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Tips and Practices for Optimizing the Processes of Web Product Performance Testing

Nataliia Syvynska, TestMatick,

The initial objective of any performance test is to accurately determine the application scalability under a specific load.

And in all this the following processes should be performed:

  • Editing the execution time of certain operations with the exact intensity of such operations;

  • Summing up the number of users that interact with the software simultaneously;

  • Performance analysis under small and maximum stress loads.

This type of QA services provides accurate insight into metrics such as accurate response time, speed, reliability, and scalability potential. Performance testing metrics allow seeing where the product has potential bottlenecks and whether it needs hardware capacity to handle peak client traffic. 

It is also worth noting that such metrics can be used to capture performance readings that can be analyzed with current performance monitoring data (or do similar things in the future). For example, when configuring monitoring devices, you can record accurate system response thresholds. If a certain parameter from these thresholds does not match the previously set parameters, work teams can receive special alerts to figure out what the cause is and try to avoid critical performance problems.

Tips and Practices for Optimizing the Processes of Web Product Performance Testing

How to Improve the Configuration of the Production Environment 

Using load tests directly from the production environment

This approach is an extremely effective way to ensure that the testing you use is the most accurate and that every item on the checklist is tested correctly. You should try to simulate loads from different geographic locations and environments. 

Applying test scalability from small to general 

If you need to test a large flow of web users, you may very well accidentally miss some load levels with a potential problem because you've run many levels at once. 

Also, it is recommended to use spike tests to see how the system you are testing reacts to an unexpected spike in the number of users and how (and under what conditions) it recovers. You can also drive the system to peak load, even if it is significantly higher than the target number of clients so that you understand how the system reacts to it. 

Progressive test planning

Plan your business goals on an incremental basis only. Get your team together and analyze what types of tests are right for you and why. 

Here are a couple of typical groups of tests you can use:

  1. Load tests

  2. Stress tests

  3. Soak tests

  4. Spike tests

  5. Isolation tests

Get the necessary data about your business goals, as well as technical knowledge about where and under what conditions your software performs best and where it doesn't, and target your tests to them. 

Keeping track of internal load test results 

Due to performance testing, you can watch and analyze software KPIs such as the exact response time and latency, and the correlation between these two metrics. 

And of course, there is no way to do without performance metrics such as Cache hits and DB Queries, analyzing bug logs for possible exceptions, and considering classic software characteristics such as CPU (memory and network) offloads and the nominal state of automatic scaling. 

Observing end-user performance in back-end testing

Manually or automatically try to analyze what exactly your future users will experience when they interact with the software - end-user experience monitoring. 

Implementing the monitoring of the API you use 

Even if all your tests will be passed, you still want to know how your product behaves in real “hard” conditions. You have to use products that can monitor critical APIs directly inside the production environment. Thus, you can ensure that the tested product works properly and without visible failures.

Additionally, it can serve as a warning system so that specialists of a software testing company know when the system has failed. 

What Are the Best Tools for Performance Testing?

It is logical to assume that software performance testing tools help to optimize the quality assessment of such a product. In today's realities of IT sector development, there are a lot of popular and demanded resources that facilitate the execution of this type of testing. 

Let's mention just a few of them for an illustrative example: 

  • Apache JMeter – allows you to interact with the tested product based on multi-threading, it is rightfully considered a popular and widespread tool for load tests;

  • LoadRunner (HP LoadRunner/Micro Focus LoadRunner) – a product with high integrability. Often used for small software complexes (there is a free version to use). Allows you to set up accurate user interaction with each other and for multiple tasks on a simultaneous basis. 

Both of these tools allow QA specialists to fully test and monitor the current load modes of the software being tested.

Practical Importance of Performance Testing

Software performance testing is a very important stage of web product quality verification for several reasons. 

Poor performance is immediately apparent to the average user, and this harms the usability metric of customer responsiveness. Users end up preferring some other higher-performance products. 

Slow performance reduces the number of useful operations per unit of time, which automatically means a loss on the part of the software owner. 

Reduced performance can be a catalyst for system failures, web security problems, and other consequences. 

That is, we can confidently say that it is performance testing that allows you to find and eliminate a large range of all kinds of web problems that can cause some harm to the software when using it. 

Instead of Conclusion

Software performance tests are a very useful and important thing that allows you to track the state of your product in terms of several technically important indicators: scalability and performance under pressure. 

Improving skills in this type of software testing is a must-have for any self-respecting product company which cares about the quality of developed software.

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This article was published in January 2023

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