Cloud computing services are leveraged by enterprises to not just cut down infrastructure costs, but to bring more efficiency and agility to the entire process. In an environment where it is absolutely necessary to build the right strategy for testing applications in the cloud, performance testing forms a key aspect of any cloud testing strategy, where the application has to be tested for scalability, accessibility, availability, and security while being hosted on the cloud.
An application needs to be tested thoroughly before it hits the market. It has to be evaluated for speed, stability, and scalability under varying load conditions. It cannot go live without addressing any issues related to poor usability, system failure, functional discrepancies, and many others.
In short, any inadequacy in performance testing can lead to issues post-launch.
Key Characteristics of the Cloud
Cloud services are leveraged by enterprises for their intrinsic benefits and features, which represent its strengths. A key aspect to consider is a reduction in costs, which entails conversion of capital expenditure to operational expenditure. Cost-effectiveness depends on two factors; the number of activities and the infrastructure made available. Moreover, there is low maintenance of cloud computing applications, which further reduces the efforts.
Additionally, the performance of the application is constantly monitored and the web services are leveraged to develop loosely designed architectures. Cloud services help to further boost productivity, which enables multiple users to work on the same database at a given point of time. This helps save time and deliver within stringent timelines.
Resources are made readily available in a cloud setup when compared to a non-cloud environment. These resources are external and can be made available on demand. This makes cloud computing more reliable and efficient for enterprises that might need rapid availability of infrastructure for testing or development.
Performance Testing in a Cloud Environment
Testing in a cloud environment is very much similar to testing in a non-cloud setup. It involves a range of tests that help teams to analyze various aspects of the system. There are various cloud adoption scenarios – public, private, or hybrid. Performance testing evaluates the application/software for various issues that need to get fixed.
The difference comes while planning and executing performance tests on the cloud, as there are performance tests that are not so applicable in a cloud setup. Most importantly, the response time in a Cloud environment can differ from the time taken in a non-cloud environment.
Get Statistics on the Load
While the testing process begins, it is critical to get the required information from the cloud provider on the load statistics from other customers sharing the cloud. This will provide key inputs on the kind of response time that you can expect, considering there will be other applications hosted on the cloud. Hence, it is recommended to run the tests when the load is high and evaluate the response time.
These tests need to run regularly to note the minimum response time, maximum response time, and the average response time. It will help during the actual testing process and keep a track of the application’s response time.
Conduct Stress Tests
Similar to the load test, it is essential to conduct stress tests in the public cloud, where extreme planning and execution has to be done. The public cloud is shared by multiple users, so testing has to be planned more effectively compared to a private cloud, where space is exclusively available. A stress test is critical for all applications and understanding their behavior to find pressure points and breaking points.
Monitoring the Memory
With memory monitoring tools, volume tests can be conducted where the testing team can monitor the virtual memory. This is essential for understanding the capacity and scalability of the virtual environment for testing the application.
Check for Elasticity and Scalability
Elasticity testing is absolutely essential in a cloud setup to understand whether the performance is in line with the defined SLAs and can get further scalable up to an expected level. In a cloud setup where the model is more or less pay-per-use, elasticity testing helps to validate the services used and estimate the costs against the usage. This approach involves stressing the load to cut through the breaking point, where the load can be increased and decreased. For such cases, the boundary value analysis method comes handy, which can help to determine the threshold.
Cost effectiveness, speed, agility, and efficiency are some key reasons why enterprises are leveraging the cloud extensively. Performance testing is a complex task that needs to be effectively customized for various applications/projects. There are various factors that have to be considered while building the strategy – project environments, business drivers, acceptance factors, technology stack, available skill sets, resources, and approaches.
In a cloud setup, the environment has to be checked for conduciveness and load for testing the application’s performance. There are different implications of testing on a public cloud as against a private cloud. The cloud can give you needed results, provided the strategy is very much intact.