Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, Yeshim Deniz, Jason Bloomberg

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Java IoT, Linux Containers, @CloudExpo

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Post

Test Environment Management Metrics By @Plutora | @DevOpsSummit [#DevOps]

When it comes to testing and quality assurance, providing the right incentives and metrics is critical

When it comes to testing and quality assurance, providing the right incentives and metrics is critical. Your release plan shouldn't reward quality assurance and quality engineering teams for rushing systems through the QA process, and you shouldn't create systems that penalize anyone for identifying bugs or other issues that will affect quality. Quality and appropriate testing is crucial, especially in industries that deal with critical safety and security systems.

Test environment can take any number of forms. For a critical system you might have several kinds of test environments. Some are permanent while others are only needed at specific points in the process:

  • Development Environments - Some might not consider these testing environments, but the developers consider these essential to quality. Every development group expects to have a system up and running all the time, built in response to activity in an SCM system. This is usually the system a developer will use to run continual tests to ensure code quality.
  • Quality Assurance Environments - Some organizations only QA systems before they go into production, but the top performers see QA as a constant. QA engineers and testers should be constantly testing code as it is developed, and this often requires a second environment that is more stable than the Development Environments.
  • Staging and Integration Environments - While one large development group may have separate Dev and QA servers, when it comes time to integrate these systems into a whole you need a separate staging and integration environment, which might change infrequently in response to large release events requiring widescale collaboration.
  • Performance Testing Environments - It is a best practice to isolate your performance testing effort from other QA functions, as performance tests often make a system unusable for anything other than load testing and capacity planning.
  • Production Standby Environments - If you need to push an immediate patch to production, you will need to have a system that matches production available at a moment's notice. [you will need a production system that can be available at a moment's notice.] These are often emergency systems that are used rarely, but when they are used they are the most important environment in the organization. It is common for organizations to take a calculated risk and repurpose these environments for QA and testing during a major release.

For a large organization you might have several application groups using 30 or 40 environments, and for a complex application each environment involves databases, caches, services, and other systems. A proliferation of environments is often the driving factor behind ballooning IT budgets, as hardware and systems add up quickly.

Here are three critical metrics to consider when you approach the task of configuring and supporting test environments in a release management process:

1. Environment Efficiency
Think of an environment like you would think of a gate at an airport. How often is an environment used? How often it is the center of demand conflicts? If a particular environment is a point of constant conflict you need to perform a detailed analysis to understand its impact on your release plan.

Using Plutora you can review the past several releases and identify trends in environment efficiency so that you can make informed choices either in provisioning new environments or telling your IT department how many systems need to be budgeted for or provisioned. If you are constantly fighting a battle for resources, use Plutora to shine a light on the problem and gather data about how environments are affecting your release timelines. This is often the best way to convince management to invest more resources into infrastructure for testing environments.

How often is an environment a focus of contention or a dispute among teams? How many times in a given release cycle does testing or development have to stop because an environment has been reclaimed by another project or group?

2. Environment Stability
If your testing environments are constantly affected by outages and unavailability, your release timelines will be affected. You can use Plutora to measure stability events for specific environments so you can pinpoint and plan around events that will affect your critical path to release.

How often is an environment unavailable due to factors within your project's control? How often is an environment unavailable due to external factors? Is the software and hardware in an environment up to date with the target production systems? How often do you have to resort to manual workarounds due to an environment?

3. Environment Agility
"How long is it going to take to set up the QA system for this release?" and "Why do we have to run another sync with production for our performance environment?" or "How long is it going to take to build this environment in OpenStack?" In an age of Big Data and cloud-based infrastructure we're still waiting for environments to be created and configured.

How quickly an environment can be created and configured is a measure of its agility. If an environment needs to be retooled to match another code branch or release or if a system needs to be verified and validated before a release can be deployed to it, these are all tasks that need to be modeled and captured in a tool that understands how environments affect releases. Plutora can do just that. You can factor in setup and configuration time so that you don't just assume that environments are going to be ready when they might require days of effort to perfect.

With Plutora, resource and environment planning is an important part of the planning process for a release, and our customers have come to view Plutora as more than just a tool to be used to plan a release. Our customers use the data from Plutora to guide decisions about IT budgeting and procurement so that management understands the true impact that issues with environment quality and contention have on the process.

More Stories By Plutora Blog

Plutora provides Enterprise Release and Test Environment Management SaaS solutions aligning process, technology, and information to solve release orchestration challenges for the enterprise.

Plutora’s SaaS solution enables organizations to model release management and test environment management activities as a bridge between agile project teams and an enterprise’s ITSM initiatives. Using Plutora, you can orchestrate parallel releases from several independent DevOps groups all while giving your executives as well as change management specialists insight into overall risk.

Supporting the largest releases for the largest organizations throughout North America, EMEA, and Asia Pacific, Plutora provides proof that large companies can adopt DevOps while managing the risks that come with wider adoption of self-service and agile software development in the enterprise. Aligning process, technology, and information to solve increasingly complex release orchestration challenges, this Gartner “Cool Vendor in IT DevOps” upgrades the enterprise release management from spreadsheets, meetings, and email to an integrated dashboard giving release managers insight and control over large software releases.

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.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. 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 busine...
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...