Performance testing is basically a way to test the load capacity of a machine or a system. In other words, performance testing should provide developers with diagnostic information to eliminate challenges.
Some of the common reasons why performance testing is done:
- Insufficient Hardware Resources: This is an important step in performance testing that reveals constraints in physical memory or low-performing CPUs.
- Issues with the Software Configuration: When settings have not been set at an optimum level to handle the workload, performance testing is done.
- Poor Scalability: If any software cannot handle the desired number of tasks, productivity and result could be hampered or delayed. This may also increase the number of errors and other unexpected outcomes that could affect disk usage, memory leaks, CPU usage, operating system limitations, and poor network configurations.
- Bottlenecking: This occurs when the flow of data is interrupted because of the inability to handle the workload.
Factors that go behind Strategizing Performance Testing
Identifying the Testing Environment: Before a strategy is put in place, it is important to gauge the hardware, software, tools, and network configurations to allow the testing team to design the test and identify performance testing challenges. Some of the performance testing environment options include the subset of production system with fewer low-specification servers, with servers of the same specifications, a replica of the production system and actual production system.
Identifying the Performance Metrics: It is important to identify the response time, constraints and throughputs that determine the success of performance testing services.
Creating Models to Plan and Design Performance Testing: Identifying performance testing scenarios, taking into account user variability, test data and target metrics.
Creating the Test Environment: Prepare the elements of the test environment and other instruments required to monitor the resources.
Test Design Implementation: Developing the entire test module.
Executing the Test: Once the test is strategized, the results have to be captured and monitored.
Analyzing, Reporting and Retesting: Analysing the data and finding the results is an important part of the entire strategy because that is exactly how developers would understand the challenges that they need to overcome in the next development process. Also, if the given module needs changes, developers have to run the test again using the same parameters or different parameters.
Test Early, Test Often: Best Practices
One of the best practices of performance testing is testing early and testing often. It is worth mentioning that a single test is not enough to reveal what the developers need to know.
It is important to perform small tests across the developmental timeline so that there is no last-minute rush. Performance testing is not only for completed projects. There is a value in testing individual units or modules. It is important to involve multiple systems such a database, servers and services in testing processes. They should be tested individually as well as together. It is important to involve developers, IT and testers in creating a performance testing environment close to the system environment.
It must be remembered that real people will be using the software that is undergoing testing. Testers must determine how the results will affect users and not just the environment. It must be remembered that the testing environment must be isolated from the environment required for quality assurance testing. The test environment should be kept as consistent as possible. The audience must always be kept in mind while preparing the reports. Any system or software changes must be included in the report.
Some of the common myths or fallacies surrounding performance testing are that it is ok to test at the end of the development cycle of the software. However, it is completely the opposite because an error occurring at the end could be erroneous without leaving any room for correction. It is therefore always recommended by experts to test each component across the production process to get a holistic overview of the performance issues. It must also be envisaged that the testing environment for each and every product is different, depending on the environment they would be functioning in. The end-user and the protocols they have been following in the production cycle could be different, so the testing environment is also different.
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