Test Framework - Binnacle



Binnacle is licensed under the Apache 2.0 license


Proposal for a Test framework with the focus for Tester’s delight!

Automating tests in a distributed setup is always hard. Binnacle aims to simplify the ergonomics so that a tester without Programming language expertise can adapt to this quickly.

If someone knows which command to test, then write that command with the prefix TEST. For example, the command touch /var/www/html/index.html tries to create a file inside the directory to see if it succeeds. To convert this into a test case, write as below.

# File: hello.t
TEST touch /var/www/html/index.html

That’s it! Run the test file using the binnacle command, and it gives the beautiful Output as below.

$ binnacle hello.t
hello.t .. ok
All tests successful.
Files=1, Tests=1,  0 wallclock secs ( 0.03 usr  0.01 sys +  0.07 cusr  0.05 csys =  0.16 CPU)
Result: PASS

The verbose(-v) Output gives other useful details about executed command and error lines in case of errors.

Learning the new programming language is not required to write test cases.

Note: This framework is not for Unit testing


Multi-node support

Just specify NODE=<nodename> before any test to run in that node. For example,

TEST command1
TEST command2

TEST command3

Note: Passwordless SSH access is required from the current node for all the nodes which are specified in Tests.

Bash style variable substitution

TEST gluster volume start ${VOLNAME}

Validate Return code

TEST helper validates the return code of the command, for example,

TEST stat /etc/glusterfs/glusterd.vol

Above command is equivalent to the following bash script.

stat /etc/glusterfs/glusterd.vol
if [ $? -eq 0 ]
    echo "SUCCESS"
    echo "FAIL"

To test other return code use --ret=<return-code>. For example,

TEST --ret=1 stat /non/existing/file

To test the return code is not some value. For example,

TEST --not=0 stat /non/existing/file

Validate the return value

To verify the Output of commands, EXPECT can be used.

EXPECT -v 10 wc -l /test/output

To check if any expected value from the Output

EXISTS " node1.example.com" cat /etc/hosts

Timeout for tests

All the utilities discussed above have a variant with _WITHIN suffix. For example,

TEST_WITHIN -t 60 stat /path/to/pid/file
EXPECT_WITHIN -t 10 wc -l /test/output


Pass Output of one command to other function using |. For example,

TEST cat /etc/hosts | grep "node1.example.com"

Extending functionalities by writing Python function or Bash function

The name of command after TEST or any other utilities can be a Python function. For example, below command calls Python/bash function brick_kill.

TEST brick_kill "/exports/bricks/${volname}/brick2/brick"

Note: Make sure to use the function name different than the actual command. For example, if a function is created as gluster then that function will get called instead of actual Gluster command.

Recording Output of a command

Sometimes we can’t run the same command multiple times, but Output needs to be verified multiple times. For example,

TEST gluster volume info --record-output /tmp/status.dat
EXPECT -v 2 grep "ID:" /tmp/info.dat | wc -l
EXPECT -v 1 grep "Status:" /tmp/info.dat | grep "Running" | wc -l


Repeating tests are straightforward to implement, define LOOP_DATA as JSON, and then use indentation to define loop tasks.

        "node": "node1.example.com",
        "device": "/dev/vdc"
        "node": "node2.example.com",
        "device": "/dev/vdc"
        "node": "node3.example.com",
        "device": "/dev/vdc"

    TEST mkfs.xfs $device

In case of external JSON data,

    TEST mkfs.xfs $device

Ease of use

No special syntax. The example below is to test the Gluster Volume force start command.


TEST gluster volume create ${volname} \
    $N1:/exports/bricks/${volname}/brick1/brick \
TEST gluster volume start ${volname}
TEST_WITHIN -t 60 gluster volume status ${volname} | match_num_bricks_online 2

TEST brick_kill "/exports/bricks/${volname}/brick2/brick"

TEST_WITHIN -t 60 gluster volume status ${volname} | match_num_bricks_online 1
TEST gluster volume start ${volname} force
TEST_WITHIN -t 60 gluster volume status ${volname} | match_num_bricks_online 2

Kadalu Test example


TEST kube_master_setup --record-output tmp/master-details.json

    "node": "$N1",
    "device": "/dev/vdc"
    "node": "$N2",
    "device": "/dev/vdc"
    "node": "$N3",
    "device": "/dev/vdc"
    TEST kube_node_setup
    TEST join_kube_master tmp/master-details.json
    TEST loop_device_setup $device

TEST kubectl create -f $OPERATOR_YAML
EXPECT_WITHIN -t 180 -v 3 kubectl get pods -n kadalu | grep "Running" | wc -l
TEST kubectl kadalu storage-add $STORAGE_POOL_NAME --type Replica3 \
    --device $N1:/dev/vdc
    --device $N2:/dev/vdc
    --device $N3:/dev/vdc
EXPECT_WITHIN -t 180 -v 3 kubectl get pods -n kadalu | grep $STORAGE_POOL_NAME | wc -l

# Sample PVC Test
TEST kubectl create -f $PVC_FILE
EXPECT_WITHIN -t 60 -v 1 kubectl get pvc | grep $PVC_NAME | grep Bound | wc -l

# Sample app Test
TEST kubectl create -f $APP_POD_FILE
EXPECT_WITHIN -t 180 -v 1 kubectl get pods | grep $APP_POD_NAME | grep Running | wc -l

How it works?

Similar to Gluster upstream tests, Binnacle uses Test Anything Protocol(TAP). This test framework provides syntax sugar on top of the shell script.

Binnacle generates shell script from the given test file and then executes the generated script using prove command.

Core functions

Core functions like TEST, EXPECT, EXISTS etc. will be written using Python and bash. These functions print the Output in TAP format so that prove tool can understand it.

Binnacle test to Shell script conversion

A few special syntaxes used are not valid bash script. Those need to be converted. For example, Pipe character needs to be escaped otherwise, TEST only runs the first part, and all other commands will be run based on the TEST output instead of the first command’s Output.

Similarly, the utility file needs to be included in every test file to understand TEST, EXPECT, and other functions.

Loop syntax used in the test file needs to be expanded into a valid bash script.

How is this different from Gluster upstream Tests

We are inspired by the Gluster upstream regression tests, which use shell scripts for writing test cases. Binnacle provides an additional layer on top of shell scripts for ease of use. In addition to ease of use, Binnacle also offers the following features compared to the Gluster tests framework.

  • Multi-node support

  • Plugin support - Extend/add the functionalities easily using Python/Bash

  • Detailed easy to parse Output in verbose mode

  • Ease of use

Code repository

https://github.com/kadalu/binnacle will be the project repository for the Binnacle project. While running, it looks for plugins in ~/.local/lib/binnacle/plugins directory.

Binnacle repository will not contain Test cases and plugins specific to different projects.

Known issues

  • The test framework will not work on the Windows operating system. Windows support can be adopted in the future but not a priority for now.


Not yet started.


  • Thanks Sac, for suggesting the beautiful name for the test framework and valuable inputs for the design.

  • Thanks Amar, for the valuable inputs to the design of this framework with more emphasis on ease of use.

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