When BMC Bladelogic Server Automation (BSA) was first introduced, customers quickly adopted it’s functionality as a compliance and patching engine. In a very short amount of time, BSA has grown to become the backbone for automation in many IT organizations, offering a complete suite of functionality that System/IT Admins love. I like to think of BSA as the iPhone of Data Center Automation products, as it continues to be the benchmark for functionality, security, and performance in our space.
As a part of the BSA Research and Development team, one of my primary responsibilities is to build the next level in the automation domain. As we continued to develop BSA, there came a point in our process where the development of new features could not proceed without automating the testing of older features. After some research the team figured out BSA itself would need to be key part of our automation in order to successfully keep up our day-to-day pace.
Initially developed with NSH Scripts running a predefined set of targets, the current BSA automation engine is a complete suite of application servers, which run thousands of jobs daily across hundreds of targets across various environments. The automation engine test across multiple releases (8.3.x, 8.5.x, 8.6.x, 8.7.x and 8.8.x). It handles upgrades from older version and fresh installation and runs the regression suites.
Running 24/7, across 5 Releases, over 6 Platforms and 20+ Operating Systems, 10+ version of database support, the engine is definitely become the backbone of automated testing in BSA.
Be it regression testing which requires running the complete set of test cases for a particular module, to create a setup for runner testing a new feature or a setup of particular environment required by the development team, the Automation Engine delivers all with ease.
Integrated with the build process the automation engine automatically triggers an Acceptance Run which will ensure the build is good for the Quality engineers to test. This also helps measure the quality of the build on a day to day basis and helped team transform in to an agile organization where we believe every build is of release quality.
With the automation engine in place, the team was able to automate close to 95% of all test cases written. While the credit goes to the engineers who put in effort to automate the test cases, it is the scalability/confidence in the product which helped us believe we could do it.
Scalability is an important aspect for BSA has been a concern in the past for multiple customers. The automation engine doubles up as a Scale Test Engine to test the product in real world scenarios. By provisioning 100’s of VMs every hour, the environment can scale up to 18000 servers in a day.
With the ability to run 100’s of jobs on 1000’s of targets in parallel, we were able to envision complex customer use cases and provide inputs during the development phase. The lab helped setup and reproduce complex customer issues/escalations in house.
With built in integration with BMC patrol the automation engine continuously monitors the state of environment during the run and captures statistics. Scalability testing is not any more a tick in the design document, but a norm in development process.
Automation Engine (BSA) truly has changed the face of the Quality, it has cut the effort of performing regression testing for 3 months with 40 people to 2 weeks with 10 people monitoring the automation suite. This has not only saved time, but also lots of dollar bills over the course of time. This has become the go-to software any new request from any member in the R&D team.