Testing is core to the DevOps model. It is a central strategy for catching bugs early and streamlining the pathway from coding to deployment.
Many DevOps teams implement a continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) approach to automate this process. A strong testing strategy empowers them to constantly deliver new code knowing the updated application has passed all unit and performance tests.
Tests should not only serve as gatekeepers before moving into different phases of the DevOps pipeline but should also be performed continuously. This strategy relies heavily on automation to remove as many manual tasks as possible and expedite execution. When implemented strategically, testing improves the quality and security of deliverables without slowing the momentum of the pipeline.
For a detailed walkthrough of the process, check out our guide to DevOps testing.
DevOps Testing Tools
- Apache JMeter
We've identified five top tools across the four major testing domains in DevOps. Let's examine each category and the related tools that will optimize your testing strategies.
DevOps Unit Testing Tools
Unit testing examines individual components of an application to confirm the code functions as needed. Unit testing relies on test cases that simulate the application's expected functionality. Test cases either pass or fail, and the results are recorded so developers can diagnose the cause of failing tests and debug the code.
The central advantages of unit testing are that its scope is limited and it can be performed early in the development phase. This allows DevOps teams to catch bugs before integrating the code to compile and build the application, which makes the process of debugging much more complicated.
Note: unit testing tools are usually tailored to specific languages, so we have selected five tools that span popular coding languages and called out their concentrations in the headings.
2. Typemock — C++ and .NET
Typemock is a unit testing framework custom-built to support legacy code. The framework is supported on Windows and Linux for C++ as well as .NET for Microsoft Visual Studio. Typemock offers coverage reports to identify code not covered by existing test cases, suggestions for new test cases, real-time review of newly written code to highlight lack of coverage, and additional insights into potential vulnerabilities in your code.
3. EMMA — Java
EMMA is a unit testing framework for Java applications. The tool focuses on tracking test case coverage and highlighting gaps for writing additional cases. EMMA is an open-source tool that rapidly evaluates code files with simple installation and integration processes for quick deployment and feedback.
4. Parasoft — C and C++
Price: Pricing available on request
Parasoft is a unit testing tool that provides static analysis and code coverage evaluations for files written in C and C++. The tool automatically evaluates code against multiple industry and security standards to flag potential compliance issues, and it offers AI and machine learning capabilities to improve test case design and execution. Parasoft also integrates with dozens of cloud providers, integrated development environments (IDEs), CI/CD tools, and other DevOps testing solutions to fit seamlessly into your tech stack.
5. SimpleTest — PHP
SimpleTest is an open-source testing framework designed to emulate other popular unit testing tools and apply these features to PHP applications. Its features include mock objects for less resource-intensive testing and an internal web browser to simulate user interactions on a web application such as signing up for a newsletter through a form. In addition, SimpleTest supports SSL, proxies, and basic authentication test cases.
DevOps Performance Testing Tools
Performance testing happens in later DevOps phases once the code is written and integrated. Teams will typically run a test build of the application to confirm that it does compile and then test it to ensure it's ready to perform in the "real world."
Based on the project requirements, the application will be subjected to load, stress, volume, capacity, and recovery tests to measure how the application responds to increased demands and how it recovers after an outage. The goal is to find the source of any crashes and fine-tune the system for peak efficiency before rolling out the product to the customer.
Apache JMeter is designed for load testing and measuring application performance. The open-source tool runs tests across standard web protocols (e.g. HTTPS) and works across environments, including individual servers, groups of servers, networks, or objects. Apache JMeter also offers a full-featured test IDE and dynamic reports.
Predator is a load testing tool that performs unlimited tests across an unlimited number of application instances. It integrates with major platforms like Kubernetes, DC/OS, and Docker, and the tool provides real-time reporting on test results. Predator also allows you to store test data in Cassandra, Postgres, MySQL, MSSQL, and SQLite formats.
Watir is an open-source tool that combines the power of the Selenium framework and Ruby programming language to simplify UI testing across major web browsers. With Watir, you can mimic human behavior with commands like "click the button" and "open the dropdown," and Watir does the heavy lifting of converting this shorthand code into full scripts. This allows you to use the tool for applications written in any language.
TestComplete is a UI testing tool that offers wide-ranging capabilities for desktop, web, and mobile applications. It is built on an AI-powered object recognition engine that you can use to define tests either with or without custom scripts. TestComplete also offers parallel test execution and real-time feedback on tests as they are executed. Finally, it has more than a dozen integrations with other DevOps tools, including Bamboo, Jenkins, and Selenium.
DevOps Automated Testing Tools
DevOps automated testing is a strategy that focuses on the scale that automation brings to any process. In addition to greater capabilities and lower risk of human error, automation also unlocks new benefits specific to DevOps testing.
In a CI/CD model, tests can be triggered based on significant events. For example, each time a developer pushes their new code to the repository, it is reviewed automatically, providing timely feedback. Test automation also enables scaled evaluations. For example, DevOps teams can simulate repeated resource requests to an application's server to confirm it can handle the load and uncover any bugs that a single request may not have revealed.
TestProject is a test automation framework for web and mobile environments. It supports Android, iOS, and all major web browsers. Test cases can be written in TestProject's SDK tool or recorded in the browser, and all cases can be shared with other team members. TestProject offers integrations with other open-source automation frameworks like Selenium and Appium.
Selenium is an automation tool for testing web applications across browsers (i.e. Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer) and devices (e.g. smartphone, laptop, desktop, etc.). The open-source tool has a built-in scripting language for simple automation of test cases and is one of the most popular automation technologies. Selenium also supports parallel test execution so that you can execute more tests in less time.
Leapwork is an automation platform designed to make test automation easy for non-coders by providing a visual dashboard that requires no scripting language. The tool allows users to build tests through flowcharts with built-in automation. Leapwork can run tests across web applications, local machines, virtual machines — and even legacy mainframes.
Testsigma is an open-source test automation platform focused on eliminating the complexity of test automation and bringing technical and non-technical team members into the testing process. Tests are defined and automated using simple language, and Testsigma offers end-to-end evaluations for web and mobile applications as well as APIs. In addition, Testsigma is designed to be simple to deploy and leverages AI to update broken scripts and suggest solutions for failed test cases.
Tosca from Tricentis is a test platform designed to remove traditional bottlenecks from the testing process. The platform uses AI-powered engines to suggest the most effective test cases and uses model-based test automation to increase scalability and reusability. Tosca is also designed to integrate seamlessly into the DevOps pipeline with more than 160 supported technologies and plugins.
DevOps Continuous Testing Tools
Continuous testing is a methodology for software testing that focuses on testing as early and as often as possible. This focus on validating the code, features, and application at each stage in the pipeline reveals bugs sooner and shortens the turnaround time instead of discovering bugs after the software is pushed into production.
Given this focus on "shift left" testing in DevOps, continuous testing incorporates unit, performance, and automated testing practices to cover the entire software development lifecycle.
AppVerify is a continuous testing solution that covers the entire DevOps lifecycle. This includes functional testing and performance testing capabilities as well as application monitoring and robotic process automation. AppVerify allows you to create UX test cases by simply acting as a user in the app, and the tool then converts these actions into scripts. You can expand these test cases by providing specifications that AppVerify then uses to account for all possible outcomes in the scripts, all without needing to provide custom code.
Bamboo is a continuous integration (CI) platform from Atlassian that comes in self-hosted and cloud configurations. Unlike other CI tools, it offers a drag-and-drop interface to easily configure development workflows and orchestrate tests at each stage. Bamboo integrates seamlessly with Jira, Bitbucket, and other tools in the Atlassian ecosystem as well as a large marketplace of plugins for tighter integration with your tool stack.
Docker is a continuous testing tool designed to evaluate applications in real-world environments using lightweight containers instead of dedicated servers that are more resource-intensive. These containers are isolated so that multiple Docker environments can run concurrently, and the tool offers reusable data volumes for performance testing. Finally, Docker's lightweight source code is scalable and efficient, and it is supported on Linux and Windows machines.
Jenkins is an open-source CI server that automates the application build and testing processes. It is written in Java and supported on Windows, Mac, and Unix machines. In addition, Jenkins has a library of hundreds of plugins and supports distributed workloads across multiple machines to improve performance and expedite the testing process.
For a cross-section of the technologies your organization will need to achieve a DevOps pipeline beyond the testing phase, check out our list of DevOps tools.
DevOps testing tools enable teams to deliver faster and at higher quality.
Testing is the critical link between the dual goals of DevOps to deliver higher quality software at greater speed. Without a robust test suite, teams are at greater risk of deploying bugs and non-compliant code into production, leading to disruptions for the customer. Instead, testing allows development and operations teams to deploy with greater confidence in their application and provide value to the customer sooner.