Saturday, September 02, 2006

Why is SOA Testing Crucial?

After spending over 7 years working with XML-based messaging, I am really pleased to see that large vendors such as SAP, IBM, Oracle, BEA and Microsoft all expose their interfaces via WSDLs. This makes is easy for IT assets such as application servers, Databases, ESBs, Proxy servers, and Enterprise Applications to seamlessly work within a Service Oriented Architecture.

I have been on the road lately visiting my customers and reviewing their SOA deployments. SOAP-based messaging is getting deployed everywhere. WSDLs are being exchanged between trading partners and integrating with other systems in now easier than ever. One customer in particular has over 40 WSDLs with dozens of operations per WSDL. Their architecture is elegant with a SOA Gateway from Forum Systems and a BPEL engine from Active Endpoints. However, their SOA testing models are rudimentary using pre-SOA tools such as Mercury Interactive's QTP.

The ease of integration in a distributed and heterogeneous infrastructure puts tremendous burdens on the SOA Tester. Within a SOA, operations are heavily dependent on other operations that may be hosted by a services provider such as Amazon AWS. A SOA Tester has to build complex regression suites that test base operations as well as operations dependent on base operations. Such regression suites can get complex and need specialized techniques that keep SOA interoperability, security and reliability in mind.

I am happy to see larger commercial and public entities using web services to develop modern SOA. Now I hope that as web service deployments mature, SOA Testing techniques are shared and formalized to give modern system-to-system integration the necessary reliability, scalability and interoperability.

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