Validating Mission Critical Server Software for Reliability

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approaches the pre-defined stable minimum criterion.

Figure 2 illustrates when the process for fixing detected errors is not under control, or a major shift in design may have occurred as a result of failures detected.

Failure intensity drops, spikes, and then makes a gradual decline. The spike shows that while fixing the known errors, some new errors were introduced. This graph identifies two potential problems. The process for fixing errors may be inadequate and there may be weak areas in the development process itself.

Apart from analyzing functionality failures, resource utilization by the software should also be given importance. A tool should keep running in the background which keeps track of resource utilization like, Memory, CPU…etc. The tool should log the report at regular intervals during the test. A sample log file is shown below:

The CPU and Memory utilization must be consistent through out the test execution, if they keep increasing, other applications on the machine can get affected, the machine may even run out of memory, hang or crash, in which case the machine needs to be restarted. Memory buildup problems are common among most of the server software. These kinds of problems require lot of time and effort to get resolved.

5. Conclusion
In any enterprise scenario, the software product is assumed to be up and running with minimal failures. Testing for Software Reliability plays a vital role in ensuring the product meets the customer's expectations. Reliability testing needs proper planning and execution. Automation would help in executing reliability tests. Reliability test results would help in deciding whether the software has met the desired quality and help make a good decision to release.

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About the author

Srinivasan Desikan's picture Srinivasan Desikan

Srinivasan Desikan is the director of quality engineering at Siebel Systems, Inc., in Bangalore, India. Srinivasan has more than seventeen years experience in test automation, test management, test processes, and in setting up test teams from scratch. Srinivasan has delivered talks on testing at several international testing conferences, and delivers lectures and tutorials regularly at several universities and companies in India. Srinivasan has co-authored the book titled "Software Testing--Effective Methods, Tools and Techniques" published by Tata McGraw-Hill, India. He is currently co-authoring "Comprehensive guide to software Testing" to be published by Pearson Education in July 2005. Some of his interesting articles can be accessed at www.StickyMinds.com. Srinivasan holds a post-graduate degree in computer applications (MCA) from Pondicherry Engineering College and a bachelor's degree in computer science from Bharathidasan University.

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