Microservices challenges and strategies

Microservices Testing : Challenges and Strategies

The Microservice architectural approach is not recent in the software development world. Many companies and start-ups have switched to this architectural style and already reap its benefits. Automated Testing approaches and processes should adapt to the changes as well. In Testsigma we always keep up to date and we definitely can shed some light to the effective testing strategy for a microservices architecture. Want to make your  Automated Testing strategy the effective one? Let’s learn the ropes of the modern approaches in microservices testing!

What is Microservices Testing?

Microservices testing ensures that individual components of a microservices-based application perform correctly both in isolation and as part of a more extensive system. This entails individually testing each microservice using the unit, integration, and end-to-end testing methodologies to ensure its functionality, performance, and stability. The ultimate purpose of microservices testing is to ensure the whole system’s quality and to give end-users a seamless experience.

Microservices Testing Types

Microservices testing is an important part of microservices development since it encompasses numerous sorts of testing to assure the quality and dependability of microservices-based applications. The following are some examples of common microservices testing.

1. Unit testing

Unit testing is a sort of testing in which individual components or modules of a microservices-based application are tested in isolation. This testing ensures that each microservice works correctly and its code fulfills the necessary functionality and quality criteria.

2. Integration Testing

It is testing that examines several microservices’ interactions in a system. This testing seeks to uncover any difficulties that may develop due to the integration of various microservices, such as communication faults or data discrepancies.

Get tpo know here in detailed comparison of Unit Testing VS Integration Testing

3. Contract Testing

Contract testing is a sort of testing in which the contracts or agreements between distinct microservices in a system are tested. The contracts describe each microservice’s expected inputs and outputs and the communication protocols used to interface with other microservices. Contract testing ensures that each microservice follows its contract and that any changes to the contract of a microservice do not impair the system’s overall operation.

4. End-to-End Testing

This testing comprises testing the entire microservices-based application, including all microservices and their interactions, from start to finish. Testing end-to-end is used to identify any problems that may arise due to the integration of several microservices, network delays, or other external factors that may impact the system’s overall performance and dependability.

5. Performance Testing

This testing method evaluates the performance and scalability of microservices-based applications under varying load situations. This testing aims to discover any bottlenecks or performance difficulties that may develop due to the system’s high traffic or load and to ensure the system can handle the predicted workload.

6. Security Testing

This method entails examining the security and privacy of microservices-based applications to ensure they are secure against threats such as unauthorized access, data breaches, and other security issues. Security testing aims to discover any security vulnerabilities and ensure the system is secure under applicable security standards and regulations.

Is Microservices Testing Complex?

Because of the dispersed nature of microservices-based applications and the requirement to test each microservice individually and as part of the more extensive system, microservices testing can be complicated. This might lead to many tests that are difficult to manage and maintain using typical testing methods.

Testsigma is an AI-driven unified platform that provides a complete end to end testing solution to simplify and streamline microservices testing. Testers can create, automate, and execute tests for each microservice and the whole system using Testsigma, ensuring quality and reliability at every level of the development cycle. The platform supports the testing needs of all ends that can assist teams in enhancing their testing efficiency and effectiveness, such as test data management, communication, and reporting. Overall, Testsigma can assist teams in overcoming the complexity of microservices testing and efficiently achieving their testing objectives.

Microservices Testing Strategies

A well-planned and well-executed testing strategy that tackles the inherent problems of microservices-based applications is required for effective microservices testing. Some common microservices testing strategies are as follows.

Shift left testing:

This approach incorporates testing early and frequently in the development cycle, beginning with the requirements collecting stage. This assists in identifying and addressing issues early on, minimizing the risk of faults entering production.

Service virtualization:

It is a technique for modeling or replicating the behavior of external dependencies or third-party services with which a microservice may interact. This can aid in isolating the evaluated microservice, decreasing testing complexity, and speeding up the testing process.

Canary testing:

It entails distributing a new version of a microservice to a small group of users or a production environment to test its functionality, performance, and stability before deploying it to the complete system. This enables immediate feedback and the ability to correct any faults before they negatively influence the overall system.

Chaos engineering:

It deliberately introduces errors or disturbances into a microservices-based application to assess its resilience and recovery ability. This method can assist in identifying flaws in the system’s architecture, infrastructure, or operations, as well as improving overall resilience and reliability.

Continuous testing:

This methodology involves continually testing throughout the development cycle, employing automation and communication technologies to ensure immediate response and ongoing improvement.

Load testing:

It is used to discover portions of an application that may not have been correctly built and may result in crashes due to excessive visitor flow. Each service call in a microservice travels across the network, making response times vulnerable to other network activities.

Resiliency testing:

Determining how the software reacts to potential infrastructure failures is necessary, such as a server serving a specific service being unavailable, crashing, or experiencing network traffic disturbances.

What are the Distinctive Features of the Microservice Architectural Approach?

Before we switch to  Automated Testing details, it is worth defining the difference between a classical or monolithic application architecture and a more granular, a microservices one. Monolithic applications use a single code base with all modules implemented to make the whole system work. Therefore, DevOps use a single build system to build and run the software application.

Evidentially, there are some drawbacks to this architectural style:

  • Firstly, in the monolithic codebase, newcomers hardly understand how the system is implemented as the system looks monstrous. 
  • Secondly, with monoliths, an IDE very often becomes overloaded, the development process extends in time, code reviews become more complicated. 
  • Also, building a monolith application could be a strain as if some module changes, the whole system has to be re-deployed from scratch.
  • Big and heavy databases influence the whole system performance which is very important for end-users and businesses in particular.
  • In addition to that, such monolith systems have low fault tolerance which means that a cost to recover a system might be truly expensive.

All in all, a new revolutionary approach appeared when all these obstacles were analyzed. The microservice architecture was created as a solution to solve all the bottlenecks mentioned above. In a microservice style, as it can be guessed, small autonomous services build a single software solution. 

These services are independent in terms of the isolated codebase, self-sufficient deployment process, and data persistence. That means that if a service should be updated or fixed, there is no need to re-deploy the entire system. This approach helps to mitigate risks and reliably deliver the pieces of product to a customer. Moreover, the services can communicate with each other via API according to the pre-defined standards or contracts. 

How to Build an Automated Testing Process for a Microservice Architecture?

Test automation, as well as manual testing, has to be properly planned at the very beginning as the incorrect approach can lead to non-beneficial processes and huge expenses. To avoid that we should, first of all, define our goals and to create a test strategy.

So, the steps to build a successful test automation process is the following:

  1. Ask your customer as much as possible regarding his expectations from test automation.
  2. Set quality goals and follow them when creating a test strategy and implementing tests themselves.
  3. Analyze which testing types will help you to achieve your quality goals.
  4. Stick to shift-left approach and adapt the whole development and testing process to it.
  5. Write tests taking into account the fact that according to the testing pyramid the cost of test increases starting from Unit tests. The amount of tests increases starting from the end-to-end tests. So, it is a bad approach to having a few unit tests and implement a bunch of UI tests. That contradicts the shift-left approach helps to identify the issues as earlier as possible.

For the effective test approach creation of a non-monolith architecture, we should bear in mind that the overall system and isolated web services function as expected. If we talk about testing strategy, the adjusted to the new architecture test pyramid can depict the balanced approach taking into account the following different testing types:

Functional Tests

The test pyramid has a Unit test as a primary layer. Developers implement them. At this level, we verify that core functions work correctly without external references. The more unit test we have, the more we can identify issues in the codebase at the earlier stages of the development process and avoid many other impacts on the whole system. This approach is called shift-left: when the Automated Testing is shifted at the earlier stages in the timeline, the recovery is less expensive.

The classical pyramid consists of component tests, integration tests, Contract tests, and Automated Testing. Component tests check service autonomy; integration tests verify external resources, and Contract tests verify service interaction. Spring Cloud Contract and Pact are the most reliable and effective tools for contract testing. It is essential to develop end-to-end tests only when all other tests are implemented. Before writing the test strategy, asking the customer about their expectations from test automation is essential.

Testsigma is built to assist to start your test automation smoothly. Now you can impress your customers with a cutting-edge automated testing approach!


Component, integration, contract, and automated tests comprise the traditional pyramid. Component tests provide service autonomy, integration tests ensure external resources are available, and contract tests ensure service interaction. Spring Cloud Contract and Pact are the most reliable and effective contract testing technologies. End-to-end tests should be created only after all other tests have been completed. When developing the test strategy, asking the customer what they want from test automation is critical.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do we test microservices?

Microservices testing necessitates a thorough methodology that considers the particular constraints of distributed systems. Shift-left testing, service virtualization, canary testing, chaos engineering, and continuous testing are all effective testing methodologies. Testers must also guarantee that each microservice is tested separately and as part of a larger system to ensure its functionality, performance, dependability, and security.

What tool is used to test microservices?

Open-source frameworks such as JUnit, RestAssured, WireMock, and cloud-based solutions such as Testsigma, Postman, and SoapUI are available for testing microservices. The tool selected is determined by the team’s specific testing requirements and the functionality necessary for the testing process.

Is a REST API a microservice?

A REST API can be part of a microservices architecture but not a microservice. Microservices are self-contained and autonomous chunks of functionality that can be deployed and managed separately. In contrast, REST APIs are web service that accesses and manipulates data using the HTTP protocol. A microservices-based application may use one or more REST APIs to connect with other microservices or external systems.

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