Chapter 3 – Setting up Test Environment for BI Projects

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Test Environment:

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In general BI Projects will have 3 environments

Production – where our tested code will function in real time

Development – where developers develops and Unit tests the code

Test Environment (System Test / SIT / E2E / UAT) – where the developed code will be deployed for testing

Setting up a Test Environment for Business Intelligence project is critical because the data for different level of testing is different. Developers will develop the ETL code in DEV (development) environment and when the testing phase kicks of they will point their codes to Testing environments.  

Why we need a separate environment? 

1. ACCESS and Test Environment

Because Developers are the one who designs the code and they will keep on changing the code until it works. We don’t have the version control in Data Stage or in Teradata. The development environment is the open space for all the Developers involved and there are high possibility of irregular updates on the code so the DEV environment is loosely controlled. Developers will have INSERT / UPDATE / DELETE access to all the designs in DEV and Test Environments. But testers will have only VIEW access on VIEWS (will explain what is Table and View in my next blog). Tester can only verify the data is as per ETL Code , they cant update any record to make them correct as per requirement. And developers also should agree what ever defects found in our environment should be open in DEV environments.

2. Data and Test Environments 

Data that used for Developing the code should be different to the data is used for testing why because developers used to create Test Data for UNIT testing, they are happy when the functionality is working fine as expected. So they are not interested source data quality. If any data causing trouble to them , they simply delete it and load the rest of the data. But testers should be very conscious about the data because data is the key for us to proceed the testing. So testers should have their own data in their own Environment. They should not depend on the source data that relies on Development environment.

 What all components needs access for a Tester ?

1. File Landing Directory – If your project is File to Table load then Source system will send the Files to a specified location. This location is different for both Development and Testing. Testers should get the access to this Directory.

2. Select ACCESS to Source Views – Tester can easily check whether they have Select access to the tables by simply querying the tables.If you are not having access to the tables then please create a Grants statement and send to your DBA.

[GRANT SEL ON DB_Name to User_ID;]

Good practice availing the access:

  1. A tester should run his queries in Views not in Tables, so Leads should make sure that the testers should not have Select access to tables before they start execution.
  2. Developers are creating Views over the tables, and when they deploy the code into PRODUCTION their code will points to the VIEWs not TABLEs.
  3. Developers might have introduced few filter statements in Views in order to stop duplicates, which might cause errors. Suppose if testers are tested the Target data using Tables then the errors related to Views could not be identified.
  4. Testers should not have Insert, Update, Delete access to Source and Target tables.
  5. Testers should have Create table access on Test Database for manufacturing data (will be explained in Test Data Management Blog)

Availability of the Source Data in Test Environment:

If the data load is into Existing warehouse tables then check the historical data is available in the Test environment by simply selecting the table. If there no records in test environment then request developer to copy sample records from PRODUCTION data into Test Environment.

[INSERT INTO TEST_DB.TABLE SEL * FROM PROD_DB.TABLE SAMPLE 1000;]

Q: Why we should have existing data into Test Environment if it is load into existing table?

A: Because our load into existing should not be delta records for the existing records. This can be verified using the record count       before and after the load – the count existing count should not be disturbed.
If the data load is into new warehouse tables then the tables should not contain any data in the Test Environment.

Q: Why we should not have any data  New target tables?

A: Because these tables do not exist in PRODUCTION and we are the one going to load the data into these tables.
So it should not contain any data.

Reference Tables in Test Environment 

MAP and TYPE tables are used for Referential Integrity. A project can use the existing MAP or TYPE tables or they
can create their own based on the project requirement

  1. Testers should verify all the MAP and TYPE tables mentioned in the S2T (even if it is not used in S2T transformation) are created in the Test Environment
  2. If the MAP or TYPE table exists then the testers should verify the data in Test Environment and PROD environment should be same.
  3. If the MAP or TYPE tables are created project specific then testers should verify the data is inserted correctly as per the Insert statements provide in S2T
  4. Tester should cross the values inserted into MAP and TYPE tables are matching with DDS (refer Appendix section for Reference data). If you find any data missing or added in the table please raise defect to Data designer.

Now we have everything in our Environment 🙂  Now we are going for Validation of Specification on next Blog.

See you @ my next Blog.

Regards – Asik

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One thought on “Chapter 3 – Setting up Test Environment for BI Projects

    Jayanthi said:
    June 18, 2015 at 2:46 am

    very useful….please post some real time ETL testing project details……

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