Chocks Ramiah, the Tech Lead of the Engineering Enablement Team for the Cisco Services Technology Group, recently met with SmartBear to discuss the benefits of deploying SmartBear SoapUI Pro for the Cisco engineering teams. With an easy-to-use graphical interface and enterprise-class features, SoapUI Pro allows Cisco to rapidly create and execute Web Services compliance and automated Unit load tests as well as functional, compliant REST and SOAP application load tests—all in a single test environment.
How long has Cisco Systems relied on SoapUI Pro?
We started utilizing SoapUI Pro approximately two years ago.
How many internal users depend on SoapUI Pro?
Approximately 50+ application developers and solution test engineers.
What role does SoapUI Pro play in your daily operations?
We leverage SoapUI Pro to test Web Services during the application development, staging and production phases. The applications our group manages involve those related to our Cisco Smart Services program, which uses intelligent automation to collect and analyze network data that allows our customers and solution provider partners to proactively manage Cisco gear and address equipment issues. Since our Smart Services software automates Cisco device-management and network operations to allow our customers to reduce risk and lower costs, the applications our customers and partners use play a critical role in our overall operations.
Which application protocols do you test with SoapUI Pro when developing Web Services?
SoapUI Pro helps us not only test SOAP-based applications, but also REST-based applications. We find the tool to be just as effective testing either type of application. This flexibility is important to us as we previously wrote SOAP-based applications but are now transitioning to writing most of our applications using the REST style architecture. The flexibility also means we only need one tool for testing both protocols
Which operating systems do your development and testing teams use?
This points to another key feature of SoapUI Pro: We use a combination of Windows, Mac and Linux systems, and SoapUI Pro works well across all three operating system platforms.
What first prompted Cisco to consider SoapUI Pro?
We wanted to generate greater consistency in the tools our team uses to develop, test and subscribe to Web Services.
We also discovered many of our customers and partners already relied on SoapUI Pro—specifically for WSDL (Web Services Description Language) integration when developing interfaces to invoke the Web Services we provide in relation to our Smart Services portfolio.
By using the same tool during app development that many of our customers and partners use, we can provide them with the sample SoapUI project we create with WSDL files that include the application codes. Our customers and partners can download the sample project to get a quicker start on creating their apps, which also perform with more robust features since our customers and partners start with our SoapUI sample project.
Did Cisco consider other application performance testing tools?
Yes, we also considered SOAtest from Parasoft, which we had also used in the past.
Why did Cisco choose SoapUI Pro?
In addition to wanting to use the same tool as many of our customers and partners, our application development and testing teams found SoapUI Pro is very easy to learn and work with. For example, our developers and testers can import any WSDL. This increases the adoption rate, which means we have another tool our teams use consistently.
Beyond the ease-of-use, the robust features of SoapUI make it easy to automate complex testing scenarios. We can emulate the experiences of many different end users to make sure our software works properly for all customers and partners.
The end-to-end performance reports SoapUI Pro generates are also a major plus. We can easily identify how well our applications perform and pinpoint where any bottlenecks occur.
How would you rate your SmartBear support experience?
The documentation SmartBear provides with SoapUI Pro makes it easy for our developers and testers to learn how to use the software, so we did not require any formal training. We have contacted SmartBear a few times to learn some of the more advanced features, and when we do, they always do great job explaining the concepts to us. SmartBear has also done a great job explaining how to leverage its floating license model within our environment. This helped us reduce our overall costs.
How does Cisco measure the ROI delivered by SoapUI Pro?
The most important return SoapUI Pro provides for Cisco is the way the software makes it easier for our customers and partners to interact with our Smart Services applications. By relying on a tool they also leverage and for which we can provide script-testing templates, we reduce the amount of development work they need to do for creating interfaces. This is important since many customers and partners do not have deep pools of development resources they can easily turn to. We alleviate the challenge by giving them the SoapUI sample project they can use as part of the process for creating the end-user interfaces.
The solution also helps our internal developers communicate, and we can also communicate more effectively with our customer and partner development teams. For example we know which APIs they use and how many application calls they make, which helps us monitor the performance. SoapUI Pro also helps us ensure our Smart Services programs continue to offer a high-level of service to our customers and partners by continuously monitoring how well applications perform. If any performance issues occur, we can usually make adjustments before customers and partners feel the impact.
With the reports we generate to measure the end-to-end round-trip response times of our Web Services, we can also make sure we properly manage the amount of data that end users download with each request. This helps us prevent bottlenecks that slow the system down while also helping us meet SLAs.
Does Cisco plan to expand its use of SoapUI Pro?
In addition to the direct benefits, SoapUI Pro also streamlines the work we do with other SmartBear solutions such as LoadUI Pro, which we use for API load testing. The scripts we create for SoapUI Pro when developing applications can be ported over to LoadUI Pro so that testing group can start measuring application performance sooner.
SoapUI Pro has performed so well for our group that we are recommending the solution to other application groups within Cisco. The more consistently our developers and testers use the solution across the company, the greater the benefits we will realize.