Automated Test Data is Key to CI/CD and DevOps

Software delivery teams across the industry have embraced new(ish) approaches to development, from the different flavours of agile, to DevOps, Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery. This is reflected in the latest Practitest State of Testing Report, which found that 92% of participants have adopted agile development methodologies [1].

A sometimes-overlooked question must be raised when talking about any form of rapid, iterative development: “How can test data management match the speed and automation of CI/CD and DevOps pipelines?”

While testing and development continue to automate and evolve thanks to new methodologies, TDM is often overlooked in this process. Outdated TDM practices are then a burden to DevOps and CI/CD workflows. For continuous testing and development, test data must be available on demand, and at all times. Organisations must consider moving from manual test data management to automated test data. In fact, Test Data Automation is the key to successful CI/CD and DevOps initiatives.

THE VALUE OF CI/CD AND DEVOPS

Before considering the value of automating test data for DevOps and CI/CD, let’s consider just some of the benefits of DevOps and CI/CD. This will provide a better understanding of the full potential of Test Data Automation.

Recent industry research suggests that many organisations are enjoying some of the benefits of DevOps and CI/CD. This is often thanks to the many great DevOps tools which allow teams to work rapidly and in parallel across the SDLC. In fact, 57% of developers report that they are releasing code 2x faster thanks to DevOps [2]!

Increased delivery speed is not the only benefit of DevOps. For instance, 62% of DevOps teams report that they fix bugs faster, within eight hours in fact. 51% also state that DevOps teams have a culture of quality, testing early and often throughout development [3]. DevOps can also encourage cross team collaboration, with 25% of DevOps teams describing their collaboration process as “totally seamless” [3].

While countless organisations report the benefits of DevOps and CI/CD, there is often much room for improvement regarding test data. Data often holds CI/CD and DevOps initiatives. To realise the manifest benefits of DevOps and CI/CD, organisations must rethink traditional test data management methods.

DATA IS HOLDING CI/CD AND DEVOPS BACK

With the rise of DevOps and CI/CD delivery pipelines, test data has become a clear bottleneck. Organisations often stick with using outdated, manual data provisioning methods. While testers and developers run rapid and repeatable automation, provisioning teams struggle to run slow and manual processes. Test data provisioning in turn takes weeks or months, often requiring longer than an iteration. It cannot therefore provide the variety or volumes of data needed for in-sprint testing and development, at the pace of new requests made across DevOps and CI/CD pipelines.​

Unavailable, incomplete, and inaccurate test data is in turn a huge bottleneck for CI/CD and DevOps. As DevOps pipelines produce new data requests at lightning speed, they are met by slow and siloed data provisioning.​ They must send requests to a team who are equipped with a mix of scripts, in-house processes, and manual effort. There is further little reusability or ability to react to changing requests, leading to ever-longer waits for incomplete and out-of-date data:

Parallel, automated pipelines, siloed data provisioning
Parallel, automated pipelines, siloed data provisioning

Parallel and automated development pipelines today are fuelled by data — without it, no testing or development is possible. To realise the benefits of CI/CD and DevOps, organisations must fix these test data bottlenecks.

To learn more about the impact of test data on DevOps and CI/CD, watch Data breaks DevOps: Why you need automated test data in CI/CD

TEST DATA AUTOMATION, AUTOMATED TEST DATA

​ This is why Curiosity have built Test Data Automation.​ Test Data Automation provides a solution for test data bottlenecks in CI/CD and DevOps pipelines. With Test Data Automation, parallel testers, developers and automation enjoy complete and compliant data on demand, rapidly moving requirements from idea to release.

Test Data Automation comes equipped with a comprehensive set of technologies that provide complete and compliant data to parallel teams and frameworks. This DevOps-ready toolset includes:​

These technologies combine to create data that is complete, compliant, as well as available in parallel. However, Test Data Automation goes further by making these technologies reusable on demand by manual and automated data requesters. This provides data on-the-fly and “just in time”.

​In other words, Test Data Automation brings test data provisioning in-line with the speed, automation and flexibility found across CI/CD and DevOps pipelines. This automation and ability to react to evolving requests automatically fulfils a range of data requests made by parallel teams and frameworks:​

​Instead of being held up by slow and inaccurate data provisioning, test automation frameworks, parallel teams and CI/CD pipelines can trigger combinable test data processes on-the-fly. This unlocks rapid and rigorous testing throughout every sprint.​ ​

For organisations who have invested substantially in CI/CD, automation, and DevOps initiatives, fixing test data challenges can be pivotal for success.​ In other words, making complete and compliant data available on-the-fly to parallel teams and frameworks offers immense business value.

Want to learn more about Test Data Automation? Click here to book a meeting with a Curiosity expert!

CONTINUOUS DATA, SUCCESSFUL DELIVERY

With the rise of DevOps and CI/CD, testing and development has evolved and automated. Often, test data management was left behind. For DevOps and CI/CD initiatives to succeed, TDM must follow suit and evolve. This is why Curiosity built Test Data Automation.

With Test Data Automation, organisations can finally automate their test data management and match the speed and automation of CI/CD and DevOps pipelines. Continuous access to test ready data across the SDLC overcomes test data bottlenecks and in turn unlocks the value of DevOps and CI/CD development. Automate your test data today!

Want to learn more about Test Data Automation? Click here to book a meeting with a Curiosity expert!

To see Test Data Automation live, watch Development has moved on: Test data needs to catch up with containers, microservices and “the world of the API”. This webinar introduces database containers filled with rich virtualised databases, enabling on demand delivery of database environments for development and testing.

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About the author: Mantas Dvareckas, is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Curiosity Software. He holds an MSc in Digital Marketing Management, and is passionate about technology and gaming.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Practitest’s State of Testing Report 2021 — https://www.practitest.com/assets/pdf/state-of-testing-report-2021.pdf

[2] GitLab’s 2021 Global DevSecOps Survey — https://learn.gitlab.com/c/2021-devsecops-report?x=u5RjB_

[3] Mabl’s State of Testing in DevOps Report 2021 — https://engage.mabl.com/rs/069-VDB-236/images/2021-State-of-Testing-in-DevOps-Benchmark-Report.pdf

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