Performance testing is essentially a set of methods and procedures designed to assess how your digital product, platform, software, website, or app performs under varying conditions. The goal of performance testing is to identify first and foremost if your software is functioning, and then to see how it reacts in different circumstances.
For example, let’s say your e-commerce website works perfectly under normal conditions but is not equipped to handle the increased seasonal traffic that comes around gift-giving holidays. With the right performance test, you can identify this weakness and solve it before you ever launch the website, or after it’s published.
Since performance testing is such an important part of the software life cycle, it’s paramount to understand the different types of performance testing and the insights each one can provide. So, without further ado, let’s take a look!
What are the Types of Performance Testing?
As we alluded to earlier, there are several types of performance testing in software development and the IT industry in general. When implemented and interpreted properly, each one of these tests can play a major role in:
- Creating an effective platform by identifying errors, weaknesses, and mistakes
- Supporting a platform after launch through preventative maintenance and testing
- Using time and resources efficiently throughout the entire process by reducing the need to redo work and preventing major issues that require significant resources after the platform is launched
For a more detailed look at each type, let’s list the different types of performance testing.
Load testing is a simple and commonly utilized test. With load testing, you simply implement a workload of your choice (e.g., normal, high, low, etc.) and observe how the platform reacts. The most basic version of load testing should be conducted under “normal” or “expected” workload to ensure the quality of your platform under ideal working conditions. This can help identify if there are foundational weaknesses or weaknesses associated with particular loads. Oftentimes, load tests will also use unexpectedly high or low workloads as well, to ensure and observe functionality under those circumstances.
Similar to load testing, stress testing looks at the program under extremely high workloads. The difference is that with stress testing the goal is to push the software to the point of failure, as opposed to simply observing behavior under different workloads. This will usually mean testing the program outside of its designed limits. Stress testing can identify potential weaknesses or bottlenecks in an application. It can also shed light on the tipping and breaking points of a platform. Tipping points are where you might see a decrease in quality but not outright failure, whereas breaking points are where essential elements begin to completely fail.
Scalability testing seeks to answer a different question of: “how effectively, quickly, or well can I grow?” Essentially, you can run a series of stress tests that will then indicate how well your program responds to growing workloads. You can feasibly conduct a scalability test by increasing workload and keeping backend elements unchanged, or by using a static workload and consistently decreasing the capacity of the backend components. Scalability tests let you know whether you have adequate resources to scale and take on larger workloads, or if you do not. Scalability tests are the primary sources of information for decision-making about capacity planning.
Spike testing examines how well a website or program deals with sudden spikes and dips in traffic. It is similar to a load or stress test except that it specifically looks at sudden, potentially successive, bursts of increased or decreased workloads. This can help identify how a website or program might deal with the increased traffic resulting from a sudden uptick in publicity or marketing impact.
Endurance testing is more or less just a load test sustained for a longer period of time. If a load test is a 100m sprint, imagine instead an endurance test is a mile, 5k, or marathon. Instead of observing the short-term and immediate impact of a workload, endurance tests look at what happens over a longer period of time at that workload. Perhaps your application begins to respond differently after several hours of consecutive use. An endurance test can help hone in on the exact time something changes, and potentially help explain why.
Volume testing, commonly referred to as flood testing, explores what happens to the performance of software when its database is suddenly overflowed or “flooded” with data. For example, if multiple new users all created accounts concurrently, that would be an example of flooding. So, a flood test should look to replicate this stressor and see if a platform is capable of working under those conditions.
Security testing used to fall under the scope of performance testing, but in more recent years has actually become its own category altogether. Basically, security testing is designed to expose flaws or shortcomings in the security processes of a program or platform. However, with the continuous evolution of security and cybersecurity, these tests often fall under their own category instead of performance testing.
Foulk Consulting…Passionate About Performance Testing
At Foulk Consulting, we know that your platform or application is more than just your livelihood. It’s your passion. We want you to know that our passion is performance testing.
When it comes to performance testing, it’s important to get it right. That could mean running appropriate tests, using quality tools, interpreting the results correctly, providing helpful advice, or partnering with a trustworthy quality assurance professional. Foulk Consulting can do it all, and more.
With almost 20 years of experience and a proven track record and reputation of trust, service, and results, you can be confident that our certified quality assurance specialists can help you at every step of the process, from development to post-launch. Contact us today to learn what solutions we have for you.