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Automated Performance Testing: Everything You Need to Know in 2024

kokou adzo

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As the global landscape increasingly embraces digital transformation, businesses worldwide are incorporating software applications to facilitate their mission-critical operations. As software applications are fast becoming the lifeblood of businesses, it is critical that these software applications remain reliable and robust. This is where performance testing comes in.

A poorly performing application can have a devastating impact on business continuity. This is evident from some of the recent application failures:

  • Ticketmaster crashed during Taylor Swift tour announcement in November 2022. The sheer volume of fans trying to purchase tickets for Taylor Swift's upcoming tour sent Ticketmaster's website into meltdown, leaving many frustrated and empty-handed.
  • PlayStation Network and Xbox Live outages during Christmas week in December 2022 is another incident where millions of gamers hoping to play online during the holiday season were met with server crashes and downtime on both PlayStation Network and Xbox Live.
  • Coachella live stream crashed in April 2022. The technical issues plagued the live stream of the first weekend of Coachella, leaving many festivalgoers who couldn't attend in person feeling disappointed and frustrated.

In this blog, we’ll highlight what performance testing is and why it should be automated.

What is performance testing

Performance testing is a critical software testing technique that evaluates how well a system performs under a particular load. It's like putting an application through a rigorous workout to assess its stamina, agility, and overall fitness for a given workload. Simply put, performance testing validates the speed, robustness, stability, scalability, and responsiveness of an application.

Performance testing measures:

  • Responsiveness: How quickly the system responds to user actions and requests.
  • Stability: The ability to maintain consistent performance under varying loads without crashing or slowing down.
  • Speed: The time it takes to complete tasks or transactions.
  • Scalability: The capacity to handle increasing numbers of users or transactions without performance degradation.
  • Reliability: The ability to function consistently and without errors under stress.
  • Resource usage: The efficient use of hardware resources like CPU, memory, and network bandwidth.

Key performance indicators (KPIs):

  • Browser, page, and network response times
  • Server request processing times
  • Acceptable concurrent user volumes
  • Processor memory consumption
  • Number and type of errors

Types of performance testing:

  • Load testing: Here, a large number of users access the application simultaneously to validate its scalability and capacity.
  • Stress testing: In this, the system is pushed beyond its normal limits to determine its breaking point and identify weaknesses.
  • Spike testing: The sudden bursts of activity are used to see how the system handles unexpected surges in demand.
  • Endurance testing: It measures the system's ability to sustain consistent performance over extended periods.

The Process of Performance Testing

  • Identify the testing environment and tools: You need to understand and document configurations across test and production environments. Coherence between them is necessary to get the most accurate results.
  • Define acceptance criteria: Before starting performance testing, you need to clearly define the goals and the thresholds that define success.
  • Define planning test scenarios and design tests: It is necessary to determine how different types of users would be using the application. You need to determine key scenarios and data points as close as possible to real conditions.

Challenges in Performance Testing

  • Creating a testing environment identical to a production environment is a challenging task. Ideally, the capacity of the performance testing environment should match that of the production environment. This mitigates any risks linked to misinterpreting the system's performance characteristics for the production setting.
  • In the enterprise world, you need a testing tool that supports both mobile and web versions along with cross technology stack. However, at times, you end up having some tools that may only support web applications. Moreover, free variants of tools may not work as well as paid variants as free variants have limited capability.
  • Time is arguably the most precious resource in the realm of software development. In certain instances, organizations face constraints where they have limited time to address all facets of performance testing.

Automate as much as you can

Automated performance testing is the key to success. In this era of Agile and DevOps, test automation allows you to test virtually all aspects related to the performance of your application. With test automation tools like Opkey, you can set up your test environment automatically. Opkey can read your configurations and its self-configuring engine can set up configurations automatically to avoid process deviations. Moreover, you can use functional tests for performance testing with Opkey.

Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of Stri.us. He is passionate about business and tech, and brings you the latest Startup news and information. He graduated from university of Siena (Italy) and Rennes (France) in Communications and Political Science with a Master's Degree. He manages the editorial operations at Stri.us.

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