VSTART: Model Based Distributed System Tester

Ref-Nr: TD2015-74

The model is designed using an intuitive graphical language that describes the execution.

Technology abstract

VSTART is a model-based tester which implements the design, execution and reporting phases of ESA Automated Regression Testing Framework, used to validate requirements of Ground Segment products. VSTART tests all aspects of system integration, from hardware and client endpoints to the backend, making it useful for the telecommunications industry, system integrators and software houses. Licence and Commercial Agreements, including further development are sought. 

Technology Description

VSTART transfers the ART (Automated Regression Testing) Framework used by the European Space Agency to other technologies.
The ART framework allows companies to conduct rigorous and repeatable regression tests using scripts that can be reused and grouped to conduct system-level testing.
Due to the script nature of the framework, VSTART is useful to test the whole infrastructure, including hardware/devices. This makes it suitable for the telecommunications industry, system technologies integrators (airports, highways, hospitals) and software houses.

  • By structuring tests with requirements it is possible to test both infrastructure and end-user hardware
  • Scripts can be devised to perform End-to-end VoIP and IPTV connectivity and performance tests
  • Quickly assert the compliance of new equipment and vendors

System Integrators:

  • The definition of high-level tests will ensure transition with legacy components when transitioning to new technologies
  • Working with well-defined requisites improves the work/communication of both the integrator and subcontractors
  • Maintenance and technology adoption can be supported by pre-existing tests

Software House:

  • The script-based approach allows quick prototyping
  • Existing libraries can be reused
  • Tests are distributed across the network infrastructure, benefiting from automatic node detection and provisioning

Innovations & Advantages

With a single tool it is possible to design model-based tests and apply them to multiple test environments. In order to make the ART easy to use and apply in industries other than space, VSTART presents itself as a web application for easy use with user/role based permissions.
Each component of a VSTART test case can execute in a different network node. Parameters promote the reuse of existing scripts and test cases and a given test case can be executed on different sets of machines or environments.
VSTART automatically detects and provisions nodes on the network, reducing the setup complexity.
Tests are designed using an intuitive graphical language and scripts are written using the built-in editor in any of the supported languages (JSR223), such as Groovy, Ruby, JavaScript or Python.
The test execution also benefits from the web-based interface so tests can be inspected or interrupted in real time; detailed reports are produced to keep track of executions.
Provides Test Data by specifying its source when regression testing against large sets of data.

Further Information

VSTART benefits from proven, enterprise ready frameworks:

  • VSTART-core: The test modelling and execution engine is also used in the EUDART software in the European Space Operations Centre
  • JPPF: The JAVA Parallelization framework behind the distributed test execution capabilities
  • Grails: Powerful Groovy framework powering the web frontend built on the Spring Java framework
  • Shiro: Ensuring fine-grained authorization control.

The platform works on multiple operating systems, requiring JAVA version 8 to function.

Current and Potential Domains of Application

Automated Regression Testing on distributed systems.