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Creating and deploying ChromiumOS dynamic test suites


References and Further Reading

  1. Autotest Best Practices
  2. Codelab: Writing a server side test
  3. Codelab: Writing a client side test
  4. Design Doc: Dynamic Test Suites
  5. Documentation: Working with Test Suites
  6. Test Dependencies in Dynamic Suites


The ChromeOS version of Autotest introduces a new type of suite, known as a dynamic suite. Dynamic suites allow for the jobs in a suite to be sharded over a pool of DUTs, and the dynamic suite infrastructure takes care of all of the device imaging and test scheduling/sharding details.

Different tests in a suite may require different specific features of a DUT (for instance a certain type of cellular modem, or an attached servo board). These requirements can be specified as test DEPENDENCIES, so that the test in question will only be scheduled on DUTs that have the required labels. In addition, DEPENDENCIES can be specified at the suite level, causing all tests invoked through the suite to inherit any additional suite level DEPENDENCIES.


In this codelab, we will:


Non Prerequisites

Creating The Test

Create a work branch

This codelab will involve touching or changing code in two git repositories within the ChromiumOS repo. Our suite will be named peaches, so we will start by creating a repo branch named peaches, associated with the two git repos we will be modifying:

user@host:~/chromiumos$ repo start peaches src/third_party/autotest/files src/third_party/chromiumos-overlay

If this succeeds, then you should be able to see your newly created branch.

user@host:~/chromiumos$ repo branch
*  peaches                   | in:

Create a dynamic suite

Test suites are defined by Autotest control files (Made up of Python with some meta variables), similar to the control files used to define tests themselves. The suite control files live in the ChromiumOS source tree it the src/third_party/autotest/files/test_suites directory. Poke around and take a look at some of them to see their basic structure.

Once you are satisfied, create a new file in this directory named control.peaches, with the contents given below. Caution: copy-pasting from Google Docs has been known to convert consecutive whitespace characters into unicode characters, which will break your control file. Using CTRL-C + CTRL-V is safer than using middle-click pasting on Linux.

# Copyright 2013 The ChromiumOS Authors.
# Use of this source code is governed by a BSD-style license that can be
# found in the LICENSE file.
AUTHOR = "ChromeOS Team"
NAME = "peaches"
PURPOSE = "A simple example suite."
CRITERIA = "All tests with SUITE=peaches must pass."
TEST_CLASS = "suite"
TEST_TYPE = "Server"
DOC = """
This is an example of a dynamic test suite.
@param build: The name of the image to test.
          Ex: x86-mario-release/R17-1412.33.0-a1-b29
@param board: The board to test on. Ex: x86-mario
@param pool: The pool of machines to utilize for scheduling. If pool=None
             board is used.
@param check_hosts: require appropriate live hosts to exist in the lab.
@param SKIP_IMAGE: (optional) If present and True, don't re-image devices.
@param file_bugs: If True your suite will file bugs on failures.
@param max_run_time: Amount of time each test should run in minutes.
import common
from autotest_lib.server.cros.dynamic_suite import dynamic_suite
    build=build, board=board, name=NAME, job=job, pool=pool,
    check_hosts=check_hosts, add_experimental=True, num=num,
    file_bugs=file_bugs, skip_reimage=dynamic_suite.skip_reimage(globals()))

The suite control file’s TEST_TYPE is Server. This indicates simply that the suite control file is meant to run server side. This restriction does not apply to tests contained in the suite, the suite can contain both Client and Server side tests regardless of this line in the suite control file.

Create a new test control file

Tests can declare themselves to be part of any number of suites. This is done by listing the suite in the test control file’s SUITE variable. To put a test into multiple suites, simply use a comma separated list. In this codelab, we will add two existing control files and two new control files to our suite. Let's start with two new dummy tests control files. Create the file src/third_party/autotest/files/client/site_tests/peaches_DummyPass/control with the contents below. Caution: copy-pasting from Google Docs has been known to convert consecutive whitespace characters into unicode characters, which will break your control file. Using CTRL-C + CTRL-V is safer than using middle-click pasting on Linux.

# Copyright 2013 The ChromiumOS Authors.
# Use of this source code is governed by a BSD-style license that can be
# found in the LICENSE file.
AUTHOR = "ChromeOS Team"
NAME = "peaches_DummyPass"
PURPOSE = "Dummy test that passes immediately."
SUITE = "peaches"
TEST_CLASS = "peaches"
TEST_TYPE = "client"
DOC = """
Example test for peaches suite.

Create a new test control file with DEPENDENCIES

In the same directory, create another file, control.bluetooth with the same contents, but with the test NAME changed to peaches_DummyPass_BT and with a line added near the other declarations at the top specifying:

. . .
DEPENDENCIES = "bluetooth"
. . .

This label tells the dynamic suite scheduler that this job may only run on DUTs with the bluetooth label.

Add two simple existing tests to the suite

Let's also add some existing tests to the peaches suite. For instance, edit the SUITE lines of src/third_party/autotest/files/client/site_tests/login_LoginSuccess/control and .../login_BadAuthentication/control files to include peaches. If you need to add a test to multiple suites to accomplish this, you can use a comma separated list of the form SUITE = "suite1, suite2, suite3"

Enumerate the suite’s tests

To verify that we have added these 4 tests to our suite, we can use the suite_enumerator utility, as follows:

user@host:~/chromiumos/src/third_party/autotest/files$ site_utils/ peaches -a .

Include new test files in autotest-tests ebuild

Earlier, we added two new test control files for client-side tests. In order for the new test files to be available to the DUT at test time, they must be included in the appropriate overlay ebuild file. This procedure is explained in more detail in a separate codelab -- writing a client side test (not yet published).

Open the file src/third_party/chromiumos-overlay/chromeos-base/autotest-tests/autotest-tests-9999.ebuild. Near the bottom of the file, at the bottom of the long list of IUSE_TESTS entries, add the following:

. . .
. . .

Commit and upload changes

We need to commit our changes to two separate git repositories. The changes that we made to the ebuild are required in order for the suite to run properly on a DUT, so we need to make the Autotest repo changes depend on the ebuild changes.

First, from the chromiumos-overlay directory, create a commit with git commit -a. Write a commit message that suits your fancy.

Find the Change-ID for the commit you just created, using git show --stat. This will be some string similar in form to I515b9c4775f518b7b000f964a00df9845ed0c6f6, in the commit message for the commit you just created. You should also see in the output of that command that you have changed 1 file.

Change directory to the Autotest repository, and create another commit, but this time including in your commit message a line CQ-DEPEND=CL:*****, pasting in the Change-ID of the first commit. This tells the build system that in order to apply our patch to the Autotest repository, it must first apply our patch to the chromiumos-overlay repository. You should see that 5 files have changed. If not, you may have forgotten to add your new control files to the git repo! Run git add . and git commit -a --amend to fix that.

Now, upload both your changes to gerrit with repo upload . -d from each directory, or run repo upload --br=<branch> -d and uncomment the directories to upload. The -d flag here marks our upload as a draft, so no prying eyes will see our dirty hacking.

Once repo upload has finished its work, you will see links to your two new changes on

Build your changes into a new image using cbuildbot

Determine the Change-ID for your Autotest changes. Then, submit your patch to be built remotely:

user@host:~/chromiumos/chromite/bin$ ./cbuildbot --remote -g ***** lumpy-release-tryjob

where you have pasted in the Change-ID of the changes to the Autotest repository.

The output of this command should give you a buildbot link where you can follow your build progress. The build will take about 6 hours.

Run your new suite

Once the building step in the previous section has concluded, you should receive an email to this effect from Follow the link in this email to your build results page, then drill down to the "Report stdio" link, and pull out the build number (which will be a string similar to "trybot-lumpy-release/R26-3556.0.0-b683").

Now, run your suite with the command

user@host:~/chromiumos/src/third_party/autotest/files/site_utils$ ./ -s peaches -b lumpy -i ***** -p try-bot

where ***** is the build number you just extracted.

Point your browser at http://cautotest/, and you should soon see your suite job appear in the job list. After the suite job has started to run, it will spawn sub-jobs for all the individual tests. Note that different tests may end up running on different DUTs.

Add suite-level dependencies

One of the tests we created in the codelab, peaches_DummyPass_BT, made use of a DEPENDENCY to require that the test could only run on DUTs with the bluetooth label. In addition to specifying dependencies at the test level, they can also be specified at the suite level. When a suite with suite level dependencies is run, all the jobs kicked off by the suite will have any suite dependencies added in addition to the test level dependencies.

To add a suite level dependency, edit the control file for the suite. Add a named argument to the call to dynamic_suite.reimage_and_run, of the form suite_dependencies=’servo’, for example. Now, when the suite is run, all jobs will inherit an additional dependency on servo. The string can contain multiple dependencies as a comma separated list.

Suite-level dependencies can be useful when you want to run several closely related suites consisting of the same tests, but with slightly different dependencies. For example, if you want to run a suite focused on network3g connectivity, but separately on devices configured for different cellular carriers. See for instance

Get your suite into the regular rotation with suite_scheduler

Suites can be scheduled to run in the test lab automatically, either triggered by build events or at regular timed intervals. To add your suite to the schedule, edit suite_scheduler.ini in the root directory of the Autotest repo. Following in the footsteps of the other suites already in the file, it should be easy to add your suite.

To add peaches as a suite that runs nightly, add the following to suite_scheduler.ini

. . .
run_on: nightly
suite: peaches
branch_specs: >=R21
pool: suites
num: 2
. . .

The fields above specify when suite runs should be triggered, which suite should be run, which branches should trigger the suite to run, which machine pool the suite should be assigned to, and the number of DUTs that the suite should attempt to use. For more information on what pool to select, refer to What pool should I select.

If you have added a new suite to suite_scheduler.ini, one for which a suite control file did not exist before, you need to pay attention to the branch_specs attribute. Suite control files are picked up from the build artifacts (unlike other server-side control files). You can either backport your new suite control file to older maintained branches, or avoid scheduling this suite against those branches by using branch_specs to set a cutoff.

There are some subtleties in the num parameter, with respect to test dependencies. You must ensure that the num parameter is greater than or equal to the number of unique dependency sets over all the jobs in your suite. So, for instance, if you have a suite (like peaches) that has some jobs with no dependencies, and some jobs with 1 dependency (bluetooth), you must make use num >= 2, otherwise the suite will fail immediately on running. There’s a handy sanity check script to make sure you’re satisfied this:

./site_utils/suite_scheduler/ --sanity

This sanity check will also run as a pre-submit hook, so even if you forget to run it yourself, you will be warned on repo upload that you have not fulfilled the num criteria.