Shift-Left Testing | Datadog

Shift-Left Testing

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Reduce the cost and risk of fixing code defects by shifting left

Traditional testing methods focus on testing near the end of the development process, which makes defects costly and difficult to fix. Many companies have moved away from traditional testing in favor of testing sooner and more often, also known as "shifting left," in order to detect and resolve issues earlier during development. Datadog Synthetic Monitoring supports shift-left testing by letting teams integrate tests directly into CI/CD pipelines and automatically run them at any point during development. Datadog can also block a pipeline or help teams automate a rollback if critical tests fail, preventing breaking changes from impacting users. All of this enables teams to rapidly adopt shift-left testing without the need for special training or additional tooling.

One of our goals is to improve our time to production so we can release very quickly. One thing that excites me about Synthetics is the ability to automate our browser testing and continuously monitor for errors with our application.

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Adam Savitsky
Senior Software Engineer, Carta

Facilitate shorter development cycles with full visibility into CI pipelines

Shift-left testing leverages CI pipelines to help teams release features that have been thoroughly tested in smaller increments, a core trait of agile workflows. This requires visibility into each pipeline to ensure it can handle continuous, multi-step workloads. Datadog's integrations for popular CI tools such as GitLab and Jenkins enable teams to easily monitor the health of their pipelines and ensure that workflows prioritize early testing, so they can resolve any issues without having to delay a release.

Datadog also provides out-of-the-box integration dashboards so teams can monitor CI builds over time and see how enhancements to their pipelines, such as additional testing environments, affect the frequency of their releases.

Build a culture of knowledge sharing and cross-team collaboration

Shift-left testing can be difficult to adopt as it emphasizes cross-team collaboration, which can require significant operational changes in an organization. Datadog fosters a knowledge-sharing culture so that teams can work together to accomplish their goals and ensure fast, stable releases:

  • Product teams can build custom dashboards to monitor KPIs of new features that are critical to maintaining a competitive edge and responding to market needs.
  • Engineering and QA teams can leverage Synthetic Monitoring to test builds earlier and more often in a release cycle, enabling them to find defects sooner.
  • Devops teams can correlate test results with backend traces, logs, and infrastructure metrics to quickly resolve bottlenecks and increase the pace of delivery.
  • Teams interested in adhering to SLAs can track service level objectives and error budgets to ensure teams maintain high-quality releases.

This comprehensive suite of tools allows teams to work together to rapidly solve application issues and release new features to their users.

Equip developers with tooling to detect downstream issues as they occur

Organizations that adopt shift-left testing need better visibility into application performance at every stage of the development process. Datadog's DogStatsD client enables teams to seamlessly instrument their code as they write it and create custom metrics for monitoring application-level activity, such as the number of times a specific service executes a resource-intensive SQL statement. Datadog also equips teams with powerful instrumentation tooling for their services, so they can eliminate blind spots and ensure that they catch issues sooner with each build. Custom metrics complement Datadog Synthetic Monitoring by giving teams more tools for proactively testing and monitoring their applications so they can shift left with confidence.