Efficient systematic testing for dynamically updatable software

TitleEfficient systematic testing for dynamically updatable software
Publication TypeConference Papers
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsHayden CM, Hardisty EA, Hicks MW, Foster JS
Conference NameProceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Hot Topics in Software Upgrades
Date Published2009///
Conference LocationNew York, NY, USA
ISBN Number978-1-60558-723-3

Recent years have seen significant advances in dynamic software updating (DSU) systems, which allow programs to be patched on the fly. However, a significant challenge remains: How can we ensure the act of applying a patch does not itself introduce errors? In this paper, we address this problem by presenting a new systematic testing methodology for updatable programs. Our idea is to transform standard system tests into update tests that execute as before, but each transformed test applies a patch at a different update point during execution. To mitigate the increase in the number of tests, we developed an algorithm for test suite minimization that finds a subset of update points that, if fully tested, yields the equivalent to full update point coverage. We implemented our approach and evaluated it on OpenSSH and vsftpd, two widely used server applications. We found that minimization is highly effective, reducing the number of update tests required for full coverage by 93%.