Software Testing is an important step in the Software development process to create a successful product. However, testing takes a lot of time and it is often impossible to test a product endlessly when the priority is to get it out on the market. Some techniques such as unit testing have helped improve the process, but they are not a solution in the long term. This is where virtualization comes in!
What is Virtualization?
Virtualization is the technique of creating a virtual version of any operating system, storage, network, network resources, or desktop instead of actually installing the version. Testers can use it to experiment with software running under specific conditions. A single machine is able to operate multiple virtual environments, thus making testing the priority and keeping the hardware unaware of the fact that the operating system is being done virtually.
Virtualization has many benefits such as better resource distribution, cost savings on hardware, and improving cybersecurity support. There are a lot more advantages to virtualization, as long as the virtual testing environments simulate real-world conditions and have reliable security. That is why some developers are turning to third parties to test virtualization-based software.
How does Virtualization help Software Testing?
In Software Testing, virtualization provides a great solution for testers as it gives them a pre-set environment where they can test the software on all possible configurations on a single hardware. The developers can easily customize the environment with their requirements of configurations. Virtualization thus addresses the security and specificity of a software. Virtual machines are less exposed to threats than physical hardware, making them more secure for testing sensitive software.
Virtualization can also support containerization solutions like Docker and Kubernetes, enabling developers to recreate only a part of an operating system rather than doing the entire system. Therefore, testing is made more efficient due to better security and flexibility.
The virtualization approach allows developers to avoid using the actual machine during security testing, as well as helping storing backups of the virtual machines on the main machine in case of a breakdown. Testing compatibility and experimenting with different user profiles are also possible for developers, and if a bug is discovered in the software, they have the possibility to explore the bug freely in a virtual environment. Thus, virtualization improves quality and reduces the time of the testing process.
However, it is always good to be cautious as virtualization isn’t always perfect. Indeed, virtual machines can’t simulate entirely all computing environments. Technical issues are never too far away, and the final testing must be done on the real machines. But virtualization still remains one of the best alternatives.
To start using virtualization, it is essential to work with simulated environments that are configurable and easily recoverable. Real computing environments are extremely complex; hence, it requires a dynamic virtual environment to recreate all the variables in play. Virtualization is used to push software to its breaking point so it can identify the bugs and fix them. Thus, testers need to be able to quickly restart the scenario afterward by having an accessible backup.
Moreover, testers must know when they must or must not use virtualization. For instance, if a software relies heavily on a physical computer’s resources, virtualization is not recommended.
Every software is unique, and the testing approach must be appropriate for each of them.
Virtualization is an efficient and thorough technique that provides a helping hand to software testers. It gives them a way to test all possible outcomes and experiment on a virtual environment with specific conditions, without damaging the real hardware. Yet, testers must remain realistic about when it is better to use it or not.