Understanding types of performance testing

In this guest blog Sanjay Zalavadia, VP of Client Services at Zephyr, describes different types of performance testing.

 

Applications, as well as their developers and testers, are feeling the pressure from advancing user needs. People will typically abandon a program if it doesn't function the way that they expect it to. If the app is too slow, experiences crashes or simply can't support the activities that users expect, the software will likely be abandoned in favor of one that delivers better results. This is why it's so important to conduct performance testing. This agile testing methodology evaluates programs based on their ability to handle a certain number of users, function in traffic spikes and scale delivery accordingly. Let's take a look at the different types of performance testing that your team can leverage:

Load

Load testing is likely the performance test that most teams are already familiar with. According to Radview, this approach looks at how the system behaves with a large number of users and how long it takes for pages to respond under certain scenarios. Groups can use this type of test to evaluate the app based on how many users may be actively using it at the same time under normal and peak conditions. For example, if the program delivered quick responses with a traffic of 10 users, but was much slower when the traffic was increased to 20 users, this could indicate areas that must be addressed to meet higher capacities.

Stress

Stress testing actively tries to break the system by using various activities to overload it. Software Testing Help noted that this is done to determine what conditions the app fails under and how it recovers. Teams can monitor exactly how the issues happened, as well as what was required to bring systems back to full functionality. Stress testing helps ensure that programs work correctly under any condition and that it can handle situations gracefully. This will help keep users satisfied, even as teams continue to make improvements to builds.

Endurance

People use apps for a variety of different tasks, and it's reasonable to expect that the length of use will depend on these activities. For example, streaming a show will take significantly longer than checking on your bank account. This is where endurance, or soak, testing comes in. Endurance testing looks to discover how a system works under sustained use. ISTQB Exam Certification noted that an app may work perfectly for one hour, but when it's used for three hours, memory leaks and random behavior can reveal themselves. It's important to root out these issues from the start to ensure that the software works as expected no matter how long it's being actively used.

Spike

Spike testing is a combination of stress and endurance evaluation to ensure that a system remains stable during bursts of concurrent users. This type of activity can happen when a new app is released, attracting high user access within a short time period. Similarly, if an outage occurs, software is likely to see an uptick in activity once functionality has returned. Certain programs may also see increased use during different times of year. For example, e-commerce retailers will notice a significant increase in traffic around the holiday season. This type of information can help teams support their programs during this time to accommodate the spike and deliver the best experience possible.

Volume

Applications operate under a large amount of data. Software constantly generates information and test data is used to verify that new issues aren't being presented. However, can a system truly function without getting bogged down by all of this data flowing through it? This is what volume testing seeks to answer. With this method, teams subject their apps to large volumes of data. This will help ensure that the app is compatible with your database and can expand alongside it.

Scalability

With this type of performance testing, teams look to verify that an app functions even when the size or volume is changed to meet growing needs. This approach looks to understand where the application peaks at that will prevent it from scaling further. Understanding this aspect will help teams ensure that their system is functional for years to come and can easily adapt to changing situations.

Performance testing is a necessary part of application development and deployment. These approaches, along with a quality testing tool, will enable teams to continuously meet user needs, evaluate app functionality and make adjustments for overall improvement.

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