Performance testing is a testing technique, which helps to determine how the stability, scalability, responsiveness and speed of an application hold up under a given workload. It is a non-functional testing technique. Even though it is important for ensuring software quality, it is often undertaken when the code is ready for release. Typically, speed, robustness, reliability and application size are examined when a performance test is executed.
The process incorporates performance indicators such as:
- Response times of page, browser, and network
- Processing time taken by a server request and query
- The number of acceptable concurrent users
- CPU memory consumption
- The number and type of errors that might be encountered with an application
Why do we Need Performance Testing?
To ensure that the system will meet the expected service levels in production as well as to render a positive user experience, it is critical to undertake performance testing. Also, to avoid the cost of solving a problem in production performance that can be prohibitive, a continuous or an ongoing performance testing strategy is advisable. More specifically, performance testing is important:
- To verify if the application satisfies performance requirements( for example, the system needs to manage up to 500 or 800 concurrent users)
- To check for computing bottlenecks in an application
- To compare systems in order to identify the better system of the lot
- To measure stability under peak internet traffic events
What does Performance Testing Measure?
Typically, performance testing can be used to measure and analyze response times and potential errors, besides other factors. This helps to clearly identify bugs, bottlenecks, and mistakes –and guides you to optimize the application, eliminating the problem(s).
The issues highlighted by performance tests are related to response times, speed, load times and scalability.
Load time: The allotment needed to start an application is the load time. The time taken should be as minimum as a few seconds for an ideal user experience.
Response time: The time taken to respond to a user’s query or request is called the response time. A delayed response time will lead to a bad user experience.
Scalability: If there is a problem with the adaptability of the application, being unable to accommodate different numbers of users, it means that the scalability is limited.
Bottlenecks: Typically, hardware issues or poor coding gives rise to the obstruction that hinders the overall performance of the system. These are bottlenecks.
The Process of Performance Testing
The goal is to make sure that the system performs well under different circumstances. This is possible by way of performance testing. To achieve this, there is a broad, generic framework that is followed in performance testing:
- Identify the testing environment and tools: A thorough knowledge of the hardware, software and network configurations that is being used and documenting them in both test and production environments ensures coherence and helps to identify problems that testers might encounter.
- Define acceptable performance criteria: Before starting off with the tests, the goals and the thresholds that will demonstrate success should be determined. While the project specifications will provide the main criteria, testers also need to set a wider set of tests and goals.
- Define planning test scenarios and design tests: It is critical to determine and understand how different types of users would be using the application. It is best to follow this by creating test scenarios that accommodate different yet feasible use cases that emulate real life conditions that involve:
- Preparing and setting up the testing environment and tools
- Implementing the test design
- Running the test and monitoring them
- Analysing, adjusting and redoing the tests
After running the tests, the results should be analysed and consolidated. As soon as the issues are resolved, tests are to be repeated to make sure that other issues are eliminated as well.
Tips for Effective Performance Testing
An ideal testing environment would be one that mirrors the production ecosystem as closely as possible. Here are some tips for effective performance testing to achieve accurate results:
- Keep the performance testing environment separate from the UAT environment.
- Identify and work with those test tools that best automate the performance testing plans.
- Run the same test multiple times to determine the consistency of the outcome before checking off the performance as acceptable or not.
- Avoid changing the testing environment between tests.
Performance Testing is concerned with measuring the current performance of an application or a system under varying workloads. At Hurix, we go beyond traditional performance testing and conduct fully automated performance testing. We have automated testing tools that can be used to execute performance tests efficiently.