Uninterruptible testing at Okta

Problem statement

Every product needs some measure of testing; security products need more than most. Achieving the confidence, product quality, and product safety necessary for an industry-critical solution such as Okta could be done with infinite resources, infinite money, and infinite time. Until those are available, alternative solutions are needed.


With finite testing environmental resources, Okta workflow teams achieved uninterruptible testing by deploying multiple topic branches to the same testing segregated by virtual Kubernetes clusters with strong isolation guarantees. With this capability, our teams not only save costs but also improve the development process and release cycles.

Sandbox environment

In a staging environment, network traffic comes in and is routed to a predetermined virtual Kubernetes cluster, which is the sandbox environment. In the sandbox environment, each sandbox test org can be based on an individual topic branch deployment. The topic branch deployment has its own lifecycle, initializing, updating, and running. 

Structure of the Sandbox environment

Sandbox structure diagram

Benefits of the sandbox environment

  • Cost saving: Instead of spinning up a new cluster of hosts, multiple branches can be deployed to the sandbox environment for testing without interrupting one another’s services. No extra maintenance for host environments or DNS. 
  • Process enhancements: All teams who have access will own independent testing hosts. Test data and results are also independent of one another. With parallel testing, the production release cycle can iterate much faster forward.
  • Engineering productivities: With a global database and services, one Okta test org can have multiple workflow integrations. It helps save testing efforts and improves cross-team collaboration. With multi-cluster testing, it also helps detect issues at the first stage of development. There‘s no impact on external customers.
  • Organizational alignment: All members of the product, design, quality assurance, and engineering teams have access to the staging environment and can log in to sandbox organizations. This allows every team to try out the latest features before they’re released to the general pool.
  • System scalability and expansion: With limited data storage and resource costs, the sandbox environment hosts can be extended and integrated with multiple Okta platforms, products, and services. 

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