Every product must be tested several times to get it launched, and one of the most important tests is Software performance testing. This is the practice of determining whether or not a given application has the capacity to perform in terms of scalability and responsiveness under a specified workload. To put it simply, a software application’s performance takes its response time, reliability, resource usage and scalability into consideration. The goal of software performance testing is not to find bugs, but to eliminate any performance bottlenecks.
Performance testing is a key factor to ascertain the quality of a given application. With the possibility that software can succumb to several performance problems and thus, impact user acceptance, this type of testing needs to be an integral part of a product’s testing regimen right from the beginning. Only in this way, software testing teams can find and remediate issues early with regular testing throughout the application lifecycle.
Software performance testing must capture the following metrics on an application to ensure that it works within acceptable parameters:
- Response times
- Resource usage
Once you understand the basics and common types of tests, let’s dive into other details of when, where, how and why with CMC Global!
When to Use Software Performance Testing
Software performance testing serves three main purposes.
Evaluate the product
This testing helps to determine whether a product meets the specified performance criteria or not. For example, the clients require that their application must be able to handle 500 concurrent users, so your testers must do everything to see if the application can serve that.
Compares two or more applications
With performance testing, it can show which applications/ software perform better. For instance, if the client needs a tool to export reports, you can compare tools to see which tool’s performance can best handle that export requirement.
Measure to see which parts have poor performance
A common example of this would be insufficient memory leading to performance bottlenecks.
Goals of Software Performance Testing
With these three purposes, any outsourcing testers need to accomplish a set of four goals during the entire process of software performance testing. In other words, they need to determine:
- The transaction throughput/rate.
- The server response time. This is the time taken by a given application node to give a response to a request made by another node.
- The response time of the render, requiring the inclusion of functional test scripts in the test scenario.
- The performance specifications and document them in the test plan.
To support any organization’s business, software needs to work well and deliver acceptable levels of performance. Do you want to visit a web browser that takes 20 minutes to render or a streaming platform that renders video perfectly but loses connectivity every three minutes? When the software functionality works but the performance is not good enough for real users, they will leave the site and never wish to come back – that means you are losing your potential money.
Software performance comes from its design and operating environment. This means that elements such as coding, application architecture efficiency, the operating environment, which includes computing resources such as the network and storage hardware, can significantly affect performance.
As a prerequisite of performance testing, estimate where issues might occur before you design or test the software. Here are four performance criteria likely to be sources of concern.
Load time, aka startup times, should be as short as possible. In terms of SEO and Google preferences, most applications are best to load within a few seconds. However, it’s not uncommon for several enterprise applications to keep their user waiting for longer than one minute to get everything started and begin to operate.
Typically, end-users would see loading screens or animated cursors while the software loads or starts up. But the extensive setup, configuration and internal testing in complex programs would add to the load time before users can get to work. For example, the software might check on dependencies with other software and verify files exist.
The response time, aka latency, is the time a software processes the input that the end-user enters and delivers output after it has done acting upon that information. So, imagine how frustrating it would be if keystrokes took 10 seconds to appear in a dialog box? Dependencies can cause long response times, particularly when hardware issues like an underbuilt network exist.
Limited load or poor scalability
I bet each of you can think of a time that a website or applications are down, not because of something serious like cyber attacks, but because there are too many people jamming into the system at once. Any server or application can only handle a finite number of simultaneous users without software performance degradation. That is why we need to test the scalability so that clients are ensured that the application has the resources to support these expected number of users.
Software performance testing evaluates the software under different user load conditions to detect a wide range of problems, from inadequate resources such as insufficient server compute power to poor application architecture.
Every application accesses a finite amount of resources. These can be processing power, memory space, network bandwidth, throughput, disk storage capacity, operating system services, and so on. Bottlenecks happen when resource shortages occur as a result of software design problems.
Those resources are used to execute instructions. In fact, some application designs have heavy demands of specific resources, from memory to CPU; or they could refuse to return freed memory or perform excessive disk access operations. These problems can cause bottlenecks, thus harming the contention between applications that share resources and slow software performance.
Gear up for Performance Testing
Know the software performance testing conditions
Any testers must first, define performance conditions related to the product’s functional requirements namely speed, accuracy or consumption of resources and so on. Resources can be memory, storage space requirements and bandwidth of the communication system.
Define the operational profile
You can understand the usage patterns and environment of the live system through the details in the operational profile. The profile includes a description of the operation period, its operating environment, the quantum of loads and expected transactions.
When exact data is not available, the data from the testing profiles can be approximated especially when testing is not being done under the live environment.
Prepare good performance test cases
Designing performance test cases is very important as it helps us:
- Understand the present performance conditions so that we can use this information for benchmarking later, see how it is leveraged or enhanced.
- Evaluate performance requirements against specified norms.
- Specify the system inputs and the expected outputs. This is important, especially when the system is subjected to the defined load conditions like the profile of the test, test environment and duration.
Do you want to know more about software performance testing or do you need a tester/ a team of testers? CMC Global has everything to make your project become THE PROJECT with our expertise and testing services. Contact us for quotes and proposals now!