Test Environment Management/DevOps Flow Metrics
by Ukpai Ugochi
An environment means different things to many people, as the case may be. Nothing exists devoid of an environment (also termed an ecosystem). Each environment has its distinct characteristics that support what lives therein. These may be the conditions, objects, or any other thing. Similarly, for software to thrive, it needs environments also.
In this article, we’ll look at what environments in software development are. We’ll familiarize ourselves with the different categories of software environments and what they do. Also, we’ll explore the test environments and how they relate to DevOps. Then, we’ll look at the concept of DevOps and how test environments affect the flow metrics of DevOps.
Environment in Software Development
In software development and engineering, environments exist which support the software. They are a collection of hardware and other software tools that assist a developer in the building, testing, and production of software systems. In other words, a software environment can include the operating systems, the API calls, and the databases used by the software.
There are three major categories of this environment, listed below.
The development environment is the environment where developers build software. This is the first and foremost environment in the software development lifecycle. It is in this environment that developers do much of their work. Users can’t access applications from the development environment because it’s still in the building stage.
This is the next environment in the software development lifecycle. Here, the software already built will be subject to testing and collating of user feedback for improvements and updates. This environment is the intermediate between the development and the production environment. You can call the testing environment different names, like the beta, stage or staging, qualification, pre-prod, UAT, or quality environment. This environment isn’t just for testing new features; you can also use it to evaluate how the next release will certainly affect what is currently live. This environment is not local machine based but is located on servers because it’s live and available to the world.
This is the final environment in the cycle of software development. Only thoroughly tested codes that are super-ready to be publicized to the world end up in this environment. Also, this is the environment for the software’s end-users to access the final codes after all the updates and testing have been achieved.
Now let’s take a deeper dive into the main focus of the article, which is Test Environment Management and DevOps flow metrics.
What Is Test Environment Management?
Test Environment Management (TEM) is simply the act of taking charge and managing what goes on in the testing environment when your codes have been deployed to the test environment. It’s a function in the whole Software Delivery Life Cycle (SDLC) that enables the software testing cycle by providing a useful and stable test environment to run test scenarios. TEM lays a foundation for a smooth software testing cycles since it aims to provide a convenient environment where testers run their scripts and reproduce errors.
TEM deals with the maintenance and upkeep of the test environment. This involves a wide range of activities. TEM activities make the use of a testing environment successful as expected. These activities include but are not limited to the following:
- Scheduling of environment events like release and deployments
- Management of test data and test environment configurations
- Software demand management, which comprises release demands and project system demands
- Status accounting and real-time reporting
- Monitoring and Investigation of issues in the test environment
- Coordination of environment till resolution of an issue
It’s also worthwhile to know that a TEM’s effectiveness needs to be evaluated and measured. This evaluation is done mostly by considering some metrics that serve as a pointer to how effective and capable your TEM or DevOps is.
Build Failure Rate (BFR)
While you’re testing your application, one thing testing engineers look out for is the percentage of failed builds. The build failure rate is the percentage of failed builds; it’s important that test environments track this metric. This is because developers can easily capture bugs arising from build failure.
Deployment Failure Rate (DFR)
Since the goal of DevOps is to release features to users on demand, deployment failures can cause disruptions. For instance, deployment failures can hinder users from accessing certain features and will act as a bug. To put an end to this, test engineers track the percentage of deployment failures and causes. This will enable them to avert future occurrences.
Automated Detection Rate (ADR)
In test environments, test engineers incorporate automated processes to detect bugs. This is a core foundation of DevOps as it depends heavily on automation.
Mean Time to Environment (MTTE)
The MTTE metric is the average time it takes developers to set up a test environment to verify each delivered code change successfully. This metric is important because it allows developers and testing engineers to take note of any delivered changes.
Mean Time to Detection (MTTD)
This metric measures how long it takes for a defect to be detected in test environment. While time is crucial in DevOps, it’s also important that developers detect bugs and fix them accordingly.
Mean Time to Repair (MTTR)
When bugs are found in codes, it can take between a short period and a long time to fix them. The MTTR measures the time it takes to fix a bug from the time of detection.
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF)
The time between each failure recorded while testing an application is important. This metric is an important maintenance metric in DevOps. For instance, tracking this metric helps engineers understand how safe their product is and if it’ll break in production.
Benefits and Impact of TEM on DevOps Flow Metrics
Proper TEM is of greater benefit and impact on an enterprise’s DevOps flow metrics by helping an enterprise avoid the following:
- Bloated expenditure as a result of poor management of infrastructure assets.
- Delay in the duration of the testing process.
- Poor communication across teams, which will lead to misunderstanding the test requirements.
- Failure in identification of some important defects.
At the same time, it will help enterprises achieve the following outcomes:
- Reduced infrastructure and license costs through better planning and coordination.
- Faster and better operation as a result of fewer system outages, fewer failures, and less disruption.
- A streamlined IT service delivery through an improved operational standardization and automated process of doing business.
- Great End to End (E2E) visibility, which is achieved through information centralization and aggregation within the entire firm.
- Reduced service costs as a result of sharing and resource consolidation embarked upon by the company.
Choosing a TEM Tool
The right tool in the right hands creates wonders. As a test environment manager or a software firm, you can combat these issues emanating from mismanagement of the testing environment and also enjoy the benefits of a proper TEM by procuring beneficial tools like Enov8’s environment manager.
With this tool, you can rest assured that you have access to a platform that centrally controls all systems as well as other components across the whole SDLC. It avails you of the capabilities of modeling of your environment, coordinating events and releases, and supporting changes and incidents. It also helps in configuration management, system contention management, central dashboarding, and orchestration through automation.
Think of measuring DevOps flow metrics proficiently in your test environment as a long-lasting solution to software breaks, bugs, and errors. With this, you can efficiently ship products to users, achieving zero downtime.
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