Monday, August 27, 2012

Test environment (test bed) setup - some important points

The environment on which we carry out testing, is the very first challenge for every testing team. My mentor always says, if our hands are not clean before taking food, we are prone to illness. The environment (also known as Test Bed) plays a vital part during test execution stage. Due to delivery deadlines, delay in hardware readiness, etc., people hurry up in setting up test bed and at a later point, it becomes the finger-pointing item in any bug triage meetings. Many to most of the times, the application may display a misleading message and people will start troubleshooting in one direction; but the actual problem will be at the test bed level. 

To preempt such issues, certain rules we must follow,, every time we start testing.

Rule 1. Test bed must not have development studio or IDE or other tools, except the product binaries and configuration files. If we have Eclipse or NetBeans in a java product test bed, that itself will resolve many conflicts and the product may tend to work fine. But in reality, in production environment, no dev tools will be present. Hence we must ensure that test bed resembles the production software environment to the extent possible.

Rule 2. Check the versions of OS along with all service packs, patches and hot-fixes.  Many times, people just check the OS version and start executing tests. The service packs and hot fixes do have a lot of compatibility and security related dependencies.

Rule 3. Check the webserver properties. Usually the configuration xml files will have memory settings, connection settings, database connectivity settings etc. Unless they are correctly configured, those may start showing up at different paths of the application.

Rule 4. Check database properties.  Things such as case sensitivity, connections, connection pooling settings, unicode settings etc will have a definite impact on the application behavior.

Rule 5. Check the free disk space, memory space and log file space. These items may not immediately cause issues in functional testing, but do have an effect on performance of the system. 

Rule 6. Check the system users who will run the application. This is mostly for rich-client applications. But if the application login is obtained from the LDAP settings, for all applications, the security settings of the logged-in user is key for carrying out certain activities at application and system levels.

Rule 7. Check the background processes/services. These services must be brought up, before others access the application. See if these are up and running without any exceptions.  Adequate configurations must be done to restart these if these fail to run during test execution.

Rule 8. Check the connectivity of the system with server and other machines. Try to ping or connect to the machines that need connectivity. Check the proxies and firewalls as well.

Rule 9. Check your antivirus settings. Bad settings may prevent blocking of requests or unwanted quarantine effects on your application data. This may cause connection or even timeout issues.

Rule 10. Check your browser version  and settings. Especially when you have auto upgrade option ON in your browser, you may not be able to track what happened to your browser since the last access, and silently an upgrade might have happened. That latest version may not be in scope of testing at all.

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