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Performance Testing: Process, Types and Challenges

  • Pragya Soni
  • Apr 07, 2022
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“For any software to run successfully, it is essential to execute performance testing.”

 

Performance engineering is defined as the process by which the software is tested and its performance is marked. Performance testing is done to optimize the user experience for an application or software. While performance testing is a subset of performance engineering.

 

In this blog we will learn everything concerned with performance testing. And see how performance testing tests and reports the live performance of software under different metrics.

 

Also Read | Types of Software Testing

 

 

What is Performance Testing?

 

Performance testing is a subset of performance engineering. It is abbreviated as “Perf Testing”. It is defined as a software testing process that is used to test the speed, scalability, response time, resource usage, and reliability of a software. It is done to check the working of software for a particular workload.

 

The aim of software testing is to identify the drawbacks and bottlenecks in a software application, and eliminate them immediately. It is a testing measure that estimates the speed, responsiveness, and stability of a software network. Many organizations run performance tests before launching the software to identify the bugs and errors related to the performance.

 

If performance testing is not run pre hand, the system is expected to be affected with slow response times, poor user experience and an inconsistent experience between the users and operating system. 

 

Any software is likely to have more positive user experience, if its developed system meets the stability and speed requirements for particular workloads. Performance testing is a set of tests involving both quantitative tests to be performed in a lab as well as qualitative tests done in a productive environment. 

 

Each software has different performance requirements depending upon the workload to be validated. Though, some common parameters are processing speed, data transfer, workload efficiency, throughput, and network bandwidth.

 

 

Why is Performance Testing essential?

 

If you are wondering about the need or importance of software testing, consider an example: a company launches a program without testing its performance capabilities. The response time of the program is thus not validated. And, in case the response time of the program is slow, imagine the level of irritation it will create in the mind of users. Taking our own case, we all hate slow loading sites and services. Isn't it? Thus, performance testing is essential.

 

The reasons for which an organization run performance testing at least once before the launch or release of program are:

 

  1. To check if the application fulfills performance requirements.

 

  1. To check if the system can handle a number of concurrent users.

 

  1. To search bottlenecks within the program and while its execution.

 

  1. To check if the performance level claimed by the vendor is actually true or not.

 

  1. To determine stability of the application at peak traffic events.

 

  1. To do a comparison between the sample and standard software and draw the results of two.

 

Also Read | Project Management Software

 

 

What is the goal of Performance Testing?

 

Performance testing, a non-functional testing technique performed to determine the system parameters in terms of responsiveness and stability under various workloads. Performance testing measures the quality attributes of the system, such as scalability, reliability and resource usage.

 

The major goal of performance testing is to test the application output, processing speed, memory utilization. Command response time and network bandwidth. It also evaluates the data transfer speed and maximum concurrent users for a particular program.

 

 

Indicators of Performance Testing

 

It is a non-functional software testing that evaluates the system performance on the aspects of responsiveness and stability. The indicators of performance testing are also known as metrics of performance testing. The process of performance testing involves performance indicators such as:

 

  1. Browser and page response time

 

  1. Network response time

 

  1. Server request processing time

 

  1. Bugs that maybe encountered with the app

 

  1. Robustness and reliability

 

  1. Application size

 

  1. Process memory consumption

 

  1. Correct sizing of the application

 

Also Read | Conformance Testing

 

 

Process of Performance Testing

 

An organization takes the following specific steps while doing performance testing. Though these steps sometimes vary from one another, depending on the organization and indicators. But the basic structure of all the indicators and steps is the same. Organization follows the following flow steps:

 

  1. Identify tools and Test Environment

 

The first step is to identify the production environment, testing tools, and testing environment. For this, documentation of hardware, software, and infrastructure specifications is done to note the key points. 

 

Configuration of the test sample is done in both test and production environment is essential to ensure coherence. Performance testing should be accompanied with rigorous safeguards to prevent disrupting obstacles.

 

  1. Define a Performance Criterion

 

Even a simple class test follows a minimum passing criterion. Similarly, before executing performance testing, it is essential to determine the constraints, thresholds, and goals that demonstrate test success. These criteria are set by project specifications, and the testers should qualify the set of benchmarks.

 

  1. Design Tests

 

Now the task is to design a test environment. It is essential to create test situations that contain all the possible use cases. Plan and design the tests accordingly to the need of organization and application. Outline the metric designs for the same.

 

  1. Prepare Tools and Test Environment

 

Assemble the tools required for testing pre-hand and configure the testing environment before you actually execute the performance tests.

 

  1. Run the Test

 

This is the major processing step. Execute the tests, record and monitor the results.

 

  1. Resolve and Reset

 

After you have executed the results once, analyze and consolidate test results. Prepare a detailed report, work in a team, identify the performance shortcomings, file tune the application, resolve the bottlenecks, and repeat the test, until each bottleneck is eliminated from the application.

 

For creating a performance test environment, one should try to keep it as practical as possible. This helps the team to get an accurate representation of the application's response in actual workload. 

 

Following tips should be considered in mind before running performance testing:

 

  1. The UAT and performance testing environment must be separated.

 

  1. Best test tools should be selected to automate the performance testing plan.

 

  1. Execute a performance test several times to obtain the accurate measure of the application’s performance.

 

  1. Run the same test several times, before marking or qualifying the test results.

 

  1. Try not to make changes in the test environments in between the tests.

 

Also Read | A/B Testing

 

 

Different Types of Performance Testing

 

Broadly classified in two testing methods, load performance testing and stress performance testing. There are different types of performance testing that are used to identify different performance standards. The major examples and types of performance testing are explained below:


Types of performance testing:1) Load testing 2) Stress testing - Soak testing, Spike testing 3) Scalability testing 4) Capacity testing 5) Cloud testing

Types of performance testing


 

  1. Load Testing

 

Load testing is a type of performance testing that helps the developers to understand the response of the application under a specific load. To execute load testing, the organization simulates the probable number of concurrent users and traffic over a duration of time. 

 

It helps to identify bottlenecks and determine the load that application can handle swiftly. Load testing is a part of continuous integration process, after which immediate changes to the base code is done.

 

  1. Stress Testing

 

Stress testing as the name suggests checks the response of the application at stress, that means when the traffic is higher than the usual expectations. It has two subsets soak testing and spike testing, that we will consider in below points. 

 

Stress testing helps the team to understand the workload capacity of the system. It puts strain on the hardware devices. It helps in determining the potential breaking point of the application. It helps in resolving issues like slow data transfers, memory shortages, data corruption, and other security conflicts.

 

  • Soak Testing

 

Soak testing is a subset of stress testing. It is also known as endurance testing. It is used to predict long-term sustainability of the system. It determines the steady increase at the response speed of application. 

 

It is used to eliminate bottlenecks like slow processing speed, memory allocation, memory usage and memory shortages. It also reflects the throughput rate and response times during the test when metrics are kept constant.

 

  • Spike Testing

 

Spike testing is also a subset of stress testing. It records the performance of users under a significant and sudden increase of end users. With the help of spike testing the team determines if the system can handle drastic workload for a short duration of time. Like stress testing, spike testing is performed at traffic higher than normal expected traffic volume.

 

 

  1. Scalability Testing

 

Scalability testing is done to measure the software’s ability to scale up or scale down performance attributes as per the requirements. for example, adjusting power of the software as per the number of end users.

 

 

  1. Capacity Testing

 

Capacity testing is more or less identical to stress testing. It tests the traffic loads based on the number of end users, but the amount differs every time. It is executed to check if the application is able to handle fluctuating amounts of traffic or not.

 

 

  1. Cloud Testing

 

When performance testing is carried out in terms of clouds, it is called cloud performance testing. Cloud environments generally have more security restrictions than other security environments. 

 

The major benefit of cloud testing is that it executes the performance test at a larger scale. It also helps in maintaining costs required for performance testing. Making the application more scalable, cloud testing helps to allocate the hidden bottlenecks.

 

Also Read | Compliance Testing

 

 

Challenges of Performance Testing

 

Teams and organizations face a variety of challenges while executing the performance test. Most common performance problems include response time, load time, and poor scalability. Here is the list of performance problems faced during performance testing:

 

  1. Long Load Time: Load time is the initial time required for an application or software to start. It should be as minimum as possible, but sometimes, the load time is more than 1 minute.

 

  1. Delayed Response Time: Response time is defined as the time required by an application to respond to a click or command. It should be quick and fast as the users lose interest if the program takes too long to load.

 

  1. Poor Scalability: Scalability is basically defined as the handling capacity of the software. It occurred especially during load testing when the software is not able to handle the anticipated number of users.

 

  1. Bottlenecking: Bottlenecking are basically defined as the hurdles that delay the normal conduct of the program. It causes poor management of workloads. Some common bottlenecks are CPU processing, memory utilization, disk usage and limitations of the operating system.

 

There are several tools which are used for performance testing, performance testing is essential before marketing any software application. As it is responsible for improved customers, customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention.

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