What is a performance test?

Performance testing is a non-functional technique to determine the stability, speed, scalability, and responsiveness of an application against a given workload. Crucial to guarantee the quality of a software, this step is unfortunately often considered as an accessory and is generally evaluated in isolation. It often only starts when the functional tests are finished, and in most cases, when the code is already ready.

Application testing outsourcing aims to evaluate the outgoing result of an application, the speed of data processing and transfer, the use of network bandwidth, the maximum number of concurrent users, the use of memory, workload efficiency, and command response time.

Reasons for Performance Testing

Organizations perform performance testing for at least one of the following reasons:

  • To determine if their application meets performance requirements (for example, to check if the system can handle up to 1000 concurrent users)
  • To identify bottlenecks within an application
  • To verify that the level of performance is indeed that announced by the software supplier
  • To compare different systems and identify the best performer
  • To measure stability in the face of traffic peaks

How to perform a performance test?

The exact steps in a performance test vary from organization to organization and application to application. They actually depend on the performance indicators considered the most important by the company. However, since the general objectives of such a test are essentially the same everywhere, most test plans follow a certain workflow.

Identify the test environment and tools

Identify the production environment, test environment, and tools you have. Document hardware, software, and infrastructure characteristics and, for consistency, configurations of test and production environments. While some performance testing services can be performed in the production environment, strong safeguards must be taken to ensure that it does not disrupt production operations.

Define acceptable performance criteria

Determine the constraints, goals, and thresholds that demonstrate a test passes. Most of the criteria will derive directly from the characteristics of the project, but testers should be able to freely define a broader set of tests and benchmarks.

Plan and design the tests

Determine how overall usage is likely to vary, then create test cases that can accommodate all potential use cases. Build the tests accordingly and describe the metrics to collect.

Prepare the test environment and tools

Set up the test environment before running performance tests. Gather the testing tools at your disposal.

Run performance tests

Run the tests. Collect and monitor results.

Solve and test again

Collect and analyze test results. Share your findings with the project team. Fix application code by addressing identified performance flaws. Repeat the test to confirm that each issue is permanently resolved.

Tips for Passing a Performance Test

Create a test environment that mirrors your production ecosystem as closely as possible. If not, the test results may not accurately reflect your application’s performance once it goes live.

  • Isolate the performance test environment from the acceptance test (UAT) environment.
  • Identify the testing tools that can best automate your performance testing plan.
  • Run the tests repeatedly to get an accurate measure of application performance. To test the load for example, run the same test several times to verify that the result is uniform before designating the performance as acceptable or not.
  • Do not modify the test environment between tests.

How do performance testing and performance engineering differ?

These two are very close yet distinct definitions. The primary purpose of performance testing is to assess the current performance of an application under certain loads.

To meet the demand for rapid access to applications, modern developers need to take a more sophisticated approach to delivering software. They must go beyond traditional performance testing to incorporate end-to-end performance engineering. Performance engineering involves testing and refining the code until it achieves the defined performance target. It intervenes much earlier in the software development process and searches for performance problems in advance and from the outset.