Click here to close now.




















Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Liz McMillan, VictorOps Blog, Pat Romanski, Esmeralda Swartz, Ruxit Blog

Related Topics: Open Source Cloud, Linux Containers

Open Source Cloud: Article

Strengthening Open Source's Weakest Link: Software Testing

Broader, more collaborative open testing can yield more meaningful results for business and developers alike

Murugan Pal (pictured), founder and CTO of SpikeSource, writes: Pop quiz: If one open source user tests 30 percent of an application, and another tests 20 percent, how much of the application has been tested?

The answer is probably closer to 30 percent than 50 percent, since both users probably focused on common functions like start-up, shutdown, and data access. The problem gets amplified if the application is built for n-tier deployment based on service-oriented architecture. newspapers and broadcasters. The service handles between 150,000 and 500,000 pages of content per affiliate per day, supporting 11,000 concurrent users. MySQL, a free open source database, has been the backbone of AP Hosted News since 2002.

Everyone knows that the cornerstone of open source software is the free availability of its source code, which lets developers and users around the world contribute to it and improve it. The software naturally becomes stronger as it accumulates improvements and sheds imperfections. The quality improves based on more usage and reviews.

But the model breaks down when it comes to making sure the software actually works in real-world deployment scenarios. The power of participation has been confined almost entirely to the development phase of the software life cycle. Testing remains open source's weakest link as it is difficult to reproduce all intended usages.

While code repositories and other shared resources help developers revise and build upon the efforts of their peers, the testing of that software has remained an uncoordinated, isolated affair. Instead of learning from and enhancing each other's tests, users and developers test the same functions and routines, and have no way to easily share their results with each other.

Because most testers are testing only on the platform they happen to be using, most test results aren't widely applicable. Results that show how well a piece of software works on a particular platform might not say much about how well it works with a different operating system, or how well it interacts with other software components. That's a major shortcoming, since open source software components are mostly used as part of a stack with other components.

A Moving Target
The constantly changing nature of many open source programs makes meaningful results even harder to come by. To get results that would be accurate and meaningful to a broad section of the open source community, a user would have to constantly retest it on an ever-growing number of platforms (which are also changing).

As a result, some of the biggest challenges of open source software have remained intact. "Dependency hell," (Jar Wars and DLL Hell) in which each piece of software relies on a specific version of another piece of software, continues to be a constant time drain for many IT departments. Not only are the dependencies difficult to resolve, some times you end up with redundant footprints of the same libraries embedded in the integrated runtime (e.g., Log4J in Tomcat, Struts, etc.).

What if the open source development model - the "architecture of participation," to use Tim O'Reilly's phrase - could be extended to software testing? If users could easily access, build upon, and contribute to a growing body of open source tests, testing could become an extension of the participatory development process. Fixes could be validated faster, and functionality and backward compatibility across different versions of integrated software components would be easier. Even enterprise customers can participate in this model by validating their tests on integrated hardware and software runtime environments.

Participatory testing would also help certify the interoperability of the exponentially increasing combinations of component choices. Most businesses use open source software not in isolation, but in stacks of interoperating components. Tests should be able to tell you exactly how well those components work together.

Just as the participatory development community relies on open resources and information repositories for source code, the participatory testing community should have open resources for testing -including open tests, test manifests, test results, and interfaces/protocols to share test results and tests.

That's where SpikeSource want to be a catalyst in promoting participatory testing. We provide all of those resources, as well as an environment for open source software users and developers to share, obtain, and exchange federated information about open source testing.

Businesses can upload an application to SpikeSource's open testing tool, which continuously pulls code from open source repositories and builds its own repository of different versions of different components and operating systems. SpikeSource automatically constructs systems out of those repositories, provisions them on virtualized runtime environments, tests them, and records the results.

Interoperability Is Key
For most businesses, how well a component works with others is just as important as its independent functionality. For example, if there's a change to the Apache servlet engine Tomcat, a test should show how those changes impact other components like JK2, ConnectorJ or MySQL.

The ultimate goal is to make open source software more scalable and predictable, so that business can use it in conjunction with or as an alternative to proprietary software. Our goal at SpikeSource is to help further the enterprise adoption of open source software. Through testing, it becomes more reliable, easy, and safe for enterprises to deploy.

More Stories By Murugan Pal

Murugan Pal is founder and CTO of SpikeSource.

Comments (3) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Jonathan Bruce's Web Log 09/19/05 01:06:38 PM EDT

Trackback Added: Open source components fall short of the quality metrics?; Sys-Con ran an article on September 16th, by Murugan Pal, CTO of SpikeSource.com Strengthening Open Source's Weakest Link: Software Testing — Pop quiz: If one open source user tests 30 percent of an application, and another tests 20 percent, how...

David Tomlinson 09/12/05 06:38:50 PM EDT

First, the writer tells us that the biggest problem is testing. Then that the problem with testing is that everyone tests the same thing. They he tells us that everybody tests on their own platform, so my test results will mean nothing to you. Then he talks about jar wars and dependency hell. Well, which is it? Is the biggest problem with open source that the writer's company doesn't have enough of our business? Have I ever seen a more obvious commercial for a vendor? Of course. Do I want to see more? Hell, no!

The only reason for writing this article is to get his company's name out there and get a few hits on their website. I gotta admit they got a hit from me, but it's the last one.

Pointless article.

Enterprise Open Source Magazine 09/12/05 09:52:44 AM EDT

Strengthening Open Source's Weakest Link. Pop quiz: If one open source user tests 30 percent of an application, and another tests 20 percent, how much of the application has been tested? The answer is probably closer to 30 percent than 50 percent, since both users probably focused on common functions like start-up, shutdown, and data access.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things (IoT) is about the digitization of physical assets including sensors, devices, machines, gateways, and the network. It creates possibilities for significant value creation and new revenue generating business models via data democratization and ubiquitous analytics across IoT networks. The explosion of data in all forms in IoT requires a more robust and broader lens in order to enable smarter timely actions and better outcomes. Business operations become the key driver of IoT applications and projects. Business operations, IT, and data scientists need advanced analytics t...
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and analyzed? As an area of investment, how might a retail company move towards an innovation methodolo...
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Consumer IoT applications provide data about the user that just doesn’t exist in traditional PC or mobile web applications. This rich data, or “context,” enables the highly personalized consumer experiences that characterize many consumer IoT apps. This same data is also providing brands with unprecedented insight into how their connected products are being used, while, at the same time, powering highly targeted engagement and marketing opportunities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nathan Treloar, President and COO of Bebaio, will explore examples of brands transforming their businesses by t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevOps to advance innovation and increase agility. Specializing in designing, imple...
Akana has announced the availability of the new Akana Healthcare Solution. The API-driven solution helps healthcare organizations accelerate their transition to being secure, digitally interoperable businesses. It leverages the Health Level Seven International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) standard to enable broader business use of medical data. Akana developed the Healthcare Solution in response to healthcare businesses that want to increase electronic, multi-device access to health records while reducing operating costs and complying with government regulations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
MuleSoft has announced the findings of its 2015 Connectivity Benchmark Report on the adoption and business impact of APIs. The findings suggest traditional businesses are quickly evolving into "composable enterprises" built out of hundreds of connected software services, applications and devices. Most are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) and microservices technologies like Docker. A majority are integrating wearables, like smart watches, and more than half plan to generate revenue with APIs within the next year.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
In his keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream, discussed the evolution of the company from inception to its recent acquisition by EMC – including personal insights, lessons learned (and some WTF moments) along the way. Learn how Virtustream’s unique approach of combining the economics and elasticity of the consumer cloud model with proper performance, application automation and security into a platform became a breakout success with enterprise customers and a natural fit for the EMC Federation.
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.