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Is testing at its essence just “faking it”?

SilviaS on ‎04-30-2014 09:13 AM

Guest post by  David Flynn, HP Solution Architect


“Fake ‘till you make it” is an old saying that is most often used to encourage people to act like they belong until they feel like they belong.  There is truth to it.  People often build true confidence by pretending they have it in the first place.


I joined Mercury Interactive in 1997.  Prior to that, I was a developer programming in C and Informix 4gl.  I interviewed for the Mercury position and wondered why anyone would be considering me for this position.  I was young with no pre-sales experience and no formal “testing” experience in my background.  Much to my dismay, I was hired.


After a little bit of training on the products, I was meeting customers, performing demos and executing POC’s.  I was being referred to as the “expert”.  I worked hard and kept playing the role of expert.  I simulated the activities of my successful peers and learned more about the products I sold. The whole time I wondered when I would be discovered as a “fake”?


Many people consider “faking it” as dishonest or under handed, but as a mammal, “faking it” is exactly how we learn and get better.  We mimic our parents as a child to learn how to walk and talk.  We mimic our peers to fit in and understand social order.


“Faking it” is good when it comes to software development.


In load testing, we apply a load to fake a real system into believing real people are accessing it so we can understand how the system under test (SUT) will respond in the real world.  Performance Center has an incredible ability execute thousands of fake users to make the SUT think and act as though real people are requesting information or updating records. 


As powerful as Performance Center is, it cannot fake everything.  Performance Center is designed to drive load at a system…not respond as if it was the systems.  This means performance engineering teams would often have to wait until a complete system is pretty much available before they could start creating the performance scripts or designing the performance scenarios.  Even if there was a “complete test” system available, the performance teams would often have to wait for test data to be loaded or for maintenance windows to ensure they would adversely affect systems like the mainframe.


Download Performance Center for yourself here to see how it improves the efficiency of your performance teams.


HP Service Virtualization is the perfect complement and the true “fake it ‘till you make it” solution.  Service Virtualization enables you to design a virtual service that will simulate either the real service and in some cases a whole back end system. 


Through its ability to support multiple data models and performance models, you have the ability to quickly and easily enable different characteristics you wish to have available during your testing.   This essentially eliminates teams waiting on things to either be delivered or available.  It gives the performance engineers the ability to develop the scripts and scenarios earlier—almost in parallel to the work developers are doing.  It lets them, dare I say it, “shift left” in their testing processes giving them more time run more test against configurations that would not be possible with any normal environment.



When Service Virtualization is implemented properly, you essentially have machine that sits in between the communications of the consumer (client) and the providers (server).  This gives you great flexibility when the development team or test team needs to test all or part of the application under test (AUT). It enables these teams to control if a request from the AUT should be handled by the real service (putting the virtual service in Stand-by mode) or if Service Virtualization should simulate the real service (putting the virtual service in Simulate mode).

Download Service Virtualization here to see what service your organization can simulate.


If your organization is mature or organized enough, you can leverage tools like Hudson, Jenkins or Ant to streamline your testing by having these build managers switch services to Simulate mode after code is successfully checked in and compiled. To take it one step further, you can have performance tests triggered in Performance Center.  All of this controlled from your build manager.


The integration points between build managers, Performance Center and Service Virtualization makes me think of the famous line by Ron Popeil for his automated rotisserie where he says “Set it and forget it!”  (I think I will save this discussion for another time.)


For now, when the back ends aren’t built yet, or are not available; when facing a charge to access them or when setting up test machines for the back-end services is cost prohibited; you can now “fake it ‘till you make it”. This ability keeps everyone on track, on budget, and increasing the velocity of delivering code.


Performance Center and Service Virtualization…a perfect complement so you can “fake it ‘till you make it”.

Now you can download Performance Center for yourself and see how it will help you drive load at a system.  



David Flynn, a Solution Architect with HP, has worked with the ALM suite of products since joining Mercury Interactive in 1997.  During his time with Mercury Interactive and HP he has covered various solutions such ALM, UFT, Performance Center/Loadrunner, Diagnostics, BSM and Universal CMDB.



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