4 Best Ways to Automate Microservices Testing

Vaibhav Srivastava
23 May 2022

The term Microservices is not new in the software industry but has garnered enormous popularity in the last few years. It was actually Peter Rodgers who first coined the term Microservices in a broader spectrum in 2005. Since then, a significant number of organizations that were working in DevOps have now shifted to cater to their applications development requirements to microservices. The fact is, numerous companies are aiming to achieve better enterprise agility and bring in a system more efficient than the traditional monolithic architecture.

On the other hand, microservices have already become a critical part of numerous enterprise architectures. But their implementations require rigorous testing to make sure that the services are working satisfactorily and are orchestrated according to the requirements of the business. However, manual testing is not just tedious and time-consuming but is not fully reliable. Presently, most teams are advocating automated testing in the CI/CD pipeline, hence, the testing procedures must be included with an automation-first approach.  

So, here we have articulated the 4 best ways to automate microservices testing. But before that, let’s just understand more about microservices and how they are different from their counterpart, monolithic architecture.

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Monolithic vs Microservices

Monolithic architecture usually comprises a big single system which comes with one codebase. It is quite a challenging task in monolithic applications to separate services for their independent scaling. This is because their design becomes more and more complicated with the evolution of the application. As they are made using variables or services which are highly dependable on each other, it gets very exhausting to make changes in the applications built utilizing monolithic architecture.

Contrary to monolithic, microservices architectures are developed while keeping all the business operations in mind. Each service in microservice is independent of other services from the code level itself, making it a lot more convenient to deploy and configure.

Now, when we know how monolithic architecture is different from Microservices, let’s find out the best ways to automate microservice testing.

1. Unit Testing

What is Unit Testing?

Testing where individual components or units of a software application are tested is known as unit testing. The purpose of performing unit testing is to verify that each component of the coded software is working as intended. It is done during the coding phase by the developers themselves. Unit testing in SDLC is the first level of testing that is carried out before integration testing.

Approaches to Unit Testing

– White-box Testing

It is a testing approach in which internal design, its structure, and software codes are checked to verify and improve design and usability. As the codes can be seen by the testers in white box testing so it is also known as open box testing, transparent box testing, clear box testing, glass box testing and code-based testing.

– Black-box Testing

Black box testing, which is also known as behavioural testing, is one of the unit testing approaches in which testers check the functionalities of software without knowing about the internal paths, implementation details and internal code structure. It primarily focuses on testing the specifications as told by the customer.

– Gray-box Testing

Gray box testing is another testing approach to test a software application when testers have partial information regarding the internal design of the product. Gray box testing aims to detect the flaws due to the inappropriate structure of the code. Different types of gray-box testing include regression testing, matrix testing, orthogonal pattern testing and pattern testing.

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Unit Testing to Test Microservices 

Microservices are developed on the concept of breaking even the most minor units and then, these services work and communicate together over a network with each other. Due to this functionality, the unit test becomes the go-to test to verify the individual microservice independently. Also, integrating unit testing with microservices assists testers to evade false positives, helps run the test faster and hence limits the scope of testing. If a developer does any modification in the microservice, the tester just has to do the unit test to ensure the stability of the altered components instead of testing the whole app.

2. Integration Testing

What is Integration Testing?

Integration testing also referred to as integration and testing (I&T) is a type of application testing in which different software components or modules are integrated together as a group and then tested. The idea of doing integration testing is to validate data communication and verify if the modules after getting integrated together are working satisfactorily.

Approaches to Integration Testing

– Big-Bang Testing

It is a testing approach where all the modules are integrated together in one go and then tested as a single unit. The components when combined as a set are taken as an entity during testing. However, as the fault localization is quite difficult in Big Bang testing, it is best suited for testing compact systems only.

– Bottom-up Testing

Bottom-up is a testing strategy where the lower-level components are tested first and then they are used to check the components of higher levels. When the components of the lower level are tested and integrated, then the component for the next level is formed. This process keeps on running until the topmost component is tested.  

– Top-down Testing

The top-down testing approach is in which higher-level modules are tested first and then the testing is done for the lower level modules until all the modules are verified successfully. Significant flaws in the design can be ascertained and rectified at the early stage as they are tested in the beginning. 

– Sandwich or Hybrid Testing

Sandwich or hybrid testing is a process in which lower-level modules are tested together with top-level modules and simultaneously, both these modules are integrated and tested together as a system.

Integration Testing to Test Microservices

For integration testing

Integration testing is one of the best ways to automate microservices testing as it verifies that the concrete module or subsystem is communicating accordingly, instead of checking the external elements. It is because of this fact that these integration tests should be done for basic error and success paths to inspect integration between the external component and the subsystem. Integration tests ensure that the database schema taken by the code fits with what is there in the stored data. Integration testing gives confidence that the logic included in the modules which comprise the microservice is correct. 

3. Contract Testing

What is Contract Testing?

In simple words, contract testing is a method to test the integration of two applications in isolation in order to validate that the messages they send or receive comply with what is documented in the “contract”. 

Approaches to Contract Testing

– Consumer-driven Contract Testing

Consumer-driven contract testing is one of the types of contract testing that make sure that the provider matches the expectations set by the consumer. For the applications which communicate via queues, the message would involve verifying that the expected messages are generated by the provider, and for the applications which use HTTP or any other synchronous protocols, it would be checking the requests and responses from HTTP.

– API Contract Testing

API contract testing is a process in which the APIs developed by the producer are shared with the consumer for their usage along with the contract stating and the requisite for the execution of the process. If there is any change in the contract, the producer has to notify the consumers beforehand.

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Contract Testing to Test Microservices

Contract testing is basically a process to assure that two separate microservices are compatible with one another and are communicating seamlessly. It helps in capturing the interactions that happen between each microservice and then keeping them in contracts which can be utilized to confirm that both the parties comply with it. Another thing that makes it one of the best ways to automate microservices testing is that contract testing can be performed speedily and doesn’t require to be integrated with external systems for execution. It does not just offer greater internal microservice design but also provides confidence that the integrated systems are compatible with the code prior to its release.

4. End-to-End Testing

What is End-to-End Testing?

End-to-end testing is a process that is used in the software development life cycle (SDLC) to check the entire application from beginning to the end including testing its integration with external systems. The aim of performing end-to-end testing is to check the complete software for data integrity, communication and dependencies with other databases, interfaces and systems.

Approaches to End-to-End Testing

– Horizontal End-to-End Testing

It is a testing process to verify every transaction or workflow of each independent application from beginning to end and check that the related process takes place accurately. Though horizontal end-to-end testing is used for a single interface or application yet numerous software systems in today’s world connect with external applications through those developed internally as well as third-party vendors.

– Vertical End-to-End Testing

It is a testing process in which a tester breaks the application into layers and then tests each of them independently from top to bottom. UPI database calls and API requests are to name a few examples of these application layers.

End-to-End Testing to Test Microservices

End-to-end testing to test microservices is done to verify if the entire process flow is working as per the requirements or not. This also includes validating all the services and database integrations. End-to-end testing is more on the business-facing side. This test helps to ensure that everything from proxies and firewalls to load balancers are configured and working satisfactorily. Microservices do not depend on one another and their services can be used in numerous manners by the user. In this, there are several microservices for one behaviour that interact with each other to react to that particular behaviour.

The Bottom Line

Microservices will disrupt the entire IT ecosystem in the next few years to come but it also comes with challenges that couldn’t be seen through naked eyes. A team equipped with the right skill set can assure the intricate system architecture developed using microservices can offer the performance and scalability required for the business. For automating microservice testing, there are a plethora of tools available to choose from when it comes to automation testing. However, it is best left to the discretion of testers to pick the best set of tools that can match all the requirements of quality assurance. 

At Quarks, we make sure that all the aspects of testing are done by experienced professionals with expertise in automation testing. We offer testing as a service and have catered to clients from various industries. If you are looking out to augment your testing requirements, feel free to reach us at business@www.qtsolv.com.


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