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Service Virtualization and API Testing

Cynthia Dunlop

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Service Virtualization Case Study

A SaaS-Based Simulated Test Environment Enables Continuous Access to a HighlyRestricted Dependency

Service Virtualization Case Study: Cloud-Based Continuous Access to a Highly-Restricted Government System

An education portal application developed by a European non-profit organization links students to the higher education institutions where they wish to study, as well as to the government agency that helps them finance their education. When educational institutions want to develop and test transactions involving this portal, they need access to the behavior of the interconnected government agency’s system—however, this system is not readily available for testing.

Service Virtualization provides these institutions continuous, secure access to the government system behavior that is critical for completing thorough end-to-end tests against the portal application.

Introduction

A European non-profit organization’s education portal provides a centralized platform for standardizing student application, registration, and administration processes across higher education institutions. The application is an important link between the higher education institutions and the government agency responsible for financing education opportunities.

students

Students submit application and registration information through the web portal, then this information is sent to the designated educational institutions. All in all, the portal links more than 10 types of student information systems (SIS) from more than 50 educational institutions to the government agency’s web services.

The Challenge: Completing the Desired Scope of Testing in an Incomplete Test Environment

Since the portal application is highly interconnected with disparate systems, exercising a realistic transaction through this system requires access to a complex test environment. However, access to a complete test environment—comprising both the portal and the government agency’s services—was extremely limited. As a result of these test environment access limitations, educational institutions building out interactions with the portal application were unable to execute the desired scope of testing.

A SaaS-Based Simulated Test Environment Enables Continuous Access to a Highly-Restricted Dependency

Service Virtualization now provides these institutions 24/7 access to a complete and realistic test environment—with the behavior of the highly-restricted government services available via a secure, cloud-based simulated test environment.

Using Parasoft’s Service Virtualization solution, the non-profit who developed the portal could capture the way their application interacted with the government’s services, then create a simulated test environment that made this same behavior available to partners—whenever and wherever they wanted to access it. Testing could then be performed with zero impact on the actual government services.

Parasoft executed the first phase of this project along with a general software testing services firm. This initial rollout focused on simulating basic interactions in a manner that safeguarded security and data privacy. Communication between the portal and the ”virtualized” government systems runs via SSL-certification and a protected connection. Stunnel handles these protected connections in the virtual test environment. Test messages are sent from the portal’s test environment, then the content is processed by Parasoft Service Virtualization, which then returns Stunnel-secured responses to the portal’s test environment.

The initial experiences with Service Virtualization were so positive that the test team decided to extend the rollout. In the second phase, a specialized Parasoft services partner helped increase the complexity of the simulated behavior, enabling partners to achieve broader test coverage (e.g., vs. ”what-if,” security, concurrency, fail-over, performance, and negative test scenarios). The end result was so realistic that it was difficult to distinguish the simulated test environment from the actual one.

Summing up their experiences with Parasoft Service Virtualization, the test team explained, ”Thanks to the simulated test environment, we can provide higher education institutions and SIS suppliers continuous access to a complete and realistic test environment—even though access to the actual test environment is extremely limited. This allows them to test earlier, faster, and more completely… which in turn gives them confidence that critical transactions through this very complex and distributed system meet the highest quality expectations.”

More Stories By Cynthia Dunlop

Cynthia Dunlop, Lead Content Strategist/Writer at Tricentis, writes about software testing and the SDLC—specializing in continuous testing, functional/API testing, DevOps, Agile, and service virtualization. She has written articles for publications including SD Times, Stickyminds, InfoQ, ComputerWorld, IEEE Computer, and Dr. Dobb's Journal. She also co-authored and ghostwritten several books on software development and testing for Wiley and Wiley-IEEE Press. Dunlop holds a BA from UCLA and an MA from Washington State University.