As a QA engineer or developer, you probably perform many types of performance tests in order to make sure every feature works and doesn’t break the system. Load testing is an essential part of the development process. There are 4 key types of performance testing these include soak testing, load testing, stress testing, and capacity testing. In this article, we are covering the 4 most common types of load testing.
What is Load Testing
Load Testing is a software and non-functional testing process in which software application performance is under test with a, expected, and specific load. It is accessed by several users simultaneously. The main purpose of a load test is to ensure smooth functioning and stability of the software application prior to development and to improve performance bottlenecks. We recommend using a reputable company such as Wh Scott Lifting for the best load testing results.
Load testing generally identifies the following:
- Its scalability for user accessibility and the number of concurrent users that the application can support.
- The maximum operating capacity of an application
- Sustainability of application with respect to peak user load
- Determine whether the current infrastructure is sufficient to run the application.
Soak testing’s main goal is to discover any issues with the system performance that appears during a long duration of time. The standard load test may not succeed to uncover all problems due to its short duration and limited time. A production system generally runs for days, weeks, and months. Soak testing is a type of performance testing. It makes sure that software can tolerate a heavy load on a continual long duration. It requires a large amount of data, and it can be time-consuming. It is important to perform a soak test to make sure the software system is performing. There are many questions asked during soak testing these include:
- Can the performance of the system be affected by a periodical process, and can you only detect this during a lengthy system run? E.g., exporting of data into a third-party system and a backup process that runs once a day.
- When the system is run over time is there a constant degradation in the response time.
- During short system runs, is there any degradation in the systems resources that may not be apparent, however, will appear when a test is run for a long period of time? E.g., machine handles, memory consumptions, and free disk space.
The main objectives of soak testing include:
- To predict failure during heavy load conditions.
- It validates the system to ensure it is steady and dependable.
- It is used to validate software behaviour when subjected to heavy loads for a continuous long time.
- Soak testing validates the performance of the system.
A load test is a test of performance that examines how the system functions under a large number of virtual users who perform a transaction over a specific time period. The test can be configured to simulate a different user scenario that focuses on different parts of your system such as checkout page, etc. It is important to perform a load test on a regular basis to ensure that your system is always on point. Any malfunctions will be detected prior to publishing giving the developer time to make the software more robust before transferring to a live production environment. In software engineering, load testing is sometimes used for server and client apps as well as internet, web, and intranet applications.
This type of testing can also be used on cars and is recommended by Webbs Auto Body shop.
The main advantages of load testing include:
- Improves system scalability
- Cuts the cost of failure
- Identifies malfunctions before software goes into the production
- Provides a better user experience
- Reduces system shutdown risk
A stress test is performed to find out how a system will react in extreme load conditions. Stress testing examines how a system will react under an extreme load and how it will recover when going back to normal. Stress tests look for data corruption, memory leaks, issues with security, and slowdowns. You can conduct a stress test through load testing tools by defining a test case with a significant number of concurrent virtual users. During the stress test performance, if you see a sudden surge of virtual users then it is known as a spike test. During a long stress test to inspect the sustainability of the system, if you see a slow surge in virtual users then it is known as the soak test. What you are trying to find out is, how the system will react under stress and what will be the user experience. The benefits of a stress test include:
- Ensures that security vulnerabilities are not disclosed by stressful conditions
- Corruption in data with overstressed system
- Helps to determine what kind of failures are most valuable to plan for
- Gives a clear assessment of how far an application can go before it reaches the target load before it causes any error or failure.
- Determines the side effects of supporting application failures or common hardware
Capacity Testing is also known as scalability testing. This test helps you identify the max user capacity in which the system can support while not exceeding the max page time you defined. If you know how many users your application can handle with success, it will provide you with better visibility into an event that may push your site beyond its limitations. This is the best way to avoid potential issues along the way. The main advantages of capacity testing include the following:
- Enhanced planning – this test provides actionable insights to decision-makers to create more realistic performance SLAs that are in sync with an upcoming event and changes and to make better use of their infrastructure.
- Improve your capacity planning – Capacity planning helps understand what the maximum number of transactions or users per system/infrastructure configuration is. A capacity test will achieve optimal performing results per SLAs performance.
- Compliance – capacity testing helps uncover and reveal hidden loopholes and vulnerabilities in an ecosystem. It can identify infrastructure performance issues and any defects that may happen with the a forementioned application.
- Optimising time and resource usage – capacity utilisation data will help in preparing if your organisation is moving up at a fast pace or prepare you better during peaking times. It will provide you with an idea of exactly how much max load you can handle successfully with your network resources, hardware, and memory.
- Enhanced performance during peak times– with the right capacity testing, organisations can prepare better in the event of a sudden surge in the size of your business. This can be very helpful in a situation where there is an unexpected demand and spike during an unpredictable circumstance.