A Guide to Performance Testing – Part 1

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Dhananjay Jadhav

April 18, 2017

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Businesses need to ensure their apps and websites are free from performance issues for numerous reasons. If these systems don’t work well, it can cause an adverse impact on customer satisfaction, and ultimately revenue.

For any app to be deemed user-friendly, however, it must be stable, scalable and fast. To achieve these goals, businesses must complete rigorous testing before launching a new system.

But it’s also crucial they implement performance testing to ensure uninterrupted functioning of all their apps.
Why Performance Testing?

Performance testing provides clear visibility about an application’s speed, scalability and stability by creating a 360-degree performance snapshot about it before it goes live. Without testing, it may experience various issues, including delays during times of high loads or when users submit forms.

Performance tests ensure coding is well optimized and glitches are removed. It also analyzes and tunes server configuration and utilization aspects as well as CPU and memory, which can provide insights into operations that are causing the highest load on a server.

Basic aspects of Performance Testing

Although application function can be tested in various ways, there are some key aspects that need to be assessed thoroughly:

  • Speed – Applications need to respond in real-time on various devices. Speed can be measured through the time taken to load the required contents and forms, or for a user to sign in after entering credentials.
  • Scalability – Use of mobile devices has increased exponentially, which increases the overall load on applications. Scalability is the number of concurrent users the system can serve without performance issues.
  • Stability – An application also should be stable to ensure the speed isn’t affected by changing workload. Stability is determining the operation of the application in varying loads.

Different types of Performance Testing

It is important to understand and execute the various types of performance analysis tests.

These tests involves analyzing the operation through application testing, such as response time, throughput and utilization, to understand whether the application meets the defined requirements.

  • Load test – Load testing is done to validate the application’s behavior under normal and peak load conditions. It is conducted to verify whether the application meets expected working objectives that are defined in service-level agreements. Load test measures response time, throughput and resource utilization levels. Subjecting a server to a large amount of mail traffic is an example of a load test.
  • Stress testing – Stress testing is used to determine or identify the application’s behavior when it is pushed beyond normal and pick load conditions. Looking at an app’s performance with various loads is an example of a stress test.
  • Capacity test – This testing is carried out to validate how many user transactions a system under test supports. Looking an app’s performance when it has various numbers of concurrent users is an example of a capacity test.

Performance benchmarking

Benchmarking is the practice of validating application behavior against the defined baseline or by comparing against industry standards.

To determine the app’s benchmark score, a set of tests can be run to comply with the specifications or an industry benchmark. If there are other similar applications available that already have tested performance against industry benchmarks, such applications can be used to compare the test results on the application being developed.

Performance testing helps identify bottlenecks in a system or in an application under test by establishing a baseline for future testing, thus, tuning the performance of a system.

For a performance testing project to be successful, the testing must be relevant to the context of the project, which helps focus on the items that are truly important.

Before the application is ready to go live, these questions need to be asked:

  • Does it meet performance objectives?
  • Is it ready to cope with any type of workload?
  • Will it provide the expected customer satisfaction?

For a more in-depth look at the tools and activities available for performance testing, read Part 2 of this blog post.

If you are planning to develop an application or are in the process of modernizing any legacy application, we would be happy to get into a technical discussion and help you through the process. Contact us today.

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