Performance Testing checks the ‘performance’ of an application or software under workload conditions, in order to determine stability and responsiveness. The objective of performance testing is also to discover and eliminate any hindrances that may lower performance. As an expert Performance Testing Services Company we conduct this type of testing using contemporary methods and tools to ensure that software meets all the expected requirements such as speed (response time of the application), stability (steady under varying loads), and scalability (load capacity of the software). Performance testing falls within the larger realm of performance engineering.
Why is Performance Testing Required?
Most importantly performance testing uncovers areas that may need to be improved and enhanced before launch, and to ensure that the business is aware of the speed, stability, and scalability of their software/application. As an experienced software testing company, we understand that without this type of testing, software could contain several issues such as slow performance when being used by several users, inconsistent ‘behavior’ across varying operating systems and devices, and other such issues.
If a software / application were to be released with issues to the market not only would it not meet the sales goals, the company would also gain a bad reputation and customer ire. Performance testing is especially necessary for applications that would be critical to the mission of companies – applications need to run interrupted and without variations and divergent behavior.
Types of Performance Testing
There are different types of performance tests within the realm of software testing and fall under non-functional testing (determining the readiness of the software) and functional testing (focus on individual functions of the software). It is important for companies to partner with a professional and experienced service provider to undertake this type of testing, amongst others, for enhanced ROI in business.
Load TestingAs a highly proficient load testing services company we have helped several businesses to measure the performance of their software under increasing workload – a number of users or transactions simultaneously on the system. Load testing is about measuring the response time and stability of the system with the increase in workload – which is within the bounds of normal working conditions.
Stress TestingThis is also referred to as ‘fatigue testing’ and measures the performance of software beyond the bounds of normal working conditions. The software is loaded with users /transactions that would be beyond the capacity of the software, and the aim of this testing is to check the stability of the software under such ‘stress’ conditions. It helps to determine the point that software would crash and how soon it would be able to ‘recover’ from the crash.
Spike Testing This is a type of testing within the realm of stress testing and tests the performance of software when there are quick, repeated, and substantial increases in workloads. The workloads are beyond the normal expected loads in shorter timeframes.
Endurance TestingThis is also referred to as soak testing and evaluates the performance of software under normal work conditions, but over an extended timeframe. The aim of endurance testing is to determine problems such as memory leaks in the system (a memory leak happens when the system is unable to release discarded memory, and this can significantly damage the performance of the system)
Scalability TestingThis testing determines whether or not software is able to successfully handling increase in workloads, and is done by gradually enhancing data volume or user load while monitoring the performance of the system. In addition, factors such as the CPU and memory could be changed while workload remains constant – the system should perform well.
Volume TestingThis is also referred to as flood testing and is conducted to determine the efficiency of the software with projected large amounts of data – ‘flooding’ of the system with data.
Common Problems Occurring During Performance Testing
Apart from slow responses and load times, testers usually encounter several other problems while conducting performance testing.
Blockages: Data flow is interrupted or stopped when the system does not have the capacity to handle the workload.
Reduced Scalability: When the software is unable to handle the required number of simultaneous tasks, the results may not be as expected, there could be an increase in the errors, and possible other unexpected results.
Issues with Software Configuration: The settings may not be sufficient to handle workload.
Inadequate Hardware: There could be poorly performing CPUs or even lowered physical memory of the system.
Steps within Performance Testing
Experienced testers use what is known as a ‘test bed’ or the testing environment, wherein the software, hardware, and networks are put up to run performance tests. The following are the steps to conduct performance testing within test bed.
Ascertain the Testing Environment By ascertaining and putting together the required tools, hardware, software, network configurations, testers would be better equipped to put design the tests and also assess the possible testing challenges early on in the process.
Determine Performance Metrics Testers must determine performance metrics such as response time, throughput and constraints, while also assessing the success criteria for performance testing.
Meticulous Planning and Designing of Tests Experienced testers would take into account target metrics, test data, and variability of users, which would constitute test scenarios. In addition, testers would need to put together the elements of the test environment and monitor resources.
Put Together Test Design and Execute Tests The next step would be to develop the tests based on the above, followed by the structured execution of the tests. This would include monitoring and capturing all the generated data.
Lastly – Analysis, Reporting, and Retesting For successful completion of the testing, it is necessary to analyze and report the findings. Post analysis and reporting, a rerun of the tests using varying parameters – some same and some different, is essential.
Performance Testing Metrics Measured
Every round of performance testing would not be able to use all the metrics to measure speed, scalability, and stability. Some of the metrics for performance testing are:
Response Time - The total time spent to send and receive a response from the system
Wait Time – Developers are able to determine the time elapsed before they receive the first byte after sending a request – this is also known as average latency.
Average Load Time – From the user perspective one of the top indicators of quality is the average time the system takes to deliver their request.
Peak Response Time – This measures the longest time taken to complete a request, and a peak response time that goes above the average, could be an indication of a variance that could likely pose a problem later.
Error Rate – When compared to all requests, this would be a percentage of requests that end in errors, and usually occurs when the load goes beyond the capacity of the system.
Concurrent Users – Also referred to as load size or the number of active users at any point of time.
Requests per Second and Number of Passed / Failed Transactions – The number of requests handled and the measurement of the total successful and unsuccessful requests.
Throughput, CPU and Memory Utilization – Throughput displays the bandwidth utilized during testing and CPU Utilization is the time that the CPU need to process requests, and Memory utilization is the amount of memory required to process each request.
Right time to Conduct Performance Testing
There are two phases in the lifecycle of an application – the development and deployment phases – and this is true for both mobile and web applications. The performance testing during development focuses on components, and the sooner these components are tested the earlier would anomalies be detected, lowering the amount of time and costs required to rectify the errors. As the application is developed, performance tests must be more comprehensive and some should be carried out in the deployment phase.
Performance Testing is an absolute necessity in the realm of Performance Engineering – and must be conducted prior to the release of software. By ensuring that the software / application are working well, a business would be able to gain customer satisfaction and long term engagement. Costs of poor performance of an application can be extremely high and would include damaged reputation, customer ire, bad publicity, and huge losses in sales. To protect your company from flawed products, connect with our experts and leave the worrying to us.