ElasTest ambition

Software testing is one of the most complex and less understood areas of software engineering. When creating software, the testing process commonly accounts for the highest fraction of costs, efforts and time-to-market of the whole software development lifecycle. For example, in the testing book of Mili and Tchier it is reported that the creation of Windows Server 2003 required around 2,000 engineers for analysis and development but 2,400 for testing. This situation is getting worse with the emergence of highly distributed and interconnected heterogeneous environments (i.e. Systems in the Large, SiL) and the appropriate testing of SiL is becoming prohibitive for many software and service providers.

This is a deterrent of innovation and generates relevant risks in society given the pervasiveness of software in most human activities. This situation is mainly caused by complexity effects. When a software under test (SuT) grows in N lines of code, the complexity of its tests do not grow proportionally as these new N lines may generate potentially many new interactions. Hence, software grows linearly but its complexity may grow exponentially.

As introduced before, a SiL is an aggregation of systems in the small (SiS). Hence, following the same logic, when integrating a new SiS in a SiL the final testing costs are significantly over the ones of testing independently the comprising SiS. This effect is well known in software engineering and it is illustrated in the next figure.

ElasTest Objectives

Our assumption is that SiL grow through the aggregation of SiS that interact following some orchestration rules. Hence, we hypothesize that the appropriate orchestration of T-Jobs should also enable the validation of the interactions among such functions. As a result, in the ideal case (i.e. test orchestration effort being zero) the marginal cost of testing a new added function should be constant (red line on right picture) and the total costs of SiL testing should grow linearly (red line on left picture). In current state of the art (SotA), test orchestration technologies are not popular and are created in ad-hoc manners, reason why the interactions are typically tested manually driving to increasing marginal costs (blue line on right picture) and super-linear total costs (blue on the left).

As it can be observed in the previous figure, in an ideal world in whick SiS do not interact inside a SiL (solid red line), the testing costs might be growing linearly with the size of the SiL (left picture) and the marginal costs of testing would be constant (right picture). However, in reality (solid blue line) the costs of testing grow super-linearly (left picture) as the marginal cost of testing is not constant (right picture) due to the complex interactions within the SiL. In this context, our ambition is to approach as much as possible to that ideal situation basing on ElasTest ideas.

ElasTest ambition is to evolve SotA creating novel test orchestration technologies and to get as close as possible to such ideal.

ElasTest progresses beyond the state of the art

ElasTest will provide relevant advances beyond SotA both from a scientific and from an innovation perspective. The following table summarizes such advances.

Current SotA Expected SotA evolutions
Test orchestration

No notion of orchestration

Limited methods or tools for testing SiL

Strong assumptions on tests and/or SuT

Hard integration with CI tools

Solid orchestration notation (topology)

Systematic Divide-and-conquer testing of SiL

No assumptions on tests or SuT

Ready to be used with CI tools

Non-functional testing

Non-functional testing is a challenge

Poor tools and methodologies

Ad-hoc non-reusable code required

No tests for costs or energy

No tools for multimedia QoE testing

No tools for IoT QoS testing

Non-functional testing is a feature

Powerful tool and methodology

Reusable orchestration logic

Ready for costs and energy testing

Ready for QoE multimedia testing

Ready for QoS testing in IoT environments

Security testing

Simple client/server configuration testing

Specific to a vulnerability of application

Limited protocol semantics

Crash oracle

Support for multiple entities

Generic Security Check as a Service framework

Fine-grained protocol grammar language

Fine-grained oracles

GUI automation and impersonation

GUI user impersonation

Poor tools for code re-usability

User + sensor + device impersonation

Reusable SaaS test support services

Monitoring and Runtime verification

Methodologies and tools for testing SiS

Monitors are monolithic

No mechanism for monitor coordination

No mechanism for large fragmented logs

Methodologies and tools for testing SiL

Full orchestration of monitors

Language for monitor orchestration

Algorithms for large and fragmented logs

Machine Learning applications to testing

Focus on automating processes

Work on lab and controlled environments

Focus on supporting the tester in:

  • a) design of new test cases
  • b) orchestration of test cases

Work on real-world SiL

Cognitive Q&A Systems

Powerful tool for knowledge reusability,

but never applied to software testing

Q&A for designing T-Jobs

Q&A for designing orchestration

Q&A for test design strategy

Full testing knowledge reusability


Only available in specific clouds

May require special permissions

Fragmented non-uniform APIs

Infrastructure-independent capabilities

Available for all cloud users

Coherent unified and uniform API