When you are a software developer, testing the program is a part of your work. And performance testing is a way to measure the loading speed and performance while completing tasks. Developers run performance testing tools to detect any performance-related problem in the system. Without a proper performance testing method, the performance of the system/network/software will be slow and inefficient. Overall, performance testing helps you create a better user experience by reducing response time, data consistency, etc. But there is so much about performance testing that you need to know if you consider it for your organization.
Performance testing determines the stability, speed, and scalability of a network/system/program while performing a specific task. Performance testing helps developers understand the program’s quality and whether or not it is suitable for launch in the market. With performance testing, one can identify the performance bottlenecks of the software program. This technique is a part of the software engineering process known as “Perf Testing”. The main goal of performance testing is checking if the program serves the below criteria:
If the program responds quickly to the user requests
How much user load can the software manage at one go
Is the software stable under various workloads?
While there are two main types of performance testing: load and stress, other types can also enhance an application’s performance.
Many types of performance testing are available To determine how a software program will perform once launched. Here are them explained:
With load testing, the developer can comprehend the manners of the application under a certain load value. The developers mimic the expected number of simultaneous users and data transactions within a specific period to identify how the application is responding and if there are any bottlenecks. This test helps you understand how many users a program can manage before it is available to use. Moreover, the developers can load certain test features of a system as a part of the CI process. It helps them make changes to the code if needed.
Stress testing places the application under a higher traffic load than expected to show how well the system will perform above its capacity. There are two types of stress testing: soak testing and spike testing. With stress testing, the developers can determine the scalability of a workload because it stimulates the hardware resources to identify the possible breaking point depending on how many resources such as CPUs, hard disks, memory, etc., it uses. System strain can stimulate memory shortage, sluggish data exchange, safety problems, information breakdown, etc. Organizations mostly conduct stress testing before a huge event like Black Friday to determine how much load the application can take.
Soak testing, or endurance testing, slowly increases the number of end-users of an application to check how it will perform in the long run. While running the soak test, the developer monitors the KPIs, including memory usage, memory shortage, failures, etc. With soak tests, the developers can also identify the consistency of the application even before the test has begun.
Spike testing is another type of stress testing that detects the performance of an application under an abrupt and huge number of end-users. It will help you decide if the app can handle an abrupt and huge workload multiple times within a short period. The developers’ team generally conducts spike testing before a huge event like stress testing.
Scalability testing tests the performance of an app judging by its performance attributes. Scalability testing can be conducted based on the number of user requests.
Capacity testing is like the stress testing method where it tests the traffic loads depending on the number of user requests. However, this testing method tests if the app can manage the traffic it was specially created to manage.
Performance testing can be conducted using a cloud system with a bigger advantage. With cloud performance testing, the developers can test large-scale apps without spending too much money on them. While cloud performance testing is an easy process, it still does not show an in-depth analysis of an application’s performance.
The developers rely on performance testing for many reasons that you must consider.
The main reason developers utilize performance testing is not only to detect and fix bugs but also to enhance performance. Your application’s features and functions are not a major concern, but how it performs, its response time, scalability, reliability, resource usage, etc., are important. You can learn some valid information about your application’s speed, stability, scalability, and more with performance testing. The most important thing about performance testing is that it shows what needs to be fixed before the application goes live. If the performance testing is not done properly, it might be slow, inconsistent, and have poor usability. Here are the crucial benefits of performance testing:
Detects issues at the early stage and helps the developers fix the errors before the app goes live.
Observe the scalability, accuracy, and stability in regular and tough situations.
Boosts customer satisfaction by estimating the app’s reaction from the users.
Confirms the functional features of the app.
Enhances load capacity and helps the organizations in boosting the user volume.
To avail of the benefits of performance testing, you will have to go through the performance testing process carefully and efficiently.
The exact steps of performance testing vary from one organization and program to another. The steps are highly dependable on what performance metrics the organizations find highly important. However, the basic focus of performance testing is universal, and every organization follows a certain testing pattern.
The first step is to identify where the production and testing of the application are based and what tools are required for the testing purpose. The developers collect the hardware, software, and other specifications and configurations to support the testing. Developers conduct performance testing on the production environment, but it could interrupt the production activities.
The next stage determines the restrictions, objectives, and limitations that display the testing method. The most important performance criteria are originated from the application’s specifications. But as a developer, you must test different parts of the app to increase the chance of success.
Before conducting a test, the developer should plan and design how the test would be done. They will create testing scenarios that will cover all the use cases.
Before implementing the performance test, the developer should configure the test environment. And collect all the necessary testing tools to perform the testing.
Conduct the test and observe and control the testing results.
When the test results appear, observe and examine them thoroughly and share them with the team. Work together to resolve the issues and take another test to confirm if each problem has been solved.
To execute the test and identify and fix the performance-related issues, you will have to take help from several testing tools.
A wide range of testing tools is available to help you improve your software program. However, before choosing a tool, you will have to consider if it serves your purpose. Even when the list is wide, we can give you a snippet of the market’s most popular and useful performance testing tools.
This Apache testing tool can create load tests on websites and applications. There are JMeter plugins available that you can use to load test functions, graphs, timers, thread groups, logic controllers, etc. It is useful for load testing on java-based OSs and IDE-based browsers and programs.
With LoadNinja, you can generate load tests in a short time without any script. And it also won’t place any negative impact on the quality. Therefore, there is no need for translation of the script.
This tool stimulates millions of users and creates real-life loads to identify how much load an application can handle. It comes with a virtual user generator that assembles real user activities.
NeoLoad features load and stress tests for web and mobile apps. With this tool, you can test apps before their release.
But the real question is, what does performance testing monitors?
The basic things that are monitored during performance testing of an application are as follows:
Processor usage or how much time the processor takes to implement non-idle threads.
How much memory the application takes to process a task.
How much disk time the application takes to execute a read and write request.
Performance testing shows the bandwidth usage by a network interface.
The number of private bytes a task has been allocated and is not subject to be shared with other tasks.
How much virtual memory has been used.
How many pages have been written or read from the disk.
The average number of CPU interrupts per second.
The response time for the application to send the requested data.
Network bytes total per second.
Maximum active sessions.
The number of user requests from connection pooling.
Network output queue length.
Even the performance testing helps in all these ways to make your application better, there are still some drawbacks included.
Most of the performance-related problems of an application revolve around its speed, scalability, stability, response time, and load time. Speed is the most important factor of an application because if an application responds slowly to the user's interaction, the users will lose interest. And even though you can find the common problems using performance testing, some challenges are still involved.
Some performance testing tools are only available for web application testing.
Some performance tools are expensive, but the free ones may not work as efficiently as you want them to
Some tools might not be compatible with the type of application you are building.
It can be hard to test the performance of some applications using the performance testing tools.
These performance testing challenges can be sidetracked by doing some research on the topic or using the performance engineering process instead.
Performance testing and performance engineering are two different processes even though they sound and look the same. Performance testing is an element of performance engineering which is primarily focused on measuring the stability of an application. Performance Engineering, on the other hand, is a process of tuning and testing the software to meet certain performance goals.
As a performance testing tip, we want you to know that you should create a performance testing environment that mimics the production environment. If you don't do that, then the performance testing results might not be accurate as per the application’s behavior when you finally launch the product. Also, try not to make any changes during the production and testing environment test. However, performance testing is a difficult process to run, and that's why many developers prefer automated testing tools. These tools have various capabilities, representation techniques, and functionalities that might be helpful for different types of organizations and application software. However, if you can conduct a performance test rightly, it will boost your user satisfaction and user base over time.
By Vijay Singh Khatri • June 28, 2022