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Testing in the Microservices World

Microservices are an alternate approach to application development in which a large application is built in isolation, as a suite of granular components or services. Each component carries a specific functionality or a task or business goals and uses precise APIs as a means of communication to talk to other services.

Why microservices?

Much of the migration to the world of microservices is taking place because, microservices, unlike a monolithic application, enable you to build services using diverse technologies, and the developers in microservices need not manage code in one place as they do with monolithic apps. Instead of deploying a whole application update, they can quickly release code to the container.

Besides, developers wanting for more application stability during recurrent code updates, or an easy way out of dependencies or the ability to scale without compromising resources also adds to the cause.

The other side of microservices

However, the charm of microservices comes with a fair share of price, particularly when it comes to the monitoring of the application and the toll it can take on the development team undergoing the shift. Despite its fault tolerance capabilities, the ability to identify failures in microservices-based applications via manual monitoring and testing methods remains a difficulty. This hardship is primarily due to the architecture’s decoupled nature and undefined boundaries

Challenges in microservices setup

Few compelling challenges that come along with the adoption of microservices are,

Communication hiccups: Since the microservices extend its communication both internally and externally in need of a data or access to one, these scenarios could become favorable for errors in-network and container configurations, errors in request or response, network blips, and errors in security configurations, configs, and much more.

Multiple security gates: With many moving parts in place — e.g., services, components, APIs, etc., it merely increases the potential attack surface. And, unlike the well-defined security boundaries that a firewall provides a monolithic app, there is no such definitive boundary with cloud-based microservices apps.

Manual monitoring: While microservices make sure that application is up and running even when there is a network outage or a system failure, the decoupled nature of the architecture turns particularly complex to identify failures through manual monitoring and testing methods.

Approaches to microservices testing

Testing of the microservices-based application is complicated as the services work independently and extend communication through API calls. The test team assigned to test these services must well be aware of the given service, its dependencies, and roll out an effective test strategy accordingly.

There are four conventional approaches to test microservices,

  1. Unit tests
  2. Integration tests
  3. Contract tests and
  4. Component tests

Know more in detail about the microservices architecture & its test strategies from our guide here.

Keerthi Veerappan

Brand Evangelist