Experience Using Lab Management Features in ALM 11.5x
Does anyone here feel like sharing their experiences initiating and running automated UI functional tests using ALM?
This feature looks to have been introduced recently, (like 11.5x), and I'm wondering how many organizations out there are using it and what the experience has been like. Are there any caveats or gotchas that teams deploying the feature may need to look out for?
I've seen a couple of posts on the forum about implementing ALM Lab Service, which is part of the overall solution in making this thing work, but I'd like to hear from people who've implemented as well as use it to get their perspectives on the feature.
The Lab Management feature was indeed introduced in ALM with v11.5x. It is based on features already available in the Performance Center product.
We haven't gotten very far in our implementation of it, but here's a few things I've discovered.
- Once you enable Lab Management for a project, it can't be disabled. It is an Extension enabled through Site Administration for a project. The extra features the enablement surfaces can't be removed. They can potentially be hidden or access denied through project customization.
- According to another post I read, if you put a defined Host in more than one Pool, in a given project the users will be able to see the reserved time slots only for the host within the context of their project's assigned pool. They won't be able to see times blocked out by other projects through other Pools that include the same Host.
- There doesn't appear to be any API for interacting with the Lab Management features; for creating Pools or Hosts or Timeslots or assigning a Project to a Pool.
- Host Pools can't be originated from within a project. The Host Pool has to be created through a new Lab Management interface. You log in to that interface like you would for the end user UI or for Site Administration. You have to grant users access to that interface, like you would for Site Admin. Also, like Site Admin, there are no levels of access to the Lab Management interface. If you have access to it at all, you have access to everything in it, just like Site Admin. So you have to be very careful how you dole out that access.
- For projects that did not have Lab Management enabled, the Test Sets have a Type value of "Default". With Lab Management, you get the additional Type value of "Functional". When defining a time slot in which 1..n test sets will be executed, only Functional type Test Sets can be selected. So, you have to change your existing Test Set types to Functional if you want to schedule them in Time Slots.
- If you were already using Host Groups and Hosts to run automated tests, none of those Host definitions are copied or migrated to be available as Lab Management hosts. You have to redefine the systems manually as Lab Management Hosts.
- Those same pre-existing Host Groups and Hosts don't interface to the Lab Management Hosts to review Time Slot availability, and the LM Time Slot functionality doesn't look at the old Host Groups and Hosts to see if the systems are already in use there.
- There is an Attribute field for LM Hosts which lets you select check boxes for additional attributes of the system, like Low Memory, and these attributes can be used when you are specifying Hosts to use in the Time Slots. This list of Attributes can be customized, but not on a per-project basis. The list applies to all projects in your ALM site that have Lab Management enabled.
- When you want to add a new Host to a Pool you have to manually define the Host in the Pool first, then use the Lab Service application (installed on the Host) to register the Host. The Lab Service app automatically detects the name (and you can't modify the name) of the Host and expects to find an entry with the same name in the Hosts table in Lab Management. And it only uses the short name, not the FQDN. It doesn't appear to record the FQDN or IP of the Host anywhere, so ALM has to be able to resolve the Host Name with only the short name to go on. Therefore the Host has to be in the same domain as your ALM system.
Those are just the beginning of the quirks that we have found.
(Opinions and information contained in this post are wholly my own and do not reflect the opinions of my employer.)
Thanks for the info! I appreciate it. Noting that you're just getting started, have you been able to do any trial runs with the system yet? If so, does it work as expected? We're hoping to maybe implement it here, as it could save us a lot of time and headaches.