow IT might get on your last nerves. For your developer coworkers, infrastructure management is the roadblock that stands in the way of focusing on coding. As you watch more and more applications and processes move to the cloud, technology is coming to developers' rescue-most r...
2016 has been an amazing year for Docker and the container industry. We had 3 major releases of Docker engine this year , and tremendous increase in usage. The community has been following along and contributing amazing Docker resources to help you learn and get hands-on experience. Here’s some of the top read and viewed content for the year. Of course releases are always really popular, particularly when they fit requests we had from the community.
Even for the most seasoned IT pros, the cloud is complicated. It can be difficult just to wrap your head around the many terms and acronyms that make up the cloud dictionary-not to mention actually mastering the technology. Unfortunately, complicated cloud terms are often combined to the point that their meanings are lost in a sea of conflicting opinions. Two terms that are used interchangeably (but shouldn't be) are hybrid cloud and multicloud. If you want to be the cloud expert your company ne...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...