Agile Software Development methodologies have enabled software companies to release their software more frequently. Unfortunately, this urge to come fast into the market has put the need to test applications almost continuously.
Have you ever thought about how software development companies set up test environments? How many types of test environments may exist? How do they handle all these various environments? Test environment setup introduces many new struggles. For example, creating a scrambled replica of a full production environment is often complicated, and building it manually requires a lot of time and effort from the DevOps or testing engineer.
This post underlines the different types of test environments and throws light on the best practices to follow. The second part discusses how to efficiently manage your test environments, so that you can make sure everybody in your organization is at the same page, and avoid painful utilization conflicts...
What is Test Environment?
Test cases, once written, need an environment to run. This is called a test environment. It combines hardware, software, database, and network configurations to run tests. A test environment allows the testing team to run the test cases.
A perfectly configured test environment helps to check the quality of the developed features and reduces the risk of bugs slipping into production. Some key benefits of having various test environments provide the following benefits:
Types of Test Environments
Software release involves a rigorous testing process before deploying to its users. Software testing is an integral part to the whole software development lifecycle (SDLC). From a broader perspective, software testing is a multi-step verification process involving several development environments. Each environment has a specific requirement that helps to ensure the software performs as expected before its final release.
It is vital to have an adequate understanding of various testing environments, which is essential in testing the software product. This way, you can bring more valuable products to market in less time. Some of the most commonly used testing environments are Development, Test, Staging and Production.
The developers use this environment to test their developed code. Developers push the work done on the user story to the source code repository. Once the code is pushed, various activities are performed, including deployment, quality check, and unit testing.
In this case, they need a stable development test environment solely used by Dev teams to test their newly developed features before handover to the QA team.
QA and product teams usually use this environment to perform different testing activities that include manual and automated testing. Testers perform various testing to test the application behavior as per user expectations. Less complex environments can handle functional testing.
But, non-functional testing, like stress or performance testing, needs a special environment to check the application behavior. So, we need a special environment to perform this type of testing.
This environment reflects the same configuration as the production environment. The features' functionality is very similar to what actual user experiences on the live system.
The staging environment ensures that AUT is developed per specifications and works without any critical or significant bugs that can harm the users.
This environment is used to deploy the features and updates for its end users.
To ensure the maximum quality of the AUT, we need to execute various tests on the above-listed environments. Having Development, QA, and Staging environment is equally important to test the features on each stage.
Test Environment Best Practices
Some best practices for building test environments help in bringing efficient testing to the development process. The below-mentioned practices apply to a newly developed application and an application undergoing continuous versioning.
Effective Ways to do Test Environment Management (TEM)
Many good practices surround effective Test Environment Management (TEM). Here are a few for an effective TEM that can make your SDLC much easier than before:
To summarize, Test Environment Management is an essential part of bringing the software quickly to market, and TEM is a suitable solution to speed up software deliveries in the CI/CD process. All test environments like Dev, Test, Staging/Pre-prod are important to have a stable release. This will help eliminate the possibilities of bugs by focusing more on quality in various test environments.
Without proper management, test environments can quickly become messy and unusable. Moreover, following the test environment best practices and using the appropriate TEM tool like Apwide Golive for Jira gives excellent results in the whole SDLC.
6 Best Practices
Check these 6 Test Environment Best Practices to make your TEM process more efficient and deliver better software faster.