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Distributed Systems Observability by Cindy Sridharan

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Chapter 3. Coding and Testing for Observability

Historically, testing has been something that referred to a pre-production or pre-release activity. Some companies employed—and continue to employ—dedicated teams of testers or QA engineers to perform manual or automated tests for the software built by development teams. Once a piece of software passed QA, it was handed over to the operations team to run (in the case of services) or shipped as a product release (in the case of desktop software or games).

This model is slowly but surely being phased out (at least as far as services go). Development teams are now responsible for testing as well as operating the services they author. This new model is incredibly powerful. It truly allows development teams to think about the scope, goal, trade-offs, and payoffs of the entire spectrum of testing in a manner that’s realistic as well as sustainable. To craft a holistic strategy for understanding how services function and to gain confidence in their correctness before issues surface in production, it becomes salient to be able to pick and choose the right subset of testing techniques given the availability, reliability, and correctness requirements of the service.

Software developers are acclimatized to the status quo of upholding production as sacrosanct and not to be fiddled around with, even if that means they always verify in environments that are, at best, a pale imitation of the genuine article (production). Verifying in environments ...

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