"Can you create test data? Can you populate it into a database? Can you do it at a reasonable price point? Grid-Tools have proven they can do all of this. In truth, I would be surprised how anyone launching a big system could do without a tool like this. It really is a mandatory thing to do."
Applied Card Technologies
What is SOA?SOA (Service-Orientated Architecture) frameworks are based around the concept of re-usable services, in which messages are sent and received between electronic devices. The most common of these, Web Services, generate information requests using WSDLs (Web Service Description Language), which use a uniform format to allow users to know exactly what types of information to expect once the receiving systems responds the HTTP, MQ or JMS request.
SOA development poses many challenges for testers. Modern IT systems often have large, complex infrastructures, containing numerous cross-system dependencies. This can result in a number of key problems for testing teams, including:
Whilst tools that allow users to record and playback message streams can help in building more stable testing and development environments, these solutions offer little in the way of building complex data, based on rules and templates, to improve the quality of test cycles.
Some typical problems that can't be solved by simply playing back data from past traffic are:
Another alternative solution is virtualization. However, although some virtualization products offer a degree of control in allowing 1:n relationships for sub-nodes, these require developers to create static data in spread sheets, or maintain complex scripts. As a result, this can end up being a laborious and inefficient method that is prone to errors.
Intelligent Virtual Services (IVS) is the new virtualization solution from Grid-Tools, which allows users to generate fit for purpose, structured, compliant test data and service message responses to improve the quality of your SOA and MQ/JMS message testing and development.
IVS uses a virtual service layer to replicate the behaviour and structure of SOA message system. This virtual layer eliminates the constraints of cross-system dependencies on traditional SOA testing. By creating a virtual service layer, IVS enables testing teams to work in a stable, isolated environment, minimising disruption and delays in waiting for data to flow downstream. The result is high quality, efficient SOA message testing and development.
IVS allows users to create stubbed responses (Virtual Endpoints), either through echo or record and playback responses. However, where IVS differentiates itself from its competitors is by utilising the power of Grid-Tools' Enterprise Data Masking™ and Datamaker™ solutions in combination with the powerful Portus SOA gateway from Ostia, to provide fully compliant, intelligent, fit for purpose virtual responses for SOA testing and development.
Dynamic Service Masking uses the industrial-strength masking functionality of Enterprise Data Masking™ to obfuscate sensitive production messages, 'in-flight'. Dynamic Service Masking uses automated masking algorithms to ensure consistency across all executions, and to maintain referential and business integrity. Dynamic Service Masking provides users with fully compliant, meaningful test messages for high quality, secure SOA testing.
IVS also enables users to create synthetic data responses, which share all the characteristics and structure of 'live' messages, but none of the sensitive data. Using the power of Grid-Tools' Datamaker™ and Ostia's Portus, synthetic responses can be created for a dramatically wider variation of responses, providing 100% code and functional coverage.
Using IVS, organizations can significantly improve the stability and quality of their SOA testing cycles. Testing fit for purpose message responses earlier in the development lifecycle also means fewer delays, and consequently, a significant improvement to the bottom line!
IVS allows users to isolate test teams from other services under development by freezing views of the existing service, mapping the traffic from the new service to the old one.
In traditional SOA environments, cross-system dependencies can create instability, as changes in one area can create inconsistencies unless they are made throughout the project. However, by freezing a view of an existing service and creating a virtual test layer, test teams can work in isolation, meaning changes no longer cause disruption elsewhere.
By working in isolation, development and test teams can also work in parallel; meaning that downstream testing is not delayed by waiting for data, or others working with a different version. As a result, messages can be tested earlier in the development cycle. By using an IVS virtual layer, you can increase the quality, efficiency and cost effectiveness of your SOA testing.
IVS Dynamic Service Masking allows users to dynamically mask, or obfuscate, request and response messages 'in-flight', for use in non-production environments. Using the powerful data masking functionality of the Enterprise Data Masking™ suite, Dynamic Service Masking helps you to provision the meaningful, compliant messages needed for high-quality testing.
Dynamic Service Masking intercepts messages, in-flight', then uses built-in industrial strength, or user-defined, automated masking functions to de-identify sensitive message content. This allows fast building of secure message feeds, allowing data to be quickly released to onshore and offshore teams.
As part of the Enterprise Data Masking™ suite, IVS executes masking functions across all data sources, producing consistent, high quality, meaningful, compliant test messages.
Normal traffic flow to and from a service can result in the same request returning different responses over time, for example a credit rating or an account balance could change the second time they are called. IVS allows you to record traffic and replay exactly the same response over and over. Using the Record and Playback feature in IVS will provide a secure and stable environment for testers and developers to work without using live services.
IVS allows users to create stubbed responses in two ways: either by echoing back static values (which have been manually created by developers), or recording 'live' responses and requests, then playing them back. This produces structured, realistic test messages, making test cycles more meaningful, repeatable and efficient, subsequently improving your testing quality.
IVS also allows users to use the power of Grid-Tools' Datamaker™ to create synthetic responses modelled on 'live traffic'. Using originally recorded messages, Datamaker™ can be used to build more sophisticated and appropriate messages for services under test.
Using stubbed versions of real responses provides realistic, but narrow code coverage. By creating synthetic responses, logically modelled on the 'live traffic', richer, more complex responses can be generated, allowing testers to dramatically increase their code coverage and test the outlying scenarios that cause systems to fail. Synthetic data creation also allows you to generate invalid data to make your testing cycles more robust and realistic. It's all in the name - Intelligent Virtual Services = Intelligently provisioned SOA test messages.
Synthetic also ensures full regulatory compliance in your testing, as although it has all the characteristics of 'live' data (and consequently maintains full business and referential integrity), whilst containing none of the sensitive content that needs to be protected.Back to the top