Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Christopher Keene, Elizabeth White, Roger Strukhoff, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

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
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
SYS-CON Events announced today Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
With so much going on in this space you could be forgiven for thinking you were always working with yesterday’s technologies. So much change, so quickly. What do you do if you have to build a solution from the ground up that is expected to live in the field for at least 5-10 years? This is the challenge we faced when we looked to refresh our existing 10-year-old custom hardware stack to measure the fullness of trash cans and compactors.
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions wi...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
Pulzze Systems was happy to participate in such a premier event and thankful to be receiving the winning investment and global network support from G-Startup Worldwide. It is an exciting time for Pulzze to showcase the effectiveness of innovative technologies and enable them to make the world smarter and better. The reputable contest is held to identify promising startups around the globe that are assured to change the world through their innovative products and disruptive technologies. There w...
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abil...
Is the ongoing quest for agility in the data center forcing you to evaluate how to be a part of infrastructure automation efforts? As organizations evolve toward bimodal IT operations, they are embracing new service delivery models and leveraging virtualization to increase infrastructure agility. Therefore, the network must evolve in parallel to become equally agile. Read this essential piece of Gartner research for recommendations on achieving greater agility.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.