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Organizations riding the digital wave depend on multi-dimensional software solutions to achieve their business objectives. The examples of e-commerce, CRM, and ERP solutions are a testimony to the high-performing and quality assured software solutions. As such software solutions have become the digital hubs for enterprises to remain operational, reach out to customers, and execute a host of activities, they are required to be scalable and high performing at the same time.
In other words, when these software solutions are subjected to high user traffic, they should be able to deliver the expected outcomes without facing issues like latency, glitches, or downtime. This is a critical requirement for organizations as the modern customers trust applications that are fast, usable, safe, and high-performing, especially during high-traffic situations. The software solutions should be able to handle any surge in data, traffic, and transactions. And to achieve the same, performance testing of the software solutions should be conducted in the SDLC.
What is Application Performance Testing and Why Is It Needed?
It is a non-functional testing process wherein the stability, response, interoperability, speed, reliability, and scalability of a software solution are validated when it is subjected to increased workload.
For example, a software system may perform well for 1000 concurrent users at a given time. However, what happens when the same system receives over 10,000 concurrent users? Will it function at the same speed and deliver the expected outcomes? These are some of the questions that can only be answered when performance testing is made an integral part of the SDLC. And to understand if the software application can achieve scalability, various attributes of the same are tested such as:
■ Usage of memory or network
■ System throughput
■ Impact on the database due to increased load
■ Load time of the webpage or website
■ Request and response time
■ Measurement of performance
■ Screen transition
■ Transactions per second
■ Performance under load
How to Follow a Performance Testing Methodology to Achieve Scalability
Achieving scalability for a software application is important to deliver superior customer experiences, garner customer trust, and be profitable and competitive. The steps involved in doing so are:
■ Build and monitor every scenario
■ Change the scenarios and check the affected outcomes
■ Recheck the scenarios to check if they deliver similar outcomes
■ Define the virtual users who would test the system
■ Specify settings to evaluate the performance of the application
■ Create and run the load test
■ If any latency is found, make server changes and repeat the test
However, the QA team should prepare a detailed test plan before writing test cases to ensure the test is in accordance with the application’s requirement. The attributes to conduct application performance testing are:
■ A proper script detailing the steps or action each user needs to perform
■ Determine the run-time data that interacts with the software application
■ For varying run-time data, select the fields for such data
Result Analysis of Load Performance Testing
To test whether the performance testing framework is capable of checking the scalability of the application, the following results need to be compared and analyzed:
Virtual users versus response time: Here, testers set a specific time interval and go on increasing the number of users for a server while testing the application’s behavior. In other words, the application’s response time is tested for specified users.
Users versus latency: This analysis checks the latency of the system or network when used by a specified number of users.
Transactions per second versus users: Hits or transactions per second are observed after a time lag (say 3 minutes) of response by the users.
Users versus errors: The errors or bugs generated by the system when subjected to higher traffic are tracked.
Challenges in Checking the Scalability of the Software Application
Conducting performance testing to check the scalability of the application may involve a few challenges:
■ Functional errors are not always identified
■ Realistic scenarios are not always present during testing due to budget constraints
■ Proper analysis of the test results requires the testers to possess good knowledge of the system
■ Difficult to estimate the load to be applied to the system, application, or network
Delivering a quality product to the customers entails testing its performance and scalability. QA specialists may use a large number of tools available in the market to ensure the application performs to its optimum and delivers favorable outcomes for all types of load conditions — low, medium, or heavy.