Before launching a new or upgraded software or web application, performance testing is used to help developers understand how well their application is performing and what improvements—if any—need to be made. Performance testing can provide teams with the right information to ensure that their application is running smoothly. This is especially important in the days following the release of an application into a production environment, as meeting user requirements is critical to overall success.
But within the performance testing life cycle, how do you design a performance test scenario? Keep reading to find out more information about performance testing types and the general stages of a performance test.
What Is the Meaning of Performance Test?
Performance testing is a term used to describe the testing of software and web applications in order to determine how well they perform under given circumstances. These circumstances push an application to its limits—and sometimes beyond—to evaluate how well it can handle less than ideal conditions. There are several different types of performance testing, including:
- Load Testing: Load testing measures how well an application performs under increasing levels of usage that fall within normal limits.
- Stress Testing: Stress testing is a step up from load testing, and it is designed to push an application beyond its normal limits to measure stability.
- Endurance Testing: Endurance testing, or soak testing, is designed to measure how well an application performs under normal conditions for an extended period of time.
- Spike Testing: Spike testing assesses an application’s ability to handle extreme increases and decreases in usage over a short amount of time.
- Scalability Testing: Scalability testing measures how well an application can handle a gradual increase in workloads.
- Volume Testing: Also known as flood testing, volume testing measures how an application handles a large volume of data.
Executing performance tests provides IT teams and other relevant stakeholders with a wide variety of data that can be used to assess performance, identify bottlenecks, and determine if improvements need to be made. This information is critical to ensuring an application can meet user requirements, which is why performance testing is important.
What Are the Different Stages in Performance Testing?
When a team decides to implement performance testing on their application, there are basic stages they will go through, from deciding on the test environment and the tools that’ll be used all the way to running the tests and analyzing the results. Here is a brief overview of each stage.
Determine the Test Environment
Decide on the test environment that will be used to perform the performance tests, including the software and tools that will be used. At Foulk Consulting, we use a variety of industry-leading performance testing tools including Instana, Dynatrace, NeoLoad, and more.
Establish Key Metrics
Before executing any tests, it is important to identify the key metrics that are to be tracked and the success criteria for the various tests. There are three common performance testing metrics categories: speed, capacity, and consistency. Metrics that fall within these categories include load time, response time, latency/lag, memory or CPU usage, error rates, and more.
Plan the Performance Tests
During this phase, planning and design are key, and every piece of the plan should be accounted for. The requirements for each test should be laid out clearly for everyone involved, including when they will occur, who is responsible for them, how long they will take, and more.
Design the Tests
Once a plan is in place, it is time to actually develop the tests and the testing environment. In this phase, performance testers will create the code, implement the chosen tools, and set up the environment and any hardware that will be used. All of this is designed to mimic real-world behavior and usage patterns to provide the best possible data.
Execute the Tests
In this phase, the actual performance testing occurs. Before execution, performance test engineers will confirm that everything is working as expected, ample disk space is available, and the test environment is stable. While running the tests, the system will be monitored to ensure that the tests are operating correctly and that the metrics are being gathered appropriately.
Analyze and Report
Once the tests are run, a report will be generated based on each of the performance tests. These reports will provide the results of each test as well as an analysis of the findings. Developers can use these findings to better understand any issues and develop a plan to resolve them. After this stage, many companies decide to move back through the performance testing life cycle to determine if the improvements were successful.
Foulk Consulting: Trusted Performance Testing Professionals
For nearly 20 years, the team at Foulk Consulting has been providing high-caliber services across the entire IT landscape, including performance testing. With one of the most diverse teams in the industry, our team can deliver a number of solutions, including ad hoc services, full-fledged performance testing, ongoing consulting, and more. Our certified performance testing professionals can help your team determine the right performance metrics to track and how the results can impact your business. If you’d like to learn more about our performance testing capabilities or any of our other areas of service, get in touch with us today.