6 Steps to Achieve Realistic, Reliable Load Testing | TechWell

6 Steps to Achieve Realistic, Reliable Load Testing

Man lifting barbell with heavy weights

One aspect of performance testing is ensuring the system will handle the expected load. There are two major techniques to run this type of testing: You can use online services for statistical load generation, or simulate real users’ behavior by launching load scripts in parallel threads.

To me, the second method is preferable because you get the benefits of precise testing results and a transparent picture of your software product capabilities.

However, users’ actions must be reproduced accurately. Maximum precision can be reached with the help of a request flow design—the process that can be observed when the system is used in the production environment.

Here are six steps for achieving the most realistic load for your load testing process.

1. Design user behavior scripts

The QA engineer should make use of the statistical data collected by web analytics tools. This information will help to determine the sequence of real user actions. Think time or the distribution of time delays between transactions should also be analyzed so you know how long it takes for the user to complete one step, or think it over, before the start of the next action.

2. Design load profile

The main objective of designing an accurate load profile is to avoid applying more load than the real users apply to the app. The load profile shows how the transactions performed in the system are distributed among the users that bear different roles.

3. Design load scripts

The first step here is to record the process of the server-browser data exchange at the level of data communication protocol. At this stage, the engineer may be expected to apply their code-writing skills to parametrize the request in order to achieve uniqueness in the prepared scripts.

4. Debug scripts

The engineer should also make sure that the prepared scripts function properly for various user accounts by debugging the scripts.

5. Generate test data

The data should be as realistic as possible. Who generates the data depends on the taken approach. This process may be executed by both the performance QA team and the development team.

6. Choose the load scheme

The load scheme will depend on the ultimate goal of testing on the project. There are various types of performance testing: stress tests, scalability testing, load tests. The choice of the loading scheme will depend on the software characteristics, testing goals, and requirements to the software performance.

These are six basic rules for how to get informative outcomes in your performance testing. The results you receive with the help of the user behavior method of load testing will be reliable and will correlate with the real situation your software product is likely to encounter.

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