Automated Configuration Testing, theAgile Infrastructure EnablerOK, so I probably just closed out 100 games of Bulls**t Bingo in the title of this blog postbut I’ll stand by it. You want actual agility in what you do? You need a safety net. Thatsafety net is automated testing.I’ll be honest, most of my experience in this regard comes from my background as adeveloper. When I started out, a fresh faced graduate at a funds manager in Sydney, Ididn’t know much about testing at all. Sure, I tested my code, but they were half arsedtests. I hadn’t even heard the phrase “Unit Testing”. I got by though. I wasn’t an amazingtechnologist but I wrote pretty good code and quality wasn’t something I worried aboutday to day.Without being able to put it into words at the time though I did come to learn that qualityby no means enabled agility. Quite the opposite in fact. Lines and lines of code thatworked well became sacred sites. Don’t touch it! It works! In some cases it was better tobe stuck with crappy code that needed fixing. At least you were given license to have atit.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 everyfeature you’ve coded is backed by tests you don’t just get quality, you get freedom, youcan be agile. You’re not afraid of refactoring you know is necessary. You can movequickly, iterate fearlessly. That thing you always felt held you back, testing, is now supercharging 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 configurationthere is greatly increased. 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, oreven impossible, to detect. Take security or compliance considerations. How often arethey cast aside in the interests of simply getting something to work?On top of that configuration is far more likely to be altered directly in production bysysadmins, especially during a serious incident where a company is bleeding money.Without automated testing how sure could you be that those quick fixes haven’t affectedsomething else? If you want that ability to be agile, to be able to react quickly withconfidence then you need testing.We automate our config though, you say. We have Puppet! We use Chef! That’s great,but what are those manifests and recipes? They’re code. And from one dev to another,you gots to test your code.If you’re interested in finding out more about how ScriptRock can help you become moreagile with your infrastructure and configuration hit the Get Started button at the bottomof the page.