What is performance testing?
In software development lifecycle (SDLC), software testing plays an important role along with software development. We have various types of testing in which Performance testing is one of the most important types of testing which ensures that our software performs stably under varying load conditions.
Performance testing belongs to the non-functional type of testing and involves the process by which we come to know its current system performance. Basically, this testing checks how our system performs under various load conditions in terms of stability, sensitivity and responsiveness.
The performance testing process also determines the speed with which our system works. Some of the common issues identified by this testing are runtime bloat, latency, throughput, poor response time and bandwidth issues if any.
Performance Testing Process
There are totally twelve steps involves in the performance testing process, these steps are-
- Analyze the existing environment.
- Collects performance characteristics of the current system.
- Define the usage model and load distribution.
- Define the performance acceptance criteria.
- Develop test assets, test plans, test scripts and scenarios.
- Configure load generation environment.
- Execute planned tests.
- Monitor web, application and database server’s performance counters.
- Analyze and correlate the results.
- Generate reports.
- Provide performance improvement recommendations.
- Retest as needed.
For delivering the effective results QA team is the one who basically involved in these processes and follows all the steps.
But, while performing these processes the team also encountered some challenges which they need to be handled to ensure the success of these test processes and to get the effective results.
Challenges of Performance testing and their solution-
- Selection of wrong testing tool- It is one of the most common challenges faces by the QA team. If we select the wrong tool then it will lead to loss of testing days for test scripts to work. The selection of tool will depend upon the factors like skill level of the tester, licencing cost of tool, application communication protocol, application technology stack.
Solution- The QA manager and the QA team will properly evaluate the application under test (AUT) along with licencing cost and then selects the best tool for testing the application.
- Lack of proper test strategy and test coverage- It is the second challenge faced by the testers. We don’t spend the required time which we really required for making test strategies and in proper coverage of all the characteristics of the application for the test, we start testing just by making a simple strategy due to which sometimes we forget to cover the important areas to test.
Solution- The QA team needs to spend some time on understanding and analysis the performance characteristics and the application architecture so that they can make a proper strategy and covers all the areas correctly for effective testing results.
- Time and Budget constraints- Performance testing is a type of testing which takes some time and budget for effective results. The allocation of the wrong budget is done due to poor planning during development which leads to an increase in project risks.
Solution- At the initial stage of development stress should be made on proper planning and budget allocation for the performance testing activities so that we get effective results.
- Lack of knowledge about the need for performance tests- During software development, most of the budget makers and stakeholders did not recognize the value of performance testing due to which after the release many issues may crop up which results in crashing of application, website or software.
Solution- Planning of performance testing as a part of the end-to-end testing strategy should be essential for the stakeholders or budget makers at the time of software development planning.
- Improper analysis of performance test outcomes- This challenge is faced by many testers as for correctly analyze the performance test results testers requires a good knowledge of system and application.
Solution- The tester performing this test must be well aware of the application architecture. The performance test should be performed by the experienced tester who is able to test the process and judge all the scenarios correctly, as the experienced ones have experience across OS concepts, OSI model, networking concepts, server-side performance concepts etc.
- Difficulty in conducting tests on production environment- It’s very challenging to conduct the performance test in a fully functioning production environment as real-time users are using the application at that time and any changes in it may affect the user experience.
Solution- We need to monitor the production environment closely to find out any irregularities. Instead of the actual production environment, we should plan the performance testing activities in the production-like environment.