Introduction to Distributed Environment:
Distributed Environment came into the picture in late 1990s which solved various limitations and problems that we had faced like, localization, resource shortage, expanding business boundary, outsourcing services and many. The limitations mentioned above face a common turmoil in connecting various customers spread across the globe with a single business hub. Distributed environment acts as a bridge by making this connection possible through INTERNET.
Consider the following instance in which a real estate firm has undergone a business expansion to other countries from the nationality that the firm initially belongs to. In such case there is a need to connect the business headquarters with the newly found office which can be achieved by constructing an infrastructure under distributed environment system.
Let us now have a brief note on different areas for automation in distributed environment with approaches.
Need for automation in Distributed Environment:
In general Test automation tasks to reduce redundant manual process which reduces the time involved and resource count required to complete the process. Some more advantages like, unattended execution, cross platform automation, compatibility metrics automation can also be achieved through automation. In a distributed environment system substantial amount of data will be transferred between business nodes and automating the data transfer and maintenance will save extensive manual effort and resources.
Some areas in which distributed environment plays a major role and which can be effectively automated are,
- Remote Client Server architecture
- CD/CI environment
- Web Services/API Business Logics
- Grid with Parallel Containers
Following content discuss in detail on above mentioned points.
Remote Client Server Infrastructure:
Client Server Infrastructure involves local or remote connection of two or more computer nodes under a distributed environment. In an instance, extensive amount of serialized data packets will be transferred between these Nodes. Validating the packets amid can prevent various incidents involving misinterpretation, data loss or invalid data injection.
An automation approach that involves validating the Client and Server side data packets is needed since the process happens on headless thread, making it impossible for any manual validation. Some common bottlenecks for any automation solution that involves a client-server infrastructure are to toggle between both the nodes, fetch file required to be validated from either of the node from a remote location.
A solution that involves Socket programming can solve the above mentioned bottlenecks. The tester needs to pause the testing on the local machine, access the server to test some components there, and then resume testing on the local machine. Instead, a handshake code can triggers the testing on the server from the local system and back as needed without the need for manual intervention in distributed testing environment.
Client Server automation Approach
The most important advancement under distributed computing environment is establishment of Dev.-Ops process. The process involves development and operational team to work in parallel to achieve the business goal by reducing the overall business development time.
Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment allows the Developers to have a common repository for source code and integrate the development code to the CI server. This repository can be used on a later part to deploy to any server like staging, QA, Production or integration environments.
Automation can bring in enormous value addition in the CI/CD process by testing the application under test unattended, under a defined scheduled and by establishing the slave architecture of machines/devices the cross platform automation can be achieved. All the above mentioned process can be automated and the approach is given as a block diagram below.
CDCI automation approach
Web Services/ API Business Logics:
If computing resources serves as data storage and business need are served with front end application across globe under a distributed environment then Web Services/ API is the superglue that sticks both, to establish a business infrastructure. Automating the business logics using the Web Services/ APIs that invokes the logics will save exponential amount of time in comparison with User Interface automation testing. In some cases automating APIs and Web Services can also be used for Test Data Generation on runtime. Below block diagram gives more insight on the automation solution for Web Services and APIs.
API automation Approach
Web Services Automation Approach
Grid with Parallel Containers:
The modern advancement of distributed environment is Container, light weight software that comprises of all the source code of the application and all dependent tool set to run the application more reliably and quickly. Introduction of the container destroys the limitation in physical resources availability to execute the process.
When it is told that Cross Platform testing as a major value addition of any automation approach, introduction of containers into the automation approach will reduce the physical devices involved in the application testing. Containers with required virtual operating system can be established on demand to test the application. Instantiating the container for automation can be achieved under a Grid infrastructure. The driver communicates with the grid to pass on automation commands and fetch the execution metrics for validation. Since the entire package is exportable, the automation approach can be hosted on any server and accessed remotely. Below block diagram gives more understanding of the context.
Grid with Parallel containers
To summarize and conclude, distributed environment branches multiple business solutions that favor a wide range of Customers and Business associates. The challenge involved in such environment in to integrate the communities together. Every typical software application involves a backend data source, front end application and middleware that integrate both. Effective automation can be performed on each entity, assuring the business quality standard.