Case study: ASB Bank | Testing tool
Seamless testing, seamless software production
ASB Bank – New Zealand’s number one bank in terms of customer satisfaction – has deployed GFG: FINsimTM to automate all payment system and unit testing, taking what the bank describes as an exponential leap forward in its ability to test new code and predict system behaviour.
ASB Bank must deliver a banking service that maintains 99.995% availability 365 days of the year to its customers. The ability to conduct accurate testing is critical to achieving such high availability. ASB Bank’s testing requirements span everything from new code and new functionality, to analysing system performance under different loading, and the testing of individual system components such as switches and databases.
Before implementing GFG: FINsim the bank relied on manual testing strategies. These were successful mainly in testing the patience of ASB Bank staff. It was not uncommon for software changes to take three or four production attempts before success was achieved, with each failed attempt resulting in an early morning rollback.
ASB Bank deployed GFG: FINsim to achieve an automated testing strategy that ensured a seamless progression from software development into production, slashing time and cost to market.
For ASB Bank, an important component of GFG: FINsim is its ability to help avoid time-outs and declines when volumes are high, by tracking the system requirements needed to guarantee timely transaction processing.
ASB Bank also uses GFG: FINsim to automate routine testing, using its scripting capability to literally cut weeks off the repetitive effort associated with traditional manual testing. The stress feature of GFG: FINsim allows ASB Bank to review switch hardware performance, memory usage, ceiling limits, various link strategies, middleware and general optimisation tuning.
See the future clearly
ASB Bank can now accurately predict the results and behaviour of its production system during load increases, especially during times of possible sustained peaks such as major holidays. In New Zealand a two-hour outage of the EFTPOS network could equate to 800,000 transactions that cannot be processed by EFTPOS. ASB Bank can profile holiday peaks and adjust with the stroke of a mouse to generate any load profile it likes.
GFG: FINsim provides ASB Bank with an extremely accurate stress test environment to simulate capacity and growth.
To detect any weak links, ASB Bank tests to destruction. This identifies bottlenecks, which are normally very hard to find. Similarly, GFG: FINsim makes it easy to detect memory leaks, which are traditionally difficult to find and isolate. Intuitive error handling graphically describes what every test is, and what went wrong.
Using GFG: FINsim to collect statistics, ASB Bank then applies Excel to the data to produce easily interpreted graphs. In this way the bank looks at trend analysis, scatter graphs, peak, deviation and any other component of capacity modelling as needed.
A platform for growth
ASB Bank Application Manager Infrastructure & Services Solutions Don Orr says GFG:FINsim has brought a new level of confidence to ASB Bank that what has been tested will actually run without problems in production.
“With an understanding of card messaging and a small amount of training, the user can begin to see the benefits of consistency, reduced time and effort, and accurate meaningful results which will significantly reduce the cost of software development around applications involved in financial switching”, he says.
Future plans include the linking of additional tools to the detailed logging within GFG:FINsim to improve the automation of individual link reconciliation. This reconciliation confirms that what was sent has been received.
“In our normal test environment this is a manual and very time consuming task. Logging views which can then be compared to other logging facilities enables us to rapidly isolate and identify problems”, Don Orr says.
He says ASB Bank has improved its ability to baseline and regression test new code and new functionality by ‘several orders of magnitude’. Any upgrade of an application version can be accurately compared to its predecessor, which means ASB Bank can deliver on contractual obligations of delivering better quality and better performance.
ASB Bank recently carried out a rapid upgrade of infrastructure just before the busiest time of the year. The peak period came and went without any problems. The bank now plans to jump straight from version 3.0 of its Open/2 switch code to version 6.0.
“It’s a big ask as we have seen some major architectural changes with the new product. GFG:FINsim will enable us to achieve this with little or no impact on our production environment”, says Don Orr.