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Performance Testing


What is Performance Testing?

In the field of software testing, one of the primary aspects that ensure the efficient working of a product after its release is its evaluation under the banner of performance testing.

Popularly known as "Perf Testing", Performance Testing is a subset of performance engineering. It is a type of testing that is executed to ensure that the performance of a software application is suitable and perfect under the expected workload.

It is the process of determining the speed, effectiveness, reliability, scalability, and other important features and elements of the system. Moreover, it is also used to compare two or more applications as well as to evaluate their system speed, data transfer rate, bandwidth, and more.

Features of Performance Testing:

Software testers conduct performance tests to validate the performance of the product and to ensure that it functions accurately and as per the requirements of the client under various conditions and workloads. Performed after the culmination of software development, performance testing is considered to be an integral part of STLC. Therefore, following are some of its crucial features are:

  1. It tests the system under a mixture of load conditions, where the required response time is tested by the system under varying workloads.
  2. Performance testing involves testing of software under test (SUT) to ensure that application is working as expected under variety of load conditions.
  3. The goal of this testing is not only to find the bugs in the system but also to eliminate the performance bottlenecks from the system and to ensure that the system performs as per the expectations of the client.
  4. Helps the team meet the performance criteria of the product.
  5. Identifies issues and areas that impact the performance of the software.
  6. Helps measure the average response time.
  7. It can be performed either manually or with the assistance of automated tools.

Performance Testing and what all it covers:

To avoid the performance issues in an application, it is vital to perform stability testing and responsiveness testing under varying workloads. Besides, it also needs to be tested for scalability and resource usage. Performance testing encompasses the examination of all such attributes. Some of the common problems that can cast a shadow on a product's performance are:

  1. Time Consuming Loading: Depending on the sophistication involved, some apps can take an enormously long time to reboot and load. Ideally, it should only be a matter of seconds.
  2. Sluggish Response Time: It means a huge lag in time between feeding the input by the user and the output achieved from the system. Generally users lose interest with such apps.
  3. System Bottlenecks: These are faults in code which result in deteriorating quality of performance. Its sources can be limitations of operating systems, insufficient RAM memory,memory leaks etc.

Types of Performance Testing:

The various types of performance testing performed by the team of testers during the process of testing are as follows:

  • Load Testing: This type of testing is performed to gauge the behaviour of a system working under expected user loads. All impediments in the software along with those in the hardware in which it is installed are identified through a vigorously tested monitoring of all the application servers and in-built databases. Moreover, it can be performed manually of with the assistance of load testing tools available in the market.
  • Stress Testing:

    Stress Testing helps in finding out the maximum load under which the system software can sufficiently perform its tasks, before breakdown.

  • Soak Testing Or Endurance Testing:

    Soak test finds out the enduring capacity of the product to perform well under the expected loads, for a sustained period of time.

  • Spike Testing:

    Sometimes there is a sudden surge in load on a system, created due to the increased user demand. Spike testing evaluates the ability of a system to withstand such loads without crashing in such emergency scenarios.

  • Configuration Testing:

    Configuration Testing helps us to judge the ability of the software to respond positively to minor changes in configuration modules at the time of a system upgrade or patch.

  • Isolation Testing:

    Sometimes a test case can cause faults in the working of a system. Isolation Testing involves identifying and segregating the fault territory.

  • Volume Testing:

    Under Volume Testing large number of data is populated in database and the overall software system's behaviour is monitored. The main goal here is to check software application's performance under varying database volumes.

  • Scalability Testing:

    Many a times a business enterprise has to alter the scale of its projects for expansion purposes. Scalability Test helps to evaluate, if the software product can scale up its effectiveness, to counter the demands of an enlarged user base.

Process of Performance Testing:

Performance testing is amongst the most beneficial software testing techniques that helps testers validate the performance of a software under diverse workloads. This process assists the team in identifying bottlenecks in the system and establishes a baseline for future testing. Moreover, it ensures that the software is in compliance with the performance criteria established before the execution of the project. Therefore, to understand the importance of this testing, it is vital for us to explore the process of performance testing, which is mentioned below:

  1. Test Environment Identification: The first stage of the process, here the team identifies the test environment along with the production environment. Moreover, the details about the system’s hardware, software, and network configurations are considered. Collecting these details since the outset of testing helps the team improve the effectiveness and quality of testing, as well as enables them to tackle potential challenges efficiently.
  2. Performance Acceptance Criteria: After deciding the test environment, the team moves on to defining the goals and constraints of performance testing, while simultaneously identifying the test response time and resource utilization. Apart from these, the team works on identifying the project success criteria and performance criteria. While deciding the acceptance criteria the testers also consider the requirements and specifications of the client.
  3. Plans & Design: During this stage of the process, the key scenarios are designed to test variety of test cases. Additionally, the team works on the plan for performance test, collects required data and outline the metrics of testing.
  4. Test Environment Configuration: To ensure proper functionality of the software, test environment is configured by the team before the process is executed. Furthermore, to validate uninterrupted testing, required tools and resources are arranged.
  5. Test Execution: The test is finally executed by the team in this stage of performance testing. It involves proper monitoring and validation of various test cases, test data, etc.
  6. Result Analysis, Report & Retest: Last stage of the process where the team analyzes the output/results of the test and make comparison with the expected results. Any deviations from the expected test results are then reported to the team who retest the software to resolve issues and defects.

Some Common Issues in Performance:

The process of performance testing revolves around the quality and effectiveness of application and software’s scalability, speed and stability. Throughout the execution of testing, each of these elements of the software are monitored, which makes sure that the application or the software performs properly. However, while executing performance testing developers and testers come across various issues and discrepancies, which makes the whole process time consuming and difficult. Hence, here is a list of some common issues found during the process of testing the performance of an application.

  • Software has poor response time.
  • It requires long load time.
  • The scalability of the software or application is poor.
  • Has software configuration issues for the web server, load balancers, databases and more.
  • There are operating system limitations.
  • The software that requires performance testing has poor network configuration.
  • It has insufficient hardware resources.

Performance Testing Best Practice:

While performing performance testing the team of testers should consider adopting the best practices that can improve the efficiency of testing and increase the quality of the product. Hence, provided here are some of these best practices that can enhance the process of performance testing:

  1. Conduct performance testing as early as possible during the development process.
  2. Make performance testing a part of agile software development, which will allow the team to identify and rectify issues quickly.
  3. The team should perform various performance tests to ensure consistent findings and determine metrics average.
  4. To get best results, developers, testers, and IT team should be involved in creating the test environment.
  5. Ensure the test environment is as consistent as possible.
  6. The team should create realistic and achievable tests.
  7. Consider the users and the other stakeholders while creating reports about the performance testing findings.

To further ensure the accuracy of your performance testing, follow our performance testing checklist and get remarkable results.

Tools for Performance Testing:

Some of the widely used performance testing tools in market, based on the working environment and testing parameter are:

  1. Proxy Sniffer: A cloud based testing tool for web and application servers.
  2. HP Loadrunner: Capable of simulating thousands of real time users for judging the performance of a software under anticipated loads.
  3. LoadUI Pro: Create script-less load tests quickly and effortlessly with this performance testing tool by Smartbear.
  4. WebLoad: Developed by RadView software, Webload is a web & mobile load & performance testing and analyzing tool with remarkable features.
  5. SmartMeter.io: Offers easy test scenarios creation, comprehensive test reports, advanced performance testing functions, and test environment monitoring.
  6. Apica LoadTest: Tests the scalability and performance of the application and delivers impeccable customer satisfaction.
  7. Apache JMeter: One of the most popular tools, Apache JMeter analyzes the performance of various web applications.
  8. Stres Stimulus: Tests applications scenarios that are difficult to test with other tools.
  9. Dotcom Monitor: This is a powerful cloud based software that uses real browsers to test the load of your applications.
  10. Appvance: Offers AI driven unified test automation platform that offer faster, greater and best performance testing.
  11. NeoLoad: This is a load and stress testing tool that tests the performance of the web and mobile applications before they go into production.
  12. AppLoader: A cost effective, high performance load and performance testing tool that offers exceptional software quality assurance.

Our next blog highlights the complete list of top 10 performance testing tools.

Conclusion:

Performance testing is an amalgamation of numerous testing activities, which work together to verify the speed, reliability, stability, performance, and other important aspects of the software. This type of tests test the software under expected as well as unexpected workload and user load, which ensures that the application performing the tasks is capable of delivering exceptional quality, compatibility, and functionality.

Read our next article on Functional Test to gain an insight into its various features and components.