How to write test suites/cases


Before getting down to do some exciting coding, we recommend that you read the following documents to ensure a better LISA development experience. We believe that the engineering excellence is equally important in addition to new test cases, since any test case will be run thousands of times, and many people will read and troubleshoot it. Therefore, a good test case following the guidelines can save everyone’s time.

  • Basic concepts introduces design considerations and how components work together in LISA. We recommend every LISA developer go through this before coding.

  • Coding guidelines covers our coding guidelines such as naming, code, comment conventions, etc.

  • Development setup introduces how to setup environment and code checks.

  • Extensions introduces how to develop extensions for LISA. In some cases, you may need to improve or implement extensions for new test cases.

Test composition

A typical test case includes definition, setup, run, and validation.

sample test case

Test definition

The test definitions provides documentations and settings for test cases and test suites, illustrates the main test logic, and is used to generate specifications. Both of the following examples are taken from See example tests for more examples.

Definition in test suite

A test suite is a set of test cases with similar test purposes or shared steps.

    This test suite is to verify if an environment can be provisioned correct or not.

    - The basic smoke test can run on all images to determine if a image can boot and
    - Other provisioning tests verify if an environment can be provisioned with special
    hardware configurations.
class Provisioning(TestSuite):
  • area classifies test suites by their task field. When it needs to have a special validation on some area, it can be used to filter test cases. It can be provisioning, CPU, memory, storage, network, etc.

  • category categorizes test cases by test type. It includes functional, performance, stress, and community. Performance and stress test cases take longer time to run, which are not included in regular operations. Community test cases are wrappers that help provide results comparable to the community.

  • description introduces purpose, coverage, why these test cases are bundled together and other content of the test suite, which makes clarity the test suite.

  • name is optional. The default name is the class name and will be overridden by this field if provided. It is part of the test name, just like the namespace in a programming language.

  • requirement is optional. A test case without this field means it does not have any requirement. It defines the default requirement for this test suite and can be overwritten at the test case level. Learn more from Requirement and Capability.

  • owner defines the owner of this test case. The default value is “Microsoft”. The owner information displays in test list, and used for support.

Definition in test case

    This case verifies whether a node is operating normally.

    1. Connect to TCP port 22. If it's not connectable, failed and check whether
        there is kernel panic.
    2. Connect to SSH port 22, and reboot the node. If there is an error and kernel
        panic, fail the case. If it's not connectable, also fail the case.
    3. If there is another error, but not kernel panic or TCP connection, pass with
    4. Otherwise, fully passed.
def smoke_test(self, case_name: str) -> None:
  • description explains the purpose and procedures of the test. As said before, it is also used to generate test specification documents.

  • priority depends on the impact of the test case and is used to determine how often to run the case. A lower priority means a test case of more importance, and thus it will be run more often. The lowest value (most prioritized) is 0.

  • requirement defines the requirements in this case. If no requirement specified, the test suite’s or the default global requirements will apply.

  • timeout defines when the test case will be ended by timeout. The default value is 3600 seconds. It applies to test method and before/after test case methods as well. The timeout of before/after suite is 3600, which is not changeable.

  • use_new_environment specify if this test case need a new environment. The default value is False. If it’s True, the test case will run in a new deployed environment.

  • owner Refer to the owner property of test suite.

Note for a regression test case, which deals with further issues that the fixed bug might cause, the related bugs should be presented. It is also helpful to include impact of failure in metadata.

Test case body

The test case body contains the actual implementations of the test. You can import existing tools to verify certain purposes. If existing tools cannot realize your test purpose, it is recommended that you wrap your test codes into functions, integrate them into new tools, and then only call functions like assert_that in test case body to verify. The section below explains how to do this.

The method accepts environment, node and other arguments as follows. An example from

def hello(self, case_name: str, node: Node, environment: Environment) -> None:

Find more examples in example tests and Microsoft tests.

Setup and clean-up

There are two methods to setup and cleanup for test cases: before_case and after_case.

They are used to share common logic or variables among test cases. They will be called in the corresponding step.

The kwargs supports variables similar to those in test methods.

The before_case is used to setup environment or prepare test data. It will be called before each test case in the same test suite. If it fails, the test case will be skipped.

The after_case is used to cleanup and recover the environment. It will be called after each test case in the same test suite. It’s called regardless the test result. It doesn’t affect the test result, when it fails.

def before_case(self, **kwargs: Any) -> None:

def after_case(self, **kwargs: Any) -> None:

Using extensions

When implementing test cases, you may need to use some existing extensions, or you are welcome to create your own. This section focuses on how to use them in the test code.

Read concepts to understand which extension does what and how to write extensions to develop new extensions.

Environment and node

The environment and node variables are obtained from the method arguments def hello(self, node: Node, environment: Environment). If there are multiple nodes in the environment, you can use environment.nodes to get them. The node per se can run any command, but it is recommended to implement the logic in tools and obtain the tool by[ToolName].


As said, call[ToolName] to obtain the tool. When called, LISA will first check if the tool is installed. If not, LISA will install it, and after that, an instance of the tool will be returned. The instance is available until the node is recycled, which means the same tool is already ready to use when[ToolName] is called again, as to avoid the redundant installation.


The script, like the tool, needs to be uploaded to the node before use. In addition, you need to define the following script builder before using the script.

self._echo_script = CustomScriptBuilder(
    Path(__file__).parent.joinpath("scripts"), [""]

Once defined, the script can be used like script: CustomScript =[self._echo_script].

Please note that it is recommended that you use the tools in LISA instead of writing scripts. Bash scripts are not as flexible as Python, so we prefer to write logic in Python.


The feature needs to be declared in the requirements of the test suite or test case, as shown below. It means that the test case requires the feature, and if the feature is not available in the environment, the test case will be skipped.


After the declaration, you can use the feature just like the tool, by calling node.features[SerialConsole].


Hooks are used to insert extension logic in the platform.


Called when a test result message will be sent to notifier. In this hook, the result message can be modified for extension. But be carefully, it may break other functionality.

def update_test_result_message(
      self, message: TestResultMessage
) -> None:


It returns the information of an environment. It’s called when a test case is completed.

Please note that to avoid the mutual influence of hooks, there is no upper try...except.... If a hook fails, it will fail the entire run. If you find such a problem, please solve it first.

@hookimpl  # type: ignore
def get_environment_information(self, environment: Environment) -> Dict[str, str]:
    information: Dict[str, str] = {}


Called when Azure deployment fails. This is an opportunity to return a better error message. Learn from example in

@hookimpl  # type: ignore
def azure_deploy_failed(self, error_message: str) -> None:
    for message, pattern, exception_type in self.__error_maps:
        if pattern.findall(error_message):
            raise exception_type(f"{message}. {error_message}")


Called when it needs to update ARM template before deploying to Azure.

def azure_update_arm_template(
    self, template: Any, environment: Environment
) -> None:

Best practices

Debug in ready environment

Debugging test cases or tools can be done on a local computer, in the ready environment, or in the deployed Azure environment. We recommend the latter two methods as they can save a lot of deployment time.