Automated testing is adapting to the ever-evolving trends in the software industry. More companies are replacing the traditional approach of running automation suites on separate hardware and software with a comprehensive virtual test lab.
The question still stands: Is virtual machine automation just another fad, or is virtual machine testing worth the investment?
According to our experts, yes it is. Not only does this evolution resolve many challenges in setting up test infrastructure within your CI CD pipeline integration, but it also allows your team to focus more on implementing best testing practices for your release cycle and less on preparing and maintaining a test environment.
This guide aims to answer the most pressing questions about using virtual machines for automated testing, including:
- What are virtual machines?
- What is automation testing?
- How do virtual machines and test automation work together?
- What are the benefits of virtual machine testing?
What are Virtual Machines?
Virtual machines—sometimes called virtual PCs—are software applications that emulate the behavior of real computers. In virtual machine testing, QA engineers mimic different computers with various operating systems on a single physical computer. QA teams can also build an entire virtual test lab where several machines are designated for a variety of virtual computers and OS.
Virtual machines work independently, meaning that you can launch multiple virtual platforms simultaneously from one computer. Applications and web browsers on a virtual machine run as if they were installed and accessed on their predetermined physical system, allowing testers to execute application tests across various platforms from one computer.
What is Automation Testing?
Automation testing is designed to cover more ground within your development cycle. As your test automation tools perform complex, time-consuming test cases with impeccable accuracy, your QA testers can focus their attention on exploratory and regression testing as well as address additional business priorities within the project.
In automation testing, QA teams perform tests with the assistance of tools designed for automated software testing. QA engineers follow a test automation checklist in order to expedite the process of executing repetitive tasks during a release cycle, be it for unit testing, smoke testing, integration testing or functional testing.
How Do They Work Together?
You now understand what are virtual machines and what is automation testing. But how does virtual machine automation work within the QA testing process?
Virtual machine testing allows testers to speed up the QA process by accessing multiple OS and computer systems from a physical machine. That being said, testers still have to run all their test cases across all possible systems, which can be a time-consuming task when done manually on one machine.
Virtual machine automation further expedites the testing process. By running test automation across computer systems and operating systems simultaneously, your team receives accurate test results in half the time so that deployments are never delayed.
Why Should You Use Virtual Machines for Automated Testing
Every team aims to reduce their release cycle costs. Fortunately, virtual machine testing saves money when setting up a test infrastructure and provides additional value to your QA testing team and development cycle.
Below are eight reasons why your QA team should consider adding virtual machine automation to your CI CD pipeline integration strategy:
- Virtual Testing Lab on Single Server: Automated testing for web applications can easily be performed without depending on back-end configurations. However, testing desktop applications—for example, those widely used in healthcare and enterprise management solutions—requires validating the app’s compatibility with different configurations. Because setting this up on a physical machine isn’t the ideal approach, virtual machine automation can help you create multiple virtual machines on a single server.
- CI/CD Pipeline Compatible: A great way to integrate continuous integration testing and collaboration is by including virtual machine automation into your approach. CI/CD uses the concepts of virtual machine testing and containerization, so you can easily apply automation testing with your CI CD pipeline integration.
- Scaling Up and Down: As your testing infrastructure setup uses virtual machine automation, you can easily scale the machine up and down per your testing needs. When the need to run an automated test of an embedded application on multiple operating systems, you can create several virtual machines that mimic the required systems and trigger nightly batch executions by simultaneously spinning up multiple machines.
- Virtualization Over Cloud: Many companies like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure provide 'Platform As A Service' (PaaS) over Cloud, which uses virtualization. Using cloud platforms for testing can be useful in the following scenarios:
- Long and short term automation testing projects
- Analyzing the feasibility of automation testing in an existing project
- Low frequency of running automation test
- Testing at different geo-locations
- Increased Security: Due to security concerns, you may have to setup an application and database server in an isolated network to eliminate any chances of network security failure. For such requirements, you can set up a test environment on virtual machines that is created in a separate network and isolated from your regular network.
- Running Tests in a Controlled Environment: As a best practice, you should execute test automation in controlled environments. To follow this practice, you can set up the controlled environment on virtual machines to get more reliable results from automation testing.
- Faster Release Cycles and Time to Market: Virtual testing environments will enable you to execute your automation tests on multiple virtual machines running parallel. This will give you quick testing results and accelerate your release cycles.
- Low Operational and Maintenance Cost: You can create virtual machines with minimal time using different virtualization software. As a result, there is:
- No need to frequently update the software and hardware drivers
- Reduced operational and maintenance costs
- Enhanced resource utilization
Before implementing virtualization, you should first analyze your testing requirements and the feasibility of using virtual machines. Running parallel virtual machines during testing and applying the right testing tools for virtualization are two ways to further accelerate virtual machine automation into your QA testing practices.
Still unsure how to apply virtual machine testing into your development cycle? Partner with a QA services provider like QASource to keep your release cycle on track. Our team of testing experts specialize in automation testing and security testing with years of experience in implementing test automation within virtual machine testing. Let our experts guide your team through the process of creating a virtual test lab so that you develop the right procedures for QA testing. Get in touch with a QASource expert today.