5 Strategies for Better, More Reliable Load Testing | TechWell

5 Strategies for Better, More Reliable Load Testing

Gauges on a car's instrument dashboard, photo by Dominik Stötter

Load testing is a type of software testing used to examine the behavior of a system when subjected to both normal and extreme expected load conditions. As a subset of performance testing, load testing validates a system’s capacity—for example, how many users can perform concurrent transactions, how many orders an application can process per minute, and so on.

Ideally, an organization should have the tools and technologies in place to handle even the most complex of these testing challenges. These tools should be able to simulate real-life user scenarios.

As you test your system’s performance, what happens when it fails to meet your requirements? How can you improve your performance and turn a faltering system into one that can deal with rapid change and challenges?

It is important to recognize that when all the components of your system come together for the first time, even a small bottleneck or stability issue can destabilize the entire system. Cases like Target’s inability to handle an overload of Cyber Monday shoppers are all too common these days. The result is customer dissatisfaction and frustration, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of lost revenue. This is a real example of the importance of load testing.

With these five strategies, you can simulate realistic load testing of your system, mitigate your risks, and create reliable, continuous, automated performance testing for a better and more efficient end-user experience.

1. Perform load testing as part of your DevOps cycle

Test after each push to find any performance regression, and use tools that will shorten your DevOps cycle to make faster builds so you can move on to the next project.

2. Utilize a cloud-based solution

Load testing in the cloud lets you quickly and continuously scale your tests to hundreds of thousands of concurrent users in various regions, with the ability to scale down too, based on your needs. Cloud testing from where your users actually are enables you to easily simulate real-world conditions.

3. Test with network virtualization

It is imperative to test how your app behaves under different network conditions, but it's difficult to find a way of consistently testing the app in the field because of the variability. Enter network virtualization, which enables you to emulate different network conditions during your testing and cover more conditions.

4. Simulate real-life user scenarios

Real users visit websites using different browsers, and they spend different amounts of time and perform different activities on each page. With today’s user actions online featuring data-heavy activities such as streaming video and audio, rich data must be taken into account when performing load testing.

5. Monitor the system and use the system log

An application under test (AUT) report is created at the end of your testing process. AUTs help provide practical recommendations for improving load testing, such as removing duplicate code or correcting large or heavy images. This report can be used for load testing a defined portion of your system.

With these strategies, you can create a better environment for load testing your system and applications.

Israel Rogoza is presenting the session 5 Ways to Make Load Testing Work for You at STARCANADA 2018, October 14–19 in Toronto, Ontario.

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