If someone had given you software a decade ago and asked you to test it on all OS and browsers available, you would have chosen just one technique. Install hundreds of PCs with various operating systems, browsers, and browser versions, and then test the program.
However, because of advances in the information technology industry and software, this process has been greatly simplified. Virtualization is one such technology that enables you to test applications on a localized platform.
What Exactly Is Virtualization?
Virtualization is a method of accessing computer hardware, storage devices, and computer network resources remotely. Virtualization has undoubtedly become a lifeline for both large and small businesses. Companies can save money and time by utilizing virtualization during their release cycles. Virtualization is the cornerstone for cloud computing and IT-as-a-service. Any firm shifting to the cloud must virtualize at least 70% of its environment, including business-critical applications.
Instead of using the real version, virtualization creates a virtual version of any operating system, storage, server, network, network resources, or desktop. Imagine a whole separate operating system running inside your PC. You may use virtualization to create a system with the RAM, OS, browser, and other characteristics you need on your hardware. Operating system virtualization enables a single piece of hardware to run many operating systems at the same time while keeping the hardware ignorant of the virtualization.
Everyone is doing business online nowadays. We have B2B, B2C, and C2C online portals that allow anyone to represent their business on the internet. The initial impression is always essential, and when it comes to your business, your website is the first thing your clients notice. Nobody wants to tamper with that.
As a result, web testing for browser compatibility, like virtualization, has become an essential part of every release cycle. However, you might be wondering what function virtualization plays in cross browser testing.
What Happens When Testing Is Virtualized?
So, how can virtualization assist software or cross-browser testing? A web tester must test the software on all possible combinations of memory, OS, browsers, and browser versions when performing web testing.
It will be unpleasant to do this with actual hardware because it will increase the company's costs and require hand drills. Virtualization is a viable approach since it gives the tester with an environment in which they can test the program in all possible configurations on a single hardware machine.
For various configurations, testers can quickly adapt the system according to their specifications. This improves the tester's ability to test in a variety of environments while also protecting the actual hardware system from flaws and crashes.
If the virtual system crashes, it will not affect the actual system, and a new virtual environment will be built within a few minutes.
Lambda Test is a popular cross-browser testing solution that requires no installation and employs virtualization on cloud infrastructure to provide access to the testing platform. You can perform automated testing of websites and web apps on over 3000 browsers and OS that includes capabilities like screenshots, local testing, responsive design testing, APIs, and more.
Techniques For Virtualization
Virtualization is a vast subject. Your solutions and infrastructure may be segmented and virtualized at numerous points. The most common sorts of virtualization methods you'll come across in everyday life are:
- Server Virtualization
- Network Virtualization
- Data Virtualization
- Storage Virtualization
- Application Virtualization
- Desktop Virtualization
When a tester takes on a testing project, they go through a set of procedures that include setting up a test environment, testing the application, and reporting the findings. This process takes time. You may argue that a tester should spend the majority of their time testing rather than setting up a test environment, configuring it, or generating backup files and settings.
However, the tester must ensure that the infrastructure is working smoothly so that files are not lost in the event of a system breakdown. But what if we construct a virtual environment that automatically produces backup files, and in the event that the system fails, the virtual environment produced on the real hardware fails instead of the actual operating system? Desktop virtualization is the process of creating a virtual desktop or environment on a physical computer.
Importance Of Virtualization For Cross Browser Testing
If properly utilized in the development and testing process, virtualization technologies may significantly cut man-hours and boost process efficiency. Virtualization in software testing, in particular, provides the following advantages:
- The independence from the hardware platform and easy porting to other hardware without the need to reset. If the virtual machine has a major malfunction, it will have no effect on the actual tester's system.
- When working in a virtual testing environment, testers may build an endless number of user settings on their real PCs and pick the best one for each step. This allows you to do the following tasks: to test with various user accounts; to explore with possibly incompatible programs
- A virtual machine backup may be made by copying a folder or taking a picture. If testers utilize virtual machines on their workstations, backups may be made simply by transferring a folder containing virtual machine files. There is no need to restore the stored copy if the system crashes since it is fully functional. Furthermore, many virtualization solutions allow for the creation of several snapshots of the virtual machine's state. Each of these images may be rolled back in a matter of minutes.
- When a bug is discovered, a tester may simply store a snapshot of the system state in which the issue occurs and continue testing the system. If it is required to replicate the problem, the virtual machine may be provided to a developer who can operate on it without risk of causing harm to the tester's environment. Furthermore, resources become accessible for further testing: the tester does not have to wait for the developer to create the test environment.
- Virtualization technologies also enable cloning virtual machines (in their present state) or a specific snapshot. Cloning may be divided into two types: linked and full cloning
The difference between these two kinds is that linked cloning is instantaneous, and the produced virtual machine relates to its 'father.' All modifications performed in the clone are reflected in the 'parent' clone, and vice versa. The entire cloning procedure takes significantly longer than the linked cloning since it produces a new, independent virtual computer.
- With the aid of a virtualization platform, we may add new virtual devices to a virtual machine or restrict the resources allotted to it in this scenario. A virtual disk may also be created as a dynamically expanding disk in a guest system. This helps preserve disk space and creates so-called undo disks, which apply changes only while working with the virtual machine and maybe undone at the conclusion of the session, which is highly useful for testing.
- The ability to quickly restore a virtual machine's stored state with appropriate settings or transition between many concurrently running guest systems reduces testing time.
Due to the flexibility of virtual machine hardware configurations, testing conditions may be easily produced (RAM memory space, limitation of resources, number of virtual processors).
- When testing a software application, a lot of flexibility in hardware component setup is essential. While stress testing, for example, it is necessary to examine how software products perform under harsh or restricting situations (low disk space, network connection break).
Benefits Of Virtualization
Virtualization the following advantages for software testing:
- Recovery after a disaster: Virtualization also protects your physical system from any flaws found during the testing process. Some bugs may be very detrimental to the system, even crashing the program; it's almost hard to pinpoint where they came from, and they can keep crashing your system again and over. In this case, virtualization comes to the rescue because if a potentially hazardous problem is discovered when testing in a virtual environment, the virtual desktop will crash while the actual desktop remains untouched.
- Time-Saving: Virtualization in software testing might save you a lot of time by preventing you from having to install a large number of libraries on your desktop. In the event of a system crash, hours of re-installation may be spared by simply transferring the virtual image.
- Complexity is reduced: The virtual system reduces the hardware requirements by leaps and bounds by eliminating the complexity of hardware and software devices and drivers.
- Data Security: Protect Data Virtualization lets you secure your data while keeping the application up and running in the event that the server fails.
- Consolidation of Servers: You may reach 10:1 virtual-to-physical server consolidation via virtualization. You may also use a single physical server to operate ten virtual servers. This increases the number of people who can test the same piece of software. It also enables you to execute the most up-to-date application technologies on older physical systems by picking the most up-to-date system settings.
- High Availability: The virtual system allows you to test your program from any location. You must choose the settings and run the system tests. This gives your software system more flexibility and portability.
Limitations of Virtualization For Cross Browser Testing
Despite the benefits of virtual testing environments, there are several limitations to be aware of:
- Additional hardware resources are required for virtual testing. Virtual machines may already achieve real-world performance thanks to existing virtualization technology. However, in order to begin a specific setup with several devices, we'll need a real host.
- It is difficult to say when a virus first appeared in one of the photos. Because an antivirus that can identify and remove viruses from all snapshots of the virtual system has not yet been created, we must verify all snapshots.
- A conflict of equipment might occur. Virtualization system drivers may clash with test equipment drivers.
- All gadgets are impossible to emulate. Virtualization system providers now support all of the major hardware platforms. However, if certain unsupported controllers or devices are utilized, we must reject virtualizing the environment.
- There is only one point of devastation. When a virtualization system fails, virtual machines cannot be started until the cause of the problem is identified, and the system is restored.
- If the virtual machine's hard drive has run out of capacity, we won't be able to expand it.
- Because no virtual environment can totally replace the actual one, final testing of the generated program should be done on real equipment.
- Working with virtual machines entails training expenditures.
Based on the information shown so far, we can infer that employing virtualization in software testing benefits as it cuts the time spent setting up test user environments and configuring test environments in half.
When development team members and product consumers have public access to identified bugs, bug detection and problem fixing become more successful. For various sorts of testing, virtual test infrastructure is one of the finest ways to improve the efficiency of the development process while also making team interaction easier.