Microservices testing

Traditionally software was monolithic – all business concerns built atop a singular, large network. This made modifying any part of the software difficult as the entire code base would have to be updated to make even a small change. This challenge has been overcome by the now popular microservices architecture which is modular and therefore, can be updated independently and integrated with other features through connectors and patches. This enables agility and shorter deployment times. 

But this very agile nature can also lend complexity as the network starts becoming very dynamic, making rigorous functional testing crucial. Testing is also important to ensure that the microservices perform as expected and deliver the features they are expected to without any glitches or errors. Since microservices development is a continuous process, testing must also be continuous. Microservices testing involves testing the individual components as well as ensuring all the codes work together smoothly.  

Testing Microservices  

To ensure bug-free microservices that integrate with the overall system, the following tests are a must: 

  • Functional Testing: Ensure the microservice behaves and delivers as expected by running a functional test. Since the microservice will not have a distinct and separate UI, functional testing can be complicated and time-intensive. 
  • Load Testing: The microservice must be designed properly to ensure the application does not crash when there is high traffic volume. Load testing helps test this aspect so that users get fast response anytime they access the application. 
  • Resiliency Testing: Sometimes, there can be failures such as in the configuration, the network, or other infrastructure failures. At such times, the microservices must be able to run on other endpoints. Resiliency testing is performed to ensure this. 
  • Integration Testing: It is important that all microservices work with each other smoothly to give a unified experience for the user. Therefore, integration testing ensures that the microservice module integrates with the other modules and the entire software works as one unit. 
  • Unit Testing: Unit testing ensures the efficiency of the code and is highly technical, ensuring the source code functions as expected. Often, this test is not done for microservices, but can be improved to enhance code quality. 
  • Component Testing: Microservice testing in isolation can be complex because they may need other microservices to perform effectively. In component testing, the traffic moving over the interface is tested with microservices as a black box. 
  • End-to-End Testing: Also called system testing, this is the final step of microservice testing and involves testing in real world, where the users interact with the application. This is a slow process needing high maintenance.   
  • Security Testing: As confidentiality and privacy are becoming more and more important, and the microservices architecture may have vulnerable segments that can be entry points for hackers, a security test is a must. 

Challenges to Microservice Testing 

The complexity of a microservices architecture makes it difficult to observe. Also, typically different teams are involved in the development of different microservices, with little communication between them. This makes testing all service components at the same time in the same environment challenging. They may not be ready for testing at the same time and may not be testable in the same environment or form.  

Traditional testing strategies may prove insufficient in obtaining the desired quality of results. In monolithic applications, unit tests are used to test every code unit, after which integration tests are used as additional components are added. But as each microservice may have many dependencies on other microservices, this approach will not be effective. Though they are designed to work alone, they also need to integrate with other loosely coupled services, each component must be alone and then with the rest as a whole. At this stage too, there could be bugs, and fixing those bugs can prove costly. 

Being granular, the limitations of the code can be glaring and the testers need to be aware of these limitations so that their testing strategies can factor the granularity in.  

An effective strategy may be to build a testing pyramid, a model introduced by Mike Cohn. It begins with unit testing, with the largest number of tests, followed by a smaller number of service-level tests to test the interaction between components; and finally, on top, the smallest number of end-to-end UI or system tests. This approach can help with resource optimisation and improve the efficiency of microservices testing. 

Automating Microservices Testing 

At Merit, we believe that automating microservices testing makes it more efficient and effective. Our approach includes: 

  • Using test automation for simple tests to free up resources to focus on more complex testing 
  • Next is to test the functional elements using test scripts every time the Microservices refreshes and comparing the results to establish the changes quickly. 
  • Merit uses cloud-based testing for dynamic allocation of resources based on need, lowering the cost of testing. 
  • We also test applications in different environments, across OS and browsers based on applicability using Kubernetes. 
  • We use the AI-based Canary testing methodology to automate and compare between the current and the new code.  

Merit–For Automated Testing of Microservices 

Merit is a UK-based testing service provider with expertise in testing automation, leveraging proven technologies such as AI to rigourously test platforms at scale. We develop, test and deploy systems faster by interpreting and fixing defects found in software applications. 

This ensures quicker release of apps that are compatible with different devices, infrastructures and networks. By helping developers identify and address errors at a very early stage, we also help with lowering the cost of development and improving the reliability of the applications. We can work with agile, waterfall, iterative or hybrid development models and offer: 

  • Test Factory Model 
  • Testing for Startups 
  • Fully Equipped Test Lab 
  • Project Based Testing 
  • QA and Test Automation Engineers 

To know more, visit our website: https://www.meritdata-tech.com/service/code-ai/software-test-automation/

Key Takeaways 

  • Microservices architecture enables modular development, allowing for independent updates and integration, but it introduces testing complexities. 
  • Essential tests for microservices include functional, load, resiliency, integration, unit, component, end-to-end, and security testing to ensure robustness. 
  • Challenges in microservices testing include complexity, communication gaps between teams, and dependencies among services, necessitating new testing strategies. 
  • Adopting a testing pyramid approach, starting with unit tests, followed by service-level tests, and ending with end-to-end tests, can optimise resource usage and improve efficiency. 
  • Automation plays a crucial role in microservices testing, enabling efficient execution of tests, comparison of results, dynamic resource allocation, and AI-based canary testing. 
  • Strategies like cloud-based testing, environment diversity testing, and AI-driven testing methodologies enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of microservices testing in the digital age. 

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