Automated Configuration Testing, the Agile Infrastructure Enabler
Automated Configuration Testing, the Agile Infrastructure Enabler By Alan Sharp-PaulOK, so I probably just closed out 100 games of Bullshit Bingo in the title of this blog post but I’llstand by it. You want actual agility in what you do? You need a safety net. That safety net isautomated testing.I’ll be honest, most of my experience in this regard comes from my background as a developer.When I started out, a fresh faced graduate at a funds manager in Sydney, I didn’t know muchabout testing at all. Sure, I tested my code, but they were half arsed tests. I hadn’t even heardthe phrase “Unit Testing”. I got by though. I wasn’t an amazing technologist but I wrote prettygood code and quality wasn’t something I worried about day to day.Without being able to put it into words at the time though I did come to learn that quality by nomeans enabled agility. Quite the opposite in fact. Lines and lines of code that worked wellbecame sacred sites. Don’t touch it! It works! In some cases it was better to be stuck withcrappy code that needed fixing. At least you were given license to have at it.It was only much later when I got into Rails and started using Behaviour DrivenDevelopmentwith cucumber and rspec that I realised what I’d been missing. When every featureyou’ve coded is backed by tests you don’t just get quality, you get freedom, you can be agile.You’re not afraid of refactoring you know is necessary. You can move quickly, iterate fearlessly.That thing you always felt held you back, testing, is now super charging your work.The same applies in the configuration space, and there are even more factors in play.Configuration is a shared responsibility, with vested interests in development, operations,security and beyond. The chance of a change here breaking a configuration there is greatlyincreased. Worse still, whilst issues with code are more often than not clear to all through their
functional impact, a lot of issues with configuration are hard, or even impossible, to detect. Takesecurity or compliance considerations. How often are they cast aside in the interests of simplygetting something to work?On top of that configuration is far more likely to be altered directly in production by sysadmins,especially during a serious incident where a company is bleeding money. Without automatedtesting how sure could you be that those quick fixes haven’t affected something else? If youwant that ability to be agile, to be able to react quickly with confidence then you need testing.We automate our config though, you say. We have Puppet! We use Chef! That’s great, but whatare those manifests and recipes? They’re code. And from one dev to another, you gots to testyour code.If you’re interested in finding out more about how ScriptRock can help you become more agilewith your infrastructure and configuration hit the Get Started button at the bottom of the page.