Business activities are decisively moving from offline to online channels. It has become imperative for organizations to have a robust digital footprint to attract customers and increase their bottom lines.
But just having a website or mobile application will not help in today’s fast paced digital scene. Customers have become more informed and demanding. Customers repel instantly from a website with mediocre performance. Page loading error, slow speed and irregular functionality during peak traffic have become unforgivable crimes for customers. Hence, applications reliability, response time, scalability and efficient resource usage have become crucial.
Here are the key things that are tested in performance testing:
- Speed – Identify the response time of the application
- Stability – Determine the stability of application under various load parameters
- Scalability – Find out the maximum user load that an application can handle reliably and securely
Process of Performance Testing
The approach and methodology of performance testing can vary depending upon the type of project. However, the objective for any performance is always the same. It helps in identifying the capability of software system to meet predefined performance parameters. It is also done for objective comparison of the performance of two different software systems. Aside, its key advantage is to identify the components of software system that degrading its performance.
Here is how a generic performance test is performed.
Test Environment: It is crucial to have hands on information about production environment, physical environment and the availability of testing tools. Analyse details of the software, hardware and network configuration that you are going to use for performance testing. This process assists test engineers in creating more productive performance tests while identifying the challenges that may erupt in the middle of performance test.
Performance Acceptance Criteria: The performance acceptance criteria include constraints and goals for response time, resource allocation and throughput. Apart from that, it is also crucial to find out project success criteria beyond these constraints and goals. Test engineers should be empowered to set performance criteria and goals because many times, project specifications do not come with a wider benchmark that would cover all the performance metrics. There are unfortunate events, where you would not find even a single performance benchmark. To set performance goals, it is advisable to identify a similar application for objective comparison.
Plan and Design Performance Test: It is crucial to identify how users’ usage will vary among end users. Looking for key scenarios is essential to test all use cases that are possible on the application. Simulation of a variety of end users should be done along with planning of performance data and making the outline of all the metrics that need to be gathered.
Test Environment Configuration: Proper configuration of the test environment is essential before the execution of performance testing. Test engineers should also arrange all the resource and tools beforehand.
Test Design Implementation: Performance test creation should be done in accordance to the test design for the application. Afterwards, run the test and monitor it closely.
Analyse, Tune and Retest: The final step is the consolidation of test, in-depth analysis and sharing of the test results. You may need to fine tune and run the test again to analyse any decrease or increase in the performance metrics. Improvement will start getting smaller with each test hence, it is advisable to stop when bottlenecking happens due to CPU. However, you always have the option to increase the power of CPU to run some more tests.
Types of Performance Testing
There are several types of performance testing that are conducted to find out several capabilities of the applications.
These performance tests are done to examine responsiveness, reliability, stability, scalability, speed and resource usage of software and infrastructure. Here is how:
- Load Testing – It is done to identify the application’s capability to perform as per expectations under an anticipated amount of load. Load testing services are meant to determine performance bottlenecks before making the application live for real users.
- Stress Testing – During stress testing, the application is put under extreme amount of virtual stress to find out how application handles the traffic and processes the data. It is done to identify the stress point of the application at which it stops working properly
- Spike Testing – It is done to record the reaction and behaviour of the software during sudden surge of traffic on the website or application.
- Endurance Testing – During this testing, the software is put under a considerable amount of load for a longer period of time to identify how stable the software remains while handling more users for a longer period of time.
- Scalability Testing – It is done to identify the ability of application to ‘scale up’ to support in the event of increased user load. It helps in identifying the amount of capacity that needs to be added to the system before crucial events including festive and holiday season.
- Volume Testing – During this process, a large amount of data is collected in the database and then the performance of the software is monitored. It is done to find out the performance of applications under various levels of database volume.
Essential Things To Remember
This was all about the procedure of performance testing and its types in technical terms. However, there are other nuances and steps that should be kept in mind before planning a performance test for an application. There are several other key metrics that make performance testing huge. Here are some key points that no test engineer should ignore to check the reliability of the website through performance testing.
Regional Performance Testing
Global businesses receive large influx of global customers on their digital platforms. Hence, it is crucial to provide them flawless customer experience that is seamless and relatable. Segregation of performance experience on the basis of geographies can help businesses in more efficient analysis of specific flaws. It would help in identifying issues related to the server, optimization of remote transactions and further enhancements for the stability of content present on the website.
Mobile Device Focused Performance Testing
Smartphones have finally trumped desktops in terms of eCommerce users. mCommerce is witnessing a double digit growth. Hence, it makes sense for businesses to have a reliable and flawless mobile platform that is loved by customers.
With rapidly increasing traffic on mobile applications, enterprises need to strategize their performance testing efforts and make them more focused towards mobile platforms. mCommerce applications throw several challenges due to their multiple and complex functional offerings. Complexity of applications makes it even more crucial to check whether the app is able to load fast and function as per expectations in peak traffic scenarios.
Apart from end user testing of the mobile application, it is important to simulate the performance of application at different speeds to ensure it is able to function properly in different cellular network speeds. In many scenarios, servers are expected to handle more load to address several parameters like mobile latency. This is why it is important to conduct network simulation in conjunction with over performance testing efforts.
Performance test results can only show you the real picture, if the simulation of test environment is done right. Workload modeling should be able to replicate the load of production environment in your performance testing. Hence, proper data acquisition of all the relevant parameters of AUT should be done during the planning phase to ensure accurate simulation. Accurate workload modeling helps in identifying the right type of user actions to conduct performance testing under load. Business cases should also be leveraged to ensure right distribution of number of users in every scenario.
Here is how it is beneficial:
- Application understanding and identification of performance cases
- Translation of AUT non-functional requirements to performance test SLAs
- Identification of the amount of test data required before starting the performance test
- Number of load injectors needed to simulate the production environment accurately
Cloud-Based Performance Testing
Cloud-based performance testing is more convenient and feasible to simulate test environment and conduct performance tests efficiently.
- Better Performance: Cloud offers the capability to easily create the required number of virtual users to simulate peak traffic during performance testing. It also offers the ability to quickly scale the users as per the requirement.
- Global Access: Cloud provides the capability to gain access to the worldwide status of application from a single location. It also enables test engineers to do performance testing from any part of the global by simulating virtual users from several locations to identify applications capability to deal with the traffic in any particular area of the world.
- Cost-Effective: Cloud helps enterprises to pay only for the resources that they use. Hence, organization can either scale up or scale down their computing resources at any point it time to ensure business operations always remain efficient. This feature helps businesses to run performance tests at any level or scale while keeping the project cost-efficient.
With increasing competition in the digital space, businesses can only grow with the trust and loyalty of their customers by delivering efficient and reliable customer experience. Hence, it becomes important to leverage performance testing to ensure the reliability of your website.