Database testing: why and how to perform unit testing
Automation Best practices Auditability
17 mins read
January 30, 2024

Database Testing: How to Perform + 7 Best Tools

Database testing is a crucial part of the software development process. Unit and schema testing is a must when we talk about database testing, and stress-testing is also vital. But how to understand what kind of tests you have to perform on your database and which ones you can omit? Let’s see more closely why we cannot miss unit testing while performing database testing and how you can do the unit testing on databases.

Tania Zhydkova

Types of database testing

Data integrity and consistency is the key to any database testing. The QA engineers must test each component of a given application to ensure data integrity is upheld in all aspects: from server-side tasks like storing sensitive information on disk or networked storage devices to client-side interactions with databases.

An essential concept in any software development and quality assurance revolves around making sure what’s being developed works as expected for the end-user. There are various ways you can reveal bugs when testing databases, and these types of database testing can help you with that:

  • Structural testing
  • Black and white box testing (functional testing)
  • Non-functional testing

We can’t omit the importance of unit testing of the SQL databases, and here is how.

Why do we need database testing?

Imagine yourself as a shipbuilder, crafting massive vessels to sail the vast oceans. Your ship’s base is similar to the database of a digital application – it holds everything together and ensures the ship remains stable and seaworthy.

As a diligent shipbuilder, you wouldn’t let a ship set sail without first checking its base for any leaks, weak spots, or imperfections. These tests ensure that the vessel will withstand any difficulties.

Similarly, in the digital domain, the database is the base that upholds an application’s entire structure. Database testing is that crucial inspection – seeking out weak data links, potential breaches, or inconsistencies. The checkpoint ensures data integrity, reliability, and seamless performance, even when faced with unpredictable user demands and technological changes.

The purpose of the Database Testing

Database testing is key to safeguarding and ensuring the reliability of the whole application. Through constant testing, QA teams can identify potential vulnerabilities while always ensuring a smooth and secure data transaction process. Furthermore, the testing allows for optimising database performance, facilitating faster query responses and enhancing user satisfaction.

Furthermore, it is important to check the database’s proper structure and confirm that the data meets business rules and industry standards, supporting consistency and reliability. Therefore, embedding database testing within the development lifecycle is integral in paving the way for a robust, secure, and efficient database system.

How to perform database testing?

The database testing process is similar to other types of software testing that need a thorough examination. Various database performance testing tools and techniques are used depending on the nature of each application, query, or network connection they are examining to find any vulnerabilities. Regardless, some basic steps remain constant during every test.

We’ve delved deeper into this in our latest video. Take a look!

How to perform unit testing for databases?

QA engineers control views, triggers in the database testing, and they can create a blank instance of the database to get started with minimal building blocks. Let’s see how testers can perform unit testing on databases:

  1. 1
    Create a blank database instance. You can start modifying items and adding new ones until it has everything necessary for your test
  2. 2
    Automate testing procedures to ensure that the database is in a known state before every test run and verify its current condition after each one
  3. 3
    Look for problems like missing references that can happen due to accidentally removing or renaming objects, which is often the result of a failed database update
  4. 4
    Ensure that the database is restored when finished with testing

Now databases differ significantly from application code – they require heightened precision. They must be tested periodically to avoid breaches of data integrity etc.

Common issues during database testing

While conducting database testing, testers might encounter various problems due to a lack of preparation or incorrect approaches. These common issues include:

  • Inadequate Test Coverage: Without proper planning, some parts of the database might not be tested sufficiently, potentially leading to undiscovered issues.
  • Insufficient Data Protection Measures: Failing to implement adequate data protection measures can expose the database to potential data loss or leaks during the testing phase.
  • Ignoring Performance Tuning: Neglecting database performance optimisation during the testing phase can lead to slow query responses and poor database performance in the live environment.
  • Failure to Simulate Real-World Scenarios: Not testing the database under conditions that simulate real-world scenarios can fail to identify potential issues that might occur in production environments.
  • Lack of Expertise: Testers might overlook critical issues or not fully understand the database’s intricate systems without the necessary expertise, resulting in incorrect testing.
  • Improper Use of Testing Tools: Utilizing unsuitable or incorrect testing tools can not only slow down the testing process but might also provide inaccurate results.
  • Poorly Defined Test Cases: When test cases are not defined clearly or thoroughly, it might result in an inefficient testing process and missed defects.

Properties of unit database testing

  • Unit tests can be automated, and you can script a set of database operations with the same ease as executing code.
  • Unit tests are great for testing individual triggers, views, and sprocs. You can test the behavior of each one to make sure that it works just as you want it to.
  • Unit tests are a fantastic way to create an executable representation of your database testing operations so that you can quickly test and validate new code before rolling it out.
  • Unit tests can produce consistent results. You will have a clear understanding of what outputs can be expected if everything goes according to plan if every input is mapped as part of the test.
  • Unit tests should be independent of one another. You will have to manage some setup and teardown, but the test should not have any relationship with other unit tests.

Database testing is a valuable practice that many businesses overlook while implementing this strategy can prevent your database from becoming another black hole of data integrity vulnerabilities and crippling errors. Unit testing with database is how you keep the company running. 

Tips on database testing

  • Start your testing process with an organised and well-thought-out plan to avoid last-minute chaos. Be sure you map all of the requirements before moving on from this step so that there are no surprises in store later down the line when it’s time for deployment, release, or troubleshooting.
  • The first step in creating test scenarios is to develop proper data sets based on the requirements.
  • You may need to test various aspects of your application. However, you should make sure that the data is accurate and manageable on a database testing before proceeding with any testing.
  • Systems like databases are complex and have a wide range of functions that can affect performance. You’ll need to focus on response time as it can help estimate the performance of your database.
  • Security testing for database testing can be done by designing tests that mimic unauthorized access. It will show if you can view, modify or delete restricted data in the future.
  • Try creating invalid test case sets to check database constraints and update them in your database. It’s a great way of understanding how the system will behave when it encounters such conditions.
  • Try keeping things as basic and concise as possible when writing queries for database testing tools like aqua cloud or Oracle.
  • It’s vital to get feedback from other people when it comes to writing queries. We all have blind spots, and sometimes someone else reviewing your code will find something you missed that can help make the query better or more efficient.

Database testing tools

There are many test management and test automation tools that can be helpful while performing unit testing for SQL databases. Let’s take a look at the most efficient ones.

1. aqua cloud

aqua ALM is among the top database testing tools that are essential for professional software quality assurance, including unit test performance for databases. The solution has integrations with Jira and many other tools such as Selenium, Oracle, and the ones we will mention further in the article. Stored procedures features are also included, so you can not worry about the security of the data you store with aqua cloud.

aqua cloud is an easy way for teams with multiple projects to keep tabs on buggy products and ensure that problems are taken care of swiftly. aqua offers everything from simple bug tracking SaaS to complex on-premise ALM.

aqua’s user interface is a friendly one, which makes a tool even more convenient to work with, and the on-premises license is suitable both for banking and insurance niches.

aqua also has revolutionary AI features. It leverages the GPT language model to generate entire test cases or complete your drafts. Unlike ChatGPT, aqua AI Copilot has the context of your product to make tests relevant. 

Smooth database testing with AI

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2. Data Factory

Data Factory is an innovative software that offers a user-friendly interface in QA. The tool can easily handle working with big data, so it’s not the best option for small projects, and it requires more time to upload files than other service providers. 

3. Mockup Data

Mockup Data is among the proper database testing tools because it provides automated functionalities to users, which allow them to get better results. The user-friendly UI of the instrument made it one of the most popular in the market.

The tool’s benefits are: easy to access, multiple output formats available for different needs, and automation techniques used in the process give a better result than manual work. 

4. DTM Data Test Generator

DTM Data Test Generator is a commercial tool that businesses and other users can use in their database testing. That’s because it is easy to input schema testing objects and data rows to generate tests. 

It is a testing tool that supports high-level load testing and unit tests. It can be used effectively by commercial entities and individuals. Still, it’s not the best option for individual testers needing on-demand service to help with specific needs due to its multiline entry form factor.

5. MS SQL Server

MS SQL Server is one of the best options for performing unit testing. It not only provides expected results for VB and C# projects but also has a number of crucial integrations to help testers manage their work. Testers should check out all of MS SQL’s schemas before using them to ensure they’re getting everything their project needs.

MS SQL Server has some great features and options, making it an obvious choice for unit testing. However, before using Server, testers must learn about its schemas to ensure what they are looking at when using this tool. It also has a stored procedures feature!

6. SQL Test

SQL Test is a tool designed to help testers save money. This open-source application can be used for both big and small projects because of its versatility.

One of the most potent benefits to MySQL is quickly generating results for an extensive SQL server database. Many QA engineers work with this tool because they know that their data will be safe and sound.

7. Oracle SQL Developer

Oracle SQL Developer

Oracle SQL Developer unit testing has been a popular option for years. Testers prefer the tool because they can use the same commands as an in-house database testing administrator. The best part about this program? You can enjoy the feature of stored procedures to finish testing quickly.

It is an efficient tool for managing your database testing. It can be used on any platform and offers a powerful IDE to make coding easier. The interface includes many components that you may find helpful in generating reports or analyzing data from within the program itself. Oracle SQL Developer supports cross-platform operations, so it’s perfect if you need access outside your office network.

Step-by-step process of database testing

Database testing involves multiple steps to validate database functionalities thoroughly and ensure the integrity and consistency of data across applications:

  • Requirement Analysis: Before initiating the testing, gather and analyze all the requirements to understand what needs to be tested.
  • Test Plan Creation: Develop a detailed test plan outlining the strategy, scope, resources, and timelines for the database testing.
  • Test Case Design: Create test cases based on identified requirements and ensure they cover all possible scenarios.
  • Test Data Generation: Create test data for use during testing, ensuring the protection of sensitive information and adhering to security limitations.
  • Test Environment Setup: Set up a test environment that closely replicates the production environment to conduct realistic tests.
  • Test Execution: Execute the test cases and monitor the results to identify any discrepancies or issues.
  • Bug Reporting: In case of any issues, document and report them promptly for remediation.

Typically, the “Bug Reporting” stage is where most of the testing phases complete their cycle. However, you can proceed with these additional steps:

  • Regression Testing: After fixes are implemented, conduct regression testing to ensure no new issues have been introduced.
  • Performance Testing: Conduct performance testing to assess the database’s behaviour under various conditions and loads.
  • Final Reporting: Document the entire process and outcomes, and prepare a final report highlighting the results and recommendations.
  • Closure: Once all the issues are addressed, and the database is stable, close the testing process.

How Can Automated Database Testing Elevate Your QA Process?

Automated database testing can significantly enhance the efficiency and accuracy of your QA processes. By automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks, teams can focus on more intricate issues that require human insight. Moreover, automated database testing can facilitate continuous improvement, allowing quicker adjustments and iterations in the development cycle.

Furthermore, integrating db unit testing within your automation strategy ensures that each component of the database functions as expected, preventing unexpected failures in the future. Employing a well-structured test database serves as a stable platform to conduct these tests, offering a reliable environment that closely mirrors your production database.

Hence, by investing in automated database testing, organizations not only save time but significantly enhance the reliability and stability of their database systems, ensuring a smoother and more secure operation in the long run.

Wrap up

Suppose you’re one of the many who have been wary about database unit testing. It’s time to rethink that stance. The process can be complicated at first, but as long as your framework and database testing software are in place for this type of work, there is no reason not to begin now.

By taking these steps and incorporating a more rigorous approach to quality assurance, like implementing database testing tools into your QA workflow, you will see an increase in QA efficiency while reducing any potential risk from bugs or data integrity breaches. Are you ready to start?

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What is database testing?

Database testing refers to testing procedures covering the functionality and performance of databases.

How to perform database testing?

Database testing is largely similar to testing software solutions. You come up with test cases, run them, write down findings, and then end bug reports if there are any so developers solve the issue(s).

What tool to use for database testing?

Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle SQL Developer are the leading tools for database testing. You will also need a test management solution such as aqua to store tests that you feed into MS SQL and Oracle SQL.

What are the types of database testing?

Apart from common types of testing, database testing involves structural testing. It is used to verify all elements inside the database. 

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