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Automating and Streamlining the Test Execution Process

Eric Bergemann August 18, 2020
The Virtual Host

Over the past 10 years, the practice of software testing has shifted tremendously. Organizations are automating more and more of their tests and are enabling automatic releases of their software through Continuous Delivery. They can no longer wait for long running release cycles and need new features and functions to be implemented, tested, and deployed much more quickly, sometimes within the same hour. This is a scary proposition for some in the financial industry and is hard for many to conceive how the testing can be done without extensive manual involvement.

Committed to enabling the financial industry to automate more of their testing practices, Paragon has added the Virtual Host feature to the Web FASTest platform. The Virtual Host feature allows for “always up” smart connections that can automatically select the tests to run, track the completion of those tests through a certification process, and intelligently route incoming messages for one or many connections to one of many active tests.

Smart Test Selection

As test plans become larger and larger, it can be difficult to continue performing manual step-by-step actions to run the necessary tests. With the Virtual Host, an endpoint can be set up to automatically respond to incoming messages, inspect the content of the message, and validate using one of many different tests based on the criteria in the message. The criteria it uses to compare against is configurable. Some organizations simply associate specific cards to each test, others have the Virtual Host select the tests more intelligently by comparing many different fields in the message.

Intelligent Routing

Since no two environments are the same, having flexibility with the connectivity layer is key. With its intelligent routing functionality, the Virtual Host can maintain multiple test runs at once through the same connection. Once the routing strategy is defined, messages that arrive into the connection are first inspected to see if they match any of the already running tests, if they do, the message is routed to that running test. If no running test matches that message, the smart test selection process is run to decide on the correct test to use to handle that message.


This routing functionality also allows for solutions with environments that require multiple acquiring tests to be run through a single connection. The same concept applies here, except the response message is matched against one of the many running acquirer tests. In this scenario, apart from standard management messages, the test selection process isn’t as necessary due to the acquiring tests being initiated from Web FASTest.


“…the tracking of your certification or project progress can be managed just like the manual testing approach.”


Certification Process Integration

Since each test result run through the Virtual Host is stored as a separate instance, the tracking of your certification or project progress can be managed just like the manual testing approach. Users can view their progress without ever having directly initiated a test from the interface of Web FASTest. Tests that passed, failed, have not been run, or did not complete can all be viewed on the “progress view” to see how the project is moving forward.

Always Up and Running

For this feature, all the Virtual Host functionality mentioned so far is available in an “Always Up” connection that can be managed from a single view. From this view, Virtual Hosts can be selected to stop, start, or restart in bulk with their status visible clearly visible to the user.

Beyond even the bulk management, Virtual Hosts can be configured to start up when Web FASTest first starts up or upon someone manually starting the connection.

If any issues are found, a detailed logging framework is accessible to see what actions were taking place to process each test. Additionally, any configuration changes made to the Virtual Host are audited to determine when a change happened.

Test Scheme Integration

Web FASTest provides the capability to combine different test schemes into a single test, so an ATM format could be combined with a ISO network format to simulate both sides of a transaction in a single test. This is also available for the Virtual Host feature. If the Virtual Host is simulating an issuer, the tests could be set up to automatically generate some clearing and settlement files, or even validate some of those files after the network messages were responded to.

Continuous Improvement

The capabilities continue to expand with the Virtual Host, as it has proven to be a flexible solution for our customers to meet their testing needs.

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