What Do You Test in a Performance Test?

Quality assurance in the software world is necessary, and performance testing determines how well a web application or software performs under a specific workload. A performance test example would be a task that analyzes the performance of a product, like a stress test. Knowing the speed, capacity, and consistency of a web application or piece of software are just some of the benefits that a performance test can provide. 

Types of Performance Testing

There is not one kind of performance testing, and no one type is perfect for all situations. The umbrella term, performance testing, represents several different types of tests that measure critical elements of a software or web application. There are six major performance tests that teams will implement for different reasons. 

  • Stress Testing: The primary objective of this test is to push the application beyond any normal condition that it would find itself in regularly. This test does not confirm if the application works. It exposes at what condition the application will fail. 
  • Load Testing: This is a less intense version of testing than a stress test. A load test identifies the number of users that a system can handle simultaneously. 
  • Spike Testing: This type of test visualizes how an application handles a sudden “spike” in volume. For example, traffic to a website can increase at a moment’s notice for any number of reasons. 
  • Endurance Testing: The endurance test is one of the least demanding on this list. It confirms how an application will perform under typical workloads and conditions. This test is excellent for identifying latent problems that can arise after the application goes live. 
  • Volume Testing: This test is commonly referred to as “flood testing” due to flooding a system with data. Testing for response times and functionality while dealing with abnormal amounts of data is a fundamental part of this test.
  • Scalability Testing: Similar to a volume test, scalability tests see how a product or application can handle a workload as it gradually increases. 

Outside of these six tests, another type of testing is commonly grouped with them—a security test identifies where the vulnerabilities within a system are located. 

What is the Difference Between Performance Testing and Functional Testing?

A functional test evaluates the behavioral functions of a system under predetermined specifications, and this type of test analyzes the functional accuracy of a system as well. A helpful comparison to better understand these two is that performance testing focuses on user expectations, and functional testing focuses on user requirements.  Performance testing is a non-functional technique used to evaluate how a system performs related to its responsiveness and overall stability under different workloads. 

When is Performance Testing most effectively Performed?

One best practice for performance testing is to test early and test often. A single test will not express all the complexities of a system accurately. As a team implements changes during the development cycle, performance tests should be introduced to ensure that the project is on track or identify new complications from the updates. This method is called the agile approach.

The other method is called the waterfall approach and is not performed until the end of a development cycle. This testing stage is easier to prepare for because the test will only take place during a predetermined time. The better option will be different for each team/project, but testing early and often will always be a good idea.

How Many Types of Performance Testing Techniques Are There?

Manual performance testing has become an obsolete method of evaluating the functionality of a system. While the technique is still used to validate initial performance indicators more concurrent models are true ways of evaluating performance of a system or application. Leveraging performance testing tools can automate portions of testing to allow for more accurate modeling of performance while also making it easier to evaluate the data. Tools that allow for development and execution/analysis can make the entire process easier to perform. With quite a few options available on the market today, it can become tiresome to look for the right tools for a team. Here are three popular performance testing tools used today.

  • NeoLoad: a full stack, enterprise-ready solution that is used for ease of scripting and single pane of glass performance testing. Neoload (formerly Neotys) has a vast group of scripting capabilities across any diverse end-to-end landscape of applications with a low overhead of infrastructure needed to support the performance effort.
  • LoadRunner: For more than 3 decades this solution has been the industry leader in performance during that time. With a true depth unmatched with protocol development to the multi-feature implementation capabilities of LoadRunner Professional, Enterprise, and Cloud. The LoadRunner solution provides internal monitoring solutions as well as a full range of performance reports.
  • OctoPerf: A “do it all” model for performance testing, OctoPerf can be deployed anywhere. The lightweight, fast time-to-value solution can help move any CI/CD process when it comes to injecting performance validation. Allowing for ease of use in Open Source development and integration while also having its own capable development model.

Once a team has decided on the tools for the desired tests, they do not have to work alone. Utilizing an IT consultant like Foulk Consulting to assist the team during the testing process helps ensure the plan runs smoothly and that all data is securely managed. 

Trust Your IT Needs to Foulk Consulting

For over 20 years, Foulk Consulting has strived to provide the highest-caliber services to our customers. Our performance teams are one of the best in the industry. We deliver ad hoc services, full-fledged operational testing, ongoing consulting, and overall service-level maturity. Contact us today if you want to take your IT services to the next level.

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