As SOA projects move from pilots to mainstream enterprise applications traditional quality assurance departments are being asked to test Web services and other SOA components in ways that haven't done before.
The demand for SOA testing tools is behind Hewlett-Packard's release today of updated tools for SOA quality, HP Service Test and HP Service Test Management, said Tim Hall, director of HP Software's SOA Center. The new versions of the test tools, integrated with Systinet technology HP acquired in 2006, along with an update of its SOA Management tool, were developed in response to the changing status of SOA and the new role of QA among HP customers, he said.
"What's happened is people are saying SOA has proven itself in this group, in this department," Hall said. "This technology works. It's delivering on the agility and flexibility that was promised. Now, they are asking how can they transform this into a repeatable, process-driven approach that can be supported by the people we have in our IT organization.
As SOA goes mainstream, he said the role of QA, traditionally focused on application testing, is being transformed.
"We're seeing QA's role change dramatically with the adoption of SOA," Hall said. "These are the folks that are responsible for the go/no-go decision. What we saw in the last 12 months was that more and more QA people were being asked to test services where in the past they were only asked to test applications."
Veteran software testers were scratching their heads trying to figure out what is a service and how to test it, the HP executive said. They were asking for information and tools for testing interdependent services, composite applications and the variety of regression scenarios, plus a way to cope with the speed of change that characterizes SOA, he added.
The new tools go beyond application testing to include governance, such as policy enforcement, as well as lifecycle management, Hall said. "So we're taking the product, in particular the services management offering and opening up the interfaces to provide process automation across the SOA governance and quality areas."
The new tools feature added integration between Systinet and the HP test management technologies.
"For example," Hall said, "one of the things you can do with HP Systinet today is associate policies to the lifecycle. Those policies gate the promotion of the service across that lifecycle. But what we're doing with the latest release of service test management is providing a way for Systinet to build a policy and query HP Service Test Management for information to help guide that lifecycle."
This is important because with the need for speed and agility in SOA the old manual method of identifying software that is not ready for prime time is no longer suitable, the HP executive said.
"In order to achieve agility, you need as much process automation as possible," Hall said. "So if I can establish a policy that says a service is not allowed to be promoted from the staging to the production environment if it has any known critical or serious defects, we can automate that change today and integrate it into Systinet with the new version of Service Test Management."
While there are other vendors in the SOA management, governance, and quality space, Jason Bloomberg, senior analyst with ZapThink LLC., rates HP as the top vendor for tools to cover those areas.
"It's true that there are other vendors strong in SOA management, SOA governance, or SOA quality, and a few like IBM offer all three, but HP unquestionably has the strongest combined SOA governance/quality/management story of any vendor in the space," Bloomberg said.
HP Quality Management for SOA
HP's Quality Management for SOA provides assurance that services will function reliably in any deployment environment, according to HP. The following new capabilities have been added:
- HP Service Test Management enables quality assurance teams to plan, design and execute quality management activities from a service-oriented perspective with instant reporting on the pre-production quality of all SOA-based services. It also integrates with HP SOA Systinet to automatically use quality management metrics to alert managers and users that services are ready for consumption.
- HP Service Test enables functional testing of SOA services to reduce the risk of application failures. Testing is fully integrated with HP Software's extended portfolio to ensure ongoing quality and management across the service lifecycle.
HP SOA Management
HP's SOA management products will work standalone for small SOA projects or for large-scale deployments and fully integrate with enterprise IT management capabilities, according to HP. The list of new capabilities for HP SOA Management products include:
- HP Business Availability Center (BAC) for SOA, a module of HP's real-time business service and application management products, manages shared services within the existing operational infrastructure and processes used by IT.
- HP Diagnostics for SOA allows technical SOA teams to drill down into the behavior of their shared services to identify and resolve problems before they impact customers.
- HP SOA Policy Enforcer bridges the gap between operational SOA management and run-time SOA governance, providing assurance that services are meeting technical and business requirements by monitoring and enforcing security, performance and other operational requirements.