Enterprise organizations are recognizing that test automation is no longer a nice to have, but instead, a must-have. But what kind of test automation? That's when the evolutionary process of next-gen validation involved discovering how much the devil was in the details of realizing the value of a test automation solution.
Since then, organizations have been finding themselves needing to answer a host of questions to ensure their testing strategy is the right approach for their complex and evolving needs. They have a lot of questions, a few include:
Do we have the comprehensive expertise in-house to perform this level of testing?
If not, how long will it take to ramp that up, and what will it cost in Capex and Opex?
Is our automation solution end-to-end, and continuous, or does it consist only of siloed solutions that are not integrated holistically and flexibly?
Is the software solution for our test automation and campaign development mature, robust, and proven?
The list goes on. But that last question is a critical one.
Looking under the hood in next-gen continuous testing
As the industry embraces DevOps and continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) processes, operators need to automate testing and assurance functions and seamlessly integrate them with CI/CD workflows. We call this revamped test and assurance approach continuous testing and continuous monitoring (CT/CM). For the rapidly evolving technology requirements of enterprise networks, CT and “active test” CM solutions must support new cloud-native architectures and span the entire lab-to-live technology lifecycle, end-to-end. At the very core of requirements, however, is the software solution that supports this level of extreme test automation.
As a pioneer in test automation, Spirent developed a suite of test automation software solutions:, supporting test lab automation, and for test campaign and automation development. Considered by many to be the industry's most powerful platform for enterprise network test and verification, Velocity iTest, in its 9.3 release, provides product validation teams the ability to create automated, reusable tests quickly and efficiently. This supports creating comprehensive reusable test suites, rather than performing inefficient manual testing. This accelerates the capability to find bugs earlier in the development cycle when it’s faster and easier to implement fixes. This speeds new technology releases and improves quality. And for enterprise networks, with the complex disaggregated architecture, multiple disparate vendors, and supporting continuous, faster, and frequent releases, manual testing simply can’t address the evolving compliance challenges.
But what are iTest’s proof points?
Case studies in Velocity iTest success
Through its years of evolution, Spirent’s Velocity iTest has delivered tangible value, that continues returning on its investment. In one case, while literally accelerating their race to revenue, Aston Martin Racing adopted Spirent’s iTest Velocity solution. The pit-lane LAN setup was designed and tested at the Aston Martin Racing factory and had to be rebuilt at each circuit for every day on the track – every practice day, qualification day, and race day. The network comprised multiple VLANs for different activities, resulting in lengthy manual test times, making it harder to ensure the configuration across the whole network was identical to previous days. With Velocity iTest, however, once the test scripts were authored, they could be run with a single click or automatically, triggering an automated sequence of tests followed by a test report. The result was that tests could be run in a fraction of the original time and minimized risk often incurred in manual testing strategies.
A world leader in test and measurement solutions, Calnex had that age-old problem – that devil in the details. They’d adopted a brittle freeware test automation solution that simply didn’t work for them. Only a paltry 10% of their test campaign had been automated, and the QA test team’s morale was deteriorating. After Calnex brought in Spirent’s team of experts to implement iTest Velocity and created an integrated and extensible integrated development environment (IDE), over 75% of their tests were automated, and they expanded their Continuous Test Automation team by 5X to support the expansive growth in their product lines.
A major semiconductor company in the wireless and broadband communication business needed to facilitate validation of their chipsets to accelerate the approval process to ensure their chipsets met the industry’s standards and existing test criteria. In response, the chipset company needed to automate initial testing to avoid time-intensive cycles on future manual regression. This required a test system that accommodated 24/7 regression testing. Spirent Velicity iTest made that possible, along with providing a robust and easy-to-use automation tool enabling QA automated testing and allowed developers to write sustainable automated functional tests that were reusable for regression testing. Other benefits of this engagement are captured in the graphic below.
Our discussions with operators and network vendors reveal a persistent struggle to find people with skill sets in enterprise-complex and multiple domains, like networking, cloud, AI/ML, security, and CI/CD automation. Those experts are in high demand from competition, not just within enterprise, but also other industries built atop IT processes and architectures. Even when the right expertise is available, time pressures typically won’t allow for months or years to develop best-practice CT/CM methodologies and workflows for cutting-edge technologies.
Without the right experts and the right extreme test automation tools like Spirent’s Velocity iTest, too many are struggling with the devil in the details, while the competition is heading for the victory lap in the race to revenue.