Our Approach with Performance Testing

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Our Approach with Performance Testing

This article provides insights into one of the tricky non-functional testing types that usually gets overlooked during software development lifecycle. And how we at Q-Pros plan, design and execute various performance evaluation techniques the right way without incurring high cost.

Features and Functionalities supported by a software system is not the only concern. The performance of software application like its response time, reliability, resource usage and scalability do matter. The goal of Performance Testing is not to find bugs but to eliminate performance bottlenecks.

Performance Testing is done to provide stakeholders with information about their application regarding speed, stability, and scalability. More importantly, Performance Testing uncovers what needs to be improved before the application goes to market. Without Performance Testing, software is likely to suffer from issues such as: running slow while several users use it simultaneously, inconsistencies across different operating systems and poor usability.

Performance testing will determine whether their software meets speed, scalability, and stability requirements under expected workloads. Applications sent to market with poor performance metrics due to nonexistent or poor performance testing are likely to gain a bad reputation and fail to meet expected sales and adoption goals.

Also, mission-critical applications should be performance tested to ensure that they run for a long period without deviations (i.e. soak testing).

According to Dunn & Bradstreet, 59% of Fortune 500 companies experience an estimated 1.6 hours of downtime every week due to an unhandled high load. Considering the average Fortune 500 company with a minimum of 10,000 employees is paying $56 per hour, the labor part of downtime costs for such an organization would be $896,000 weekly, translating into more than $46 million per year. Only a 5-minute downtime of Google.com (19-Aug-13) is estimated to cost the search giant as much as $545,000.

Why do we need Performance Testing?

  • Performance optimization of various products, platforms, devices, and technologies.
  • Shifting from conventional models to continuous delivery.
  • Limited timelines and budgets while providing high-quality service.
  • Maximizing performance of the existing infrastructure.
  • Early detection of system performance.

Common Performance Problems

Most performance problems revolve around speed, response time, load time and poor scalability. Speed is often one of the most important attributes of an application. A slow running application (i.e. high time-to-interact) will lose potential users. Performance testing is done to make sure an app runs fast enough to keep a user’s attention and interest. Below is a list of common performance problems:

  • Long loading time – Load time is normally the initial time it takes an application to start. This should generally be kept to a minimum. While some applications are impossible to make load in under a minute, Load time should be kept under a couple of seconds if possible.
  • Poor response time – Response time is the time it takes from when a user inputs data into the application until the application outputs a response to that input. Generally, this should be very quick. Again, if users wait too long, they lose interest.
  • Poor scalability – A software product suffers from poor scalability when it cannot handle the expected number of users or when it does not accommodate a wide enough range of users.
  • Bottlenecking – Bottlenecks are obstructions in a system which degrade overall system performance. Bottlenecking is when either coding errors or hardware issues cause a decrease of throughput under certain loads. Bottlenecking is often caused by one faulty section of code. The key to fixing a bottlenecking issue is to find the section of code that is causing the slowdown and try to tune it. Bottlenecking is generally fixed by either fixing poor running processes or adding additional Hardware. Some common performance bottlenecks are:
    • CPU utilization
    • Memory utilization
    • Network utilization
    • Operating System limitations
    • Disk usage

Types of Performance Testing We Cover

  • Load testing – checks the application’s ability to perform under anticipated user loads. The objective is to identify performance bottlenecks before the software application goes live.
  • Stress testing – involves testing an application under extreme workloads to see how it handles high traffic or data processing. The objective is to identify the breaking point of an application.
  • Soak testing – is done to make sure the software can handle the expected load over a long period of time.
  • Spike testing – tests the software’s reaction to sudden large spikes in the load generated by users.
  • Volume testing – Under Volume Testing large no. of. Data is populated in a database and the overall software system’s behavior is monitored. The objective is to check software application’s performance under varying database volumes.
  • Scalability testing – The objective of scalability testing is to determine the software application’s effectiveness in “scaling up” to support an increase in user load. It helps plan capacity addition to your software system. This is critical with cloud hosting.

We use market-leading automation tools to plan, design and execute the above testing techniques from vendors like IBM, Microsoft, Neotys, Micro Focus, Apache and many other based on the specifications of the target application.