When it comes to non-functional software testing, load testing is typically the first thing that comes to mind. Load testing is performed to check your website’s maximum operating capacity under various user loads and varying levels of stress so that you can learn its response times under these fluctuating scenarios. By performing load testing, you can identify potential performance bottlenecks before your new features go live. This type of testing can be even more effective when you implement it with a Shift Right mentality.
How is Load Testing done?
The traditional way of doing Load Testing was completely manual, with performance engineers having a hard time producing repeatable results. They also had a hard time creating measurable levels of stress on the website or coordinating with other stakeholders to mitigate issues. Due to these problems, there was a growing need to automate most of the aforementioned processes.
The next step was developing proprietary tools that also required ongoing maintenance and development work – a far from the ideal solution. Open source load testing tools solved the problem to a certain extent, but they are also not the best option for companies that wish to scale up. Enterprise-level commercial tools are your best bet for automating load testing pipelines.
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Implementing load testing usually requires:
- Quantitative benchmarks and comparisons of response times
- Determining performance SLAs that need to be met
- A cross-department discussion to adjust expectations and goals
- A technical breakdown to make sure the goals are sustainable
- Setting up a proper ongoing monitoring and documentation solution
Top Benefits of Load Performance Testing
Eliminate performance issues before reaching the production environment
Websites and applications today need to be robust and dynamic from the moment they hit the market. Usage patterns can change unexpectedly at any time due to a variety of commercial, military, geo-political, or other unexpected reasons like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Shifting left with your load testing can evaluate customer satisfaction levels and your brand performance.
Knowing your maximum scaling capacity means that you are better prepared for when the need arises. You can use load testing to apply varying levels of application load to see how they affect response times. This can help you be better prepared for peak load times like the holiday season or the summer in general. Anticipating user loads in advance is the name of the game today.
Smoother software development and less mitigation
Testing software before it reaches production is great on many levels. It also improves the productivity levels of all involved stakeholders, who get clear insights about what’s wrong and what can be fixed. Testing performance early in the development process helps minimize post-production issues and saves the company a lot of money that’s wasted on patching or new version releases.
A quick clarification – load testing is not to be confused with stress testing. Load testing mainly focuses on finding and pinpointing problems and bottlenecks caused by fluctuating workloads, while examining performance when the traffic is increased to predetermined levels. On the other hand, stress testing is all about finding the breaking point of the website or infrastructure.