Exploiting Service Virtualization Within Development Environments

By CIOReview | Tuesday, August 30, 2016
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Developers find building software on reusable parts quite resourceful. This trend, touted as “componentization” essentially involves disintegration of a code into interchangeable segments. The approach helps developers to gain an edge in the market by deploying software faster, while ensuring quality and cost effectiveness. However, componentization has its own pitfalls, which become highly prominent in test environments. “Software has become more componentized, which means testing it is much more complicated. This also makes development more of a team effort, which also increases test complexity,” expresses Tom Nolle, President, CIMI Corporation, a strategic consulting company. Implementing ALM successfully in development environments isn’t a cakewalk anymore as unforeseen collisions among the components continue to impede the process. Moreover, software development and change cycles tend to affect aspects such as compliance, utility, and security if not administered properly. The use of conventional resources makes it practically impossible to test and deploy software efficiently in such environment. Threat modeling can serve as a precautionary measure in earlier stages helping enterprises to compile a list of vulnerabilities which could affect them, besides helping them ascertain their position.

Most of the agile ALM tools are employed only in linear, non-colliding ecosystem. Developers lack the ability to customize such processes to meet one’s needs. Service virtualization is the remedy to this problem, as it helps developers configure component functionality. Service virtualization implements ALM techniques effectively by eliminating component dependencies, which tend to affect the processes. Software development and testing teams acquire access to the virtualized components, which were previously part of a dependent component ecosystem. With the help of the virtualized segments, developers can continue testing and deploying software without the need for accessing the actual dependent component. Tom explains, “Service virtualization provides a stable platform for representing other components while testing one component or an assembly of components. If you try to test a component system it’s hard to know, if something fails. It demands effective enterprise architect processes ahead of development to establish a baseline for data validity.”

However, to successfully execute service virtualization, enterprises have to analyze and organize aspects related to ALM and componentization. It is pertinent firms comprehend what the technique helps to solve, besides thinking in an evolutionary manner in terms of incorporating new methodologies. Service virtualization will rise when legacy methods fail to address the problems of componentization.

Service Virtualization in Testing Environments

Testing segments in application development process often becomes impossible owing to the hassles surrounding component interdependencies. Moreover, unit-testing isn’t viable as it is solely based on the developer’s own view of functionalities. Service virtualization plays a key role in such scenario to surround the component development in a virtualized environment that can do the demanded task without needing to separate the original dependent part. The approach truly aims at virtualizing the component and user elements, involved in software development and testing processes.

The potential of this approach is what separates it from the rest. Using service virtualization, a component can be tested on multiple applications and simultaneously in instances which require the same component, without having to create a functional ecosystem of the original application. The methodology essentially employs prototyping the development of a simulation framework to address complications pertaining to the dependencies on a component level. The framework must foster capabilities such as supporting result analysis and response timing; and generating test data at target volumes. The service virtualization shell can’t execute the testing of the application properly in the absence of these capabilities.

Employing the Use of Transformation Diagram

Transformation diagrams help to sketch the links between primary data and primary output involved within business processes. Architects today are immensely considering its use to demonstrate how source and destination fields are related to each other on the basis of the primary data, besides pointing out the processes which lead to the creation of each transformation in the diagram. Enterprises leverage the use of these diagrams to create reliable simulations for depicting situations, which otherwise pose difficulty in simulation. Componentization can be re-imagined in a reasonable step-wise changing process from input to output using this technique. “A transformation diagram shows how data flows through components and how it’s changed along the way. It’s part of recognizing what should be presented at any point,” says Tom on the significance of simulations in testing environment.

Service virtualization works alongside the transformation diagram, helping to replace the virtualized simulation of the component with its live module. This approach helps to eliminate any complications noticed in the development and support of service virtualization by creating a comprehensive and modular infrastructure. Any simulation solely depends on the coordination between input/output elements involved in the process and the service virtualization entities. The accuracy of the simulation, however, depends on the ability to demonstrate each component appropriately on the transformation diagram. By incorporating these approaches, the redundancies observed in application and software testing environments can be effectively tackled.