Test Application Performance

Posted by Roman on February 26th, 2019

Whether it's a large application or a small app, software performance testing should always be done to test the solidity under stressful situations. In addition, performance testing is an important quality factor.

The performance of software usually consists of three factors: First of all, the underlying hardware naturally decides on the performance. Factors such as user numbers or the number of hardware accesses - for example to hard disks or the main memory - influence the performance. As a third factor, of course, the cleanliness of the programming and optimization of the target system are important.

Only if the software is optimized for the performance of the target system and the requirements of the user, it can work optimally under stress. To find out if this is the case, we recommend a comprehensive performance test before releasing any software. That's the only way developers can find out if their programs are performing well under load.

Software performance testing - what for?

Performance testing is an important quality factor in software development, helping to detect bottlenecks and other application problems. A practical example would be, for example, a large web application that works on multiple clients and servers, including not only the web server and the database server but also the computers of one or more customers.

What works well in theory - the web server calculates and delivers along with the database server PHP, CSS, images and other content to the user's browser, which in turn renders the content and displays to the user - may have various problems in practice.

So it could be that the connection between web server and database server breaks down under load and represents a massive bottleneck. Or that simply too much content is transferred to the client due to too optimistic web development, whereupon the web server comes in Liefernöte or the client itself is overwhelmed in terms of computing power.

Of course, this is just a simple example but shows where problems can lie that usually do not occur in regular development with just a small number of users. These can only be detected by simulating a load situation. At the same time, the scalability of the planned system can also be put to the test in this way. In addition, testing can also be used to find out before the release whether the software can cope with the desired requirements.

Procedure for performance testing

In order to detect the bottlenecks of an application, there are a number of test methods, which of course can be used not only in web applications but in any kind of software:

Load Testing

The load test is the simplest form of performance testing: it helps to find out how the software and the overall system behave when, for example, a large number of users or data is required.

A typical situation with many simultaneous active users and typical queries should be brought about with a testing tool like Tsung, Apache JMeter, HP LoadRunner or LoadView. In this way, it can be found out whether the system has the necessary performance even under maximum load. At the same time, bottlenecks that occur under load can be detected effectively.

Stress Testing

The stress test is an addition to the load test with the aim of finding out the weak points of an application: With it, the application can be targeted under stress under stress. The stress test basically simulates an extreme situation. Many users access certain functions or query data simultaneously or at short intervals.

In the case of a web application, this could be a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack; But conceivable would be just a simple user rush, for example, because the application was called on TV or linked on a large platform: With a stress test can be found out whether the software/hardware combination works reliably under these conditions and where possible breakpoints and optimization potentials lie.

Endurance Testing

The endurance test is another variant of the load test: The requirement stated here: How long can the application withstand a load situation? Caches, storage capacities and reliable connections that can "break". For example, an application may pass both load/stress tests but it is only through continuous load operation that it is possible to determine whether data storage, caching methods or the cooling system of the hardware is up to the standard.

Spike Testing

The load peak test involves a sudden increase or decrease in the load, for example, by sudden switching on and off of many users. In this way, it can be checked whether the system causes problems in such situations and whether and under what conditions the load peaks cause strange behavior.

Volume Testing

In the volume test, certain data is repeatedly written to the database or software systems, and the application and hardware are observed. The purpose of this test is to find out if the performance is maintained, for example, with very full caches and databases.

Scalability Testing

The scalability test complements the other test methods: By selectively switching on and off hardware capacities under load, application developers can find out which capacities are necessary to cope with, for example, a large load or a stress situation. These capacities can later either run as a hidden reserve or, in the case of cloud computing solutions such as Amazon, be specifically booked into load situations.

Quality objective optimal performance

The bottom line is that the load test, the stress test, and the endurance test are all important to find out if the application works in the right environment and remains operational even under heavy load. Long load and latency times under load are always an indication of a bottleneck or poor system scalability.

In addition to the software itself, the underlying operating system and the hardware used as well as the use of multiple hardware units and their connection should be closely examined in order to detect these bottlenecks.

Fixing obvious problems and then repeating the test helps to avoid performance issues even in extreme conditions. This results in relatively simple means a significantly improved quality of the software even before the release.

At the same time, developers can use performance tests to get to know their systems better and find out where possible weak points are - and whether they are relevant to the application at all. Finally, a load or stress test also helps track downscaled and therefore expensive solutions.

 


Roman

About the Author

Roman
Joined: February 26th, 2019
Articles Posted: 2

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