The concept of “full stack observability” has become increasingly important as applications have become more dynamic and distributed. In fact, Cisco has invested billions of dollars in acquiring companies such as Thousand Eyes and AppDynamics to ensure it can see the entire stack – from the network through the application, as this is the only way to troubleshoot application problems in a highly mobile, cloud first world.
While this addresses applications that are up and running, it begs the question, is there something that developers can do during the development process to optimize the app for the before it goes into production? This is where the concept of “full stack testing” needs to be understood.
Testing can no longer be done in silos
Historically, testing of the “stack” has been done in silos with network operations testing their domain, developers testing the app, etc. The problem with this is that each team might give their area of responsibility a clean bill of health but when the app goes live problems occur. This is because the application experience traverses the entire stack and that isn’t tested at all.
Enter full stack testing that looks at the end-to-end app performance. This enables developers to fix issues before the app is rolled out in production. This can remove any “blind spots” that might impact user experience.
Solving this challenge is critically important today as delivering a high-quality user experience is core to attracting top talent and customer experience is now the top brand differentiator so good performance for public facing apps is must. Poor performing apps will drive employees away and cause customers to flip to a competing brand.
Live from the lab event helps navigate full stack testing
I understand that most businesses likely have not implemented full stack testing. To help with this, Keysight Technologies is hosting an event, “Live from the lab: Software test automation” on October 28th, to help organizations make this shift. In some ways, Keysight epitomizes the concept of full stack testing, as it’s a company that has deep roots in network testing but recently jumped into application testing with the acquisition of Eggplant software, one of the leading software testing automation companies.
Keysight Technologies is the premier network testing vendor, whose products are used by almost every network vendor, telco and many large enterprises. The fact that the company is now jumping into software testing is a strong indicator that full stack testing is the future of testing. This is the only way organizations can understand user experience before moving an application into production.
The Woz talks the future of testing
The virtual event is keynoted by Steve Wozniak of Apple fame where he will discuss the future of software automation. I find the Woz to be an excellent choice of speakers as Apple’s competitive advantage comes from the integration of hardware, software and the network. In some sense, Apple has been doing full stack testing since its inception.
The session after Wozniak’s is one worth watching as Gareth Smith, Keysight’s GM for Software Test Automation, will share his vision for full stack testing and discuss how to simplify testing across end user platforms, applications, and integrated systems by using an AI based “digital twin.”
To date, digital twins have been very popular in manufacturing and engineering organizations but not so much in technology circles. The use of them though can help companies test, run “what if?” scenarios and try new things without disrupting production workstreams.
It’s important to note that the event isn’t all vision as Keysight’s Sejal Patel will do a session on how full stack testing can be applied to the widely adopted Salesforce CRM application. Salesforce is the market leader in its category and many organizations run their business off it, so poor performance can be lost dollars.
As I mentioned before, testing is something most companies do in silos, but businesses are changing. The digitization of everything means applications, systems and networks all need to work together to deliver best in class experiences. Full stack testing is the way forward and the Keysight event can help get things kick started.