What is Load testing and five tips to do it effectively
Can my IT system perform as intended when the workload is high?
What is the maximum load that my system can take?
How long the server can stay up and running under constant load?
Load testing can ONLY help you answer these questions!
Before you launch an application or a system / software, it’s better to know how it performs under peak work load, its response time, utilization of resources, output etc. also, its breaking point. By load testing, you can ensure a software application or an IT system performs successfully as intended and thus can be deployed to production.
Load testing is conducted by applying normal or ordinary load within the defined parameters. Load is increased constantly and steadily on the system till the threshold limit to determine the upper load limit of different components say database, hardware and network etc. that an application / IT system can handle.
As an independent testing services company, with 10+ years of extensive experience coupled with deep-domain expertise, Gallop provides the following suggestions for a successful load testing.
Identify the key areas to be tested
At the outset, the key areas or the areas / scenarios to be tested have to be identified. The key areas are those which have specific goals to perform or which have a significant impact on performance of the application / system or which usually perform multiple activities.
Define the load and metrics right in the beginning
For each of the key scenarios identified, the workload in terms of number of users, rate of requests, request patterns etc. have to be defined including duration. It might not be possible to include the entire mix of operations in the load testing scenarios. However, it’s important to create a combination that depicts real-time scenarios and covers the majority of transaction load. So, the workload has to be chosen carefully.
Likewise, the metrics specific to network, system, platform, application and service level, that need to be measured while running load test, should also be identified. These metrics help the tester to measure the performance of an application vs. performance objectives while stimulating load. After all, the sole purpose is to determine how much load a system can take.
Employ the right tool
There are numerous tools available today for load testing. Evaluating and choosing the right tool is not easy as they differ in terms of functionalities, scaling, cost, deployment model, etc. Hence, clarity on the load testing requirements is needed to choose and employ the right tool.
Test in production-like environment
Though test environment varies from case to case, it is suggested to conduct load testing in production environment or production-like environment for effective results. The validity of testing results is highly dependent upon the environment that it is carried out. The farther the test environment from production, the more subjective would be the results.
Adopt agile testing methodology
Proper load testing technically requires a near-complete system. Actual system performance and user engagement load can be accurately simulated and put to test at the end of production cycle. However, if the load testing is pushed off to the last phase of the development cycle, often developers find little time or no time to make any needed changes. Continuous load testing in an agile environment can identify performance-related issues early before they turn out to be costly to fix. Thus, ‘test early, test often’ is the mantra to avoid unwarranted delays and costs.
Find out how Gallop’s Performance Test Accelerator can help you maximize the return from Load testing.
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