You have built an application for your business.
The ideas that you brainstormed in your initial meetings have been executed well to give birth to an app. The app looks great, and beta testing ensures the readiness of the software product, as well.
But the real questions are:
- Can the app withstand unexpected demands like periods of high user traffic or limited internet access? As per an estimate, a 5-minute downtime of Google.com can cost the search giant as much as $545,000.
- How many users can my site handle before it starts to slow down?
- How many concurrent users can a business application handle?
Despite advancements in cloud orchestration, DevOps, and scalability, a huge surge in the number of visitors can affect any website.
This is the reason that the best software product development projects of the world go through a thorough performance testing process. Without it, product owners can only play a ‘Guess Game’ regarding the quality of the solution for their businesses.
What is Performance Testing?
Performance testing is the process to identify whether the software will be able to handle the high load, among other possible performance issues in the future. Thus, as Wikipedia states, the ultimate aim of the performance testing process is to determine how a system performs in terms of responsiveness and stability under a particular workload.
Moreover, with performance testing, you can measure, validate, and verify other quality attributes of the system, like scalability, reliability and resource usage.
Performance Testing Process
The performance testing methodology can vary widely, however, the main objective of the tests remains the same. It helps your software to meet certain pre-defined performance criteria.
Below is a generic performance testing process:
A) Identify the Test Environment: The foremost step is the identification of the physical and production test environments along with the performance testing tools and resources available with the test team. Components that make the physical environment are hardware, software, and network configurations. A complete understanding of the whole environment leads to a more efficient test design.
B) Identify Performance Acceptance Criteria: This step includes identification of the throughput, response times, and resource allocation. Moreover, it is also vital to judging the project success criteria outside of these goals and constraints. For example, using performance tests to evaluate which combination of configuration settings will result in the most desirable performance characteristics.
C) Plan & Design Tests: This step involves determining how usage is likely to vary among end users and identify key scenarios to test for all possible use cases. It is essential to plan performance test data after a simulation of a variety of test users and thus, outline the metrics that will be gathered.
D) Configure the Test Environment: This step deals with the preparation of test environment before the execution stage. Apart from this, you have to arrange all the required tools and resources in this phase.
E) Implement the Test Design: As per your test design, build the performance tests.
F) Execute the Test: Run, monitor, and validate your tests.
G) Analyze, Tune, and Retest: Collect, analyze and share test results. Now, as per your results, fine-tune and test again to check whether there is an improvement or decrease in performance.
Performance Testing: Types and Tools
In order to minimize risks and cut costs, it is important to identify the appropriate test that must be applied to the software product. And for that to happen, it is vital to get acquainted with the difference in various performance test types. In the following section, we will discuss the most popular types of performance testing and tools required to execute them.
1. Load Testing
Load Testing is conducted to measure the performance of an application under both normal and peak conditions. The objective of the Load and Performance Testing is to identify the bottlenecks in performance before going live with the software application.
If a software does not undergo the Load Test, the result can be as harmful as crashing of the website at the peak time. For instance, in 2018, midway through Black Friday sales, Lowe’s website crashed. This crash could have cost the company over $7,000,000. Customers took this issue to social media and complained about it.
The Most Important Tool Required to Execute the Load Test
WebLoad: It is an enterprise-level load testing tool which is full of features. It supports Load Testing by generating high virtual user load in the cloud as well as locally. Moreover, it integrates with a good number of third-party tools for monitoring like AppDynamics and Dynatrace. It also supports mobile and UI test scripts from Selenium and Perfecto.
Alternate Tool: LoadRunner
2. Stress Testing
Stress Testing is carried out to measure the performance of the system when the number of users is increased beyond the limits of its specified requirements. One of the objectives to carry out this test is to understand at which level the application is bound to crash.
Apart from this, this test also provides insight into how the app crashes and the estimated time required to repair the solution after a crash. Unlike Load Testing, Stress Testing is performed outside of the parameters of normal working conditions.
The Most Important Tool Required to Execute the StressTest
NeoLoad: It is a testing tool designed by Neotys and is used in the performance testing process. It is mainly designed for DevOps that seamlessly integrates with your existing Continuous Delivery pipeline. NeoLoad helps in stimulating user activity and also check for infrastructure performance. With this, you can foresee the bottleneck areas in the web and the mobile app development process.
With NeoLoad, you can test at a 10x faster speed as compared to traditional tools to meet the level of requirements across a full agile performance testing lifecycle.
Alternate Tool: Taurus
3. Soak Testing
Soak Testing, also known as Endurance Testing, aims to evaluate the working of software under a normal workload over an extended amount of time. It looks at the stability and response time of the application. The objective of Soak testing is to identify system problems like memory leaks.
The Most Important Tool Required to Execute the Soak Test
LoadRunner: It is the oldest and thus, the most mature performance test tool available in the market. Available since 1994, LoadRunner, was acquired by HP in 2006. It has about 85% market share in Performance Testing industry.
It aims to provide an end-to-end picture of system performance. It works on the principal of simulating Virtual Users on the subject application. These Virtual Users replicate the client’s requests and expect a corresponding response to passing a transaction.
Alternate Tool: BlazeMeter
4. Spike Testing
SpikeTesting is a type of Performance testing, which is performed by suddenly increasing or decreasing the load generated by a very large number of users. The main objective is to analyze whether performance will suffer, the system will fail, or it will be able to handle dramatic changes in load.
The Most Important Tool Required to Execute the Spike Test
JMeter: The Apache JMeter is an open-source Spike Testing tool. Specially designed to load functional test behavior and measure the performance of web application, it runs on any OS that supports Java.
JMeter applies to unit test, functional test, and monitoring. Therefore, it is considered as a swiss-knife of testing.
Alternate Tool: LoadRunner
Performance Testing Process: A Necessity to Rank high in Today’s Digital Space
With an evolving digital ecosystem, website crashes and declining performance have become a common scenario. Even big names like HBO suffered from this issue, when on July 16, 2017, their website crashed as the famous show Game of Thrones Season 7 went LIVE. This led to a plethora of disappointing tweets from the fan club.
In order to avoid situations like these, modern businesses need software solutions to pull their weight. Investing in Performance Testing is obviously one such solution. With increasing cut-throat competition in today’s digital landscape, Performance Testing has become a critical part for enterprises to build reliable, stable, and scalable software.
With expertise in a wide range of applications, Net Solutions provides end-to-end performance testing solutions to help clients launch their robust applications with high responsiveness, availability, and scalability.