Top 5 Reasons Why Load Testing Absolutely Needs a Good Strategy
Load testing your application is crucial to putting out a performant piece of software. Read on to get some good, real-world examples of why.
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While Digital Transformation has taken the virtual world by jet-speed, consumer-driven businesses continue to struggle and catch up with the rampant changes and competition. There is no choice for enterprises of all shapes and sizes but to deal with the growing customer expectations and align with them digitally to offer a seamless experience. Mobile applications are being built on the basis of demographics, future outlook, location, target audience, revenue model, usage patterns, and much more that might seem technically logical at that moment. The most critical aspect that web-dependent businesses focus on is the performance of their application and supporting IT systems. Load testing, an offshoot of Performance Testing, is implemented to determine the system's response time for every transaction during a defined time period.
What Does Load Testing Imply?
Applications are information-intensive and there is a massive exchange of data that takes place to ensure enhanced user experience. Load testing helps to draw attention to any issue that might hinder the application's seamless performance, or identify any bottleneck that might occur due to excess load on the software of the application. The application under test (AUT) is tested for assessing and reporting its behavior under any expected/unexpected load. In a way, end-user response times are reported, as against the business processes, CPU, and memory statistics. This enables application/website owners to understand the performance of the website in a LIVE environment.
Load Testing puts excessive stress on a software system or a computing device with the objective to measure its response. It helps determine the system's behavior under regular as well as irregular load conditions. This enables teams to estimate the application's performance as against the user's expectations.
Why Load Testing Needs a Good Strategy
Considering its significance and the weight it holds in the consumer scenario, load testing has to follow a strategy for effective implementation and tangible outcome.
Performance is generally determined by the experience that users are expecting and the kind of responsiveness that the application has developed. This helps to set the goals for the toad testing activity. For instance, while testing an e-commerce portal, the application is tested across various platforms, with different configurations, and varying traffic loads. If the testing goals are brought into perspective, it helps to build a comprehensive testing plan for the application where every feature gets tested.
There is no point of executing tests and millions of clients at a server cluster, without building the right test plan. A realistic Test Plan is critical to enable a seamless testing activity and build a near-to-real scenario for testing the software/application. It is important to build the test plan as per the testing requirements:
- Whether testing can be done with emulators or it needs real devices.
- Whether the traffic has to be considered normal or it has to be extrapolated.
- Whether the application is built for the mobile or only for desktops or for all.
These aspects enable teams to execute the right tests and get credible results from the testing activity. In some cases, the load that the application might get cannot be predicted, so the tests have to be built keeping in mind some random pressures and variability in testing strategy. This results in building the right approach and reduces the number of surprises when the application goes into production. Likewise, some test plans start from the base and then they shoot up the load as desired or as expected. Applications are rolled out and upgraded almost every second week for various commercial reasons, so keeping it upbeat and crash-free is absolutely critical.
In the Digital Transformation journey, performance and speed go hand-in-hand. In a way, your software's performance is assessed by its speed to respond. This means that only measuring the load is not sufficient, you need to look at something absolutely fundamental. Speed is the key to building a satisfied user base that is not only loyal to your brand but will keep coming back to your experience and service. This helps bring clarity to your Load Testing plan.
Speed is a key ingredient in gaming applications, where there is no waiting time. You need to figure out how quickly your users can get access to the required components of the game and experience the rush. So, while you build the strategy, it is important that you measure the performance from the user's perspective and get to speed.
After you develop a thorough understanding of expected user behavior, it is important to also estimate the performance of the application from a user's perspective. This implies that the load testing strategy has to connect with the performance bottlenecks that could occur with the code that might create disruptions. For instance, a banking application generated various queries related to customer requests, third-party transactions, generating OTPs, requests from customers, and so on. This requires tremendous processing power and generation of database requests from the application.
The testing strategy is expected to consider all or any such hiccups that can cause disruption of the application. Every feature and every functionality of the application has to be assessed for building a comprehensive plan to put the application under a realistic workload and gauge the defects in the code.
The testing approach totally depends on the nature of the application and the expected business goals. In the current scenario, where quality has to pace up with speed, flexibility of the testing process is equally important. Load testing can be implemented with an Agile approach, where the tests are run right from the beginning of the development process and the application goes through frequent releases and constant testing.
Hence, before the team jumps into the load testing process, it makes sense to evaluate the best approach for load testing the application. This cuts down the unnecessary testing costs and also streamlines the testing efforts. In a traditional mode, load testing is performed towards the end of the development process, but an Agile approach blends together testing and development.
Sometimes, it is also rational to develop a mid-way and think out-of-the-box for developing a relevant testing approach for your application. Practically, it depends mostly on the application's features and the end experience that it intends to offer to its users.
Assembling a strategy together is definitely critical, but it is equally important to assess user expectations and align it with the application's goals. This makes senses while taking a holistic view of the performance. Only when this clarity is built, you would be able to address aspects such as tools, infrastructure, approach, methodologies, resources, etc. The current challenges posed by the digital environment definitely needs an offbeat testing strategy.
Published at DZone with permission of Hiren Tanna, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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