One of the overlooked perils of SOA is that it really does require a new testing methodology, as I've mentioned here before. After all, for years the working model has been to code an application, test it, fix the code, deploy the application, find more code problems, send out a patch, offer an upgrade, and so on.
That's a far from perfect system, but, hey, it works. But when you start to take that code, bundle it as a service and deploy it willy-nilly across the organization -- well, it can be a big problem if it breaks, as you can imagine.
David Linthicum's recently wrote about the complexities of SOA testing on his InfoWorld blog. He points out there are really three dimensions to SOA testing: Services, processes and performance. I think he does a great job of summing up why you shouldn't underestimate SOA testing:
What's key here is to remember that you're testing architecture, and not an application. Thus, the complexity of the system, and the approaches and tools used for testing, goes way up.
While you're visiting InfoWorld, check out its review of five tools designed to test SOAP-based Web services. Obviously, Web services does not equal SOA, nor are all SOAs built with SOAP, but hey, it's a starting place and if that's your flavor of SOA, then check out the review. You'll find reviews of Parasoft SOAtest, AdventNet's QEngine, Crosscheck Networks SOAPSonar, iTKO's LISA, and Mindreef's SOAPscope Server. You'll also find a link to earlier review of open source Web service testing solutions.
The individual reviews are detailed and at the end of the full article. You'll find a quick sidebar summarizing how each solution scored on ease-of-use, features, scalability and so on. It also includes the price -- a nice to know -- and a "bottom line" wrap-up. But ultimately, reviewer Rick Grehan says which product you choose should depend upon a number of factors: Whether you're testing more than just Web services and use Java, whether you're only using SOAP-based Web services, or even on your testing philosophy.
(And a big shout out to Syns-Con Media, which ran a blurb on Parasoft SOAtest fared in the tests, or I would've missed this one.)
You might also want to read this IT Business Edge Q&A with Erik Josowitz, vice president of Product Strategy for Surgient, sells virtual lab management applications. He explains how virtualization can reduce testing time for SOA services.