Hunting Sasquatch: Finding Intermittent Issues Using Periodic Automation
In pop culture, Sasquatch (aka Bigfoot) is an ape-like creature infrequently seen in the Pacific Northwest of North America—if he even exists. In the software realm, we have our own version of Sasquatch: that irritating, elusive "intermittent issue." Traditionally, we run automated tests on event boundaries, like when we have a successful deployment; we look for problems when we think they may have been introduced. Logically, points of change are when we expect to have injected issues, so we tend to only look for issues then. This approach alone, however, limits opportunities to reproduce intermittent issues. If we also run our automation periodically, we have additional opportunities to reproduce these types of issues; we call this approach periodic automation. Paul Grizzaffi will give a real-world example of when periodic automation helped locate an elusive issue, an explanation of how this approach relates to high-volume automated testing (HiVAT), some HiVAT basics, and some considerations we need to be mindful of when implementing periodic automation in order to avoid desensitization to failures.