Load Testing Guide

What is Load Testing?

Load testing is a kind of Performance Testing that determines a system’s performance under real-life load conditions. This testing helps determine how the application behaves when multiple users access it simultaneously. Load testing is commonly used for the Client/Server, Web-based applications – both Intranet and Internet in software engineering.

Load Testing helps identify the bottlenecks in the system under heavy user stress scenarios before they happen in a production environment. It also gives confidence in the system & its reliability and performance. And gives excellent protection against poor performance and accommodates complementary strategies for performance management and monitoring of a production environment.

Load testing measures system performance as the workload increases. That workload could mean concurrent users or transactions. The system is monitored to measure response time and system staying power as workload increases. That workload falls within the parameters of normal working conditions.

Goals of Load Testing

Loading testing distinguishes the following problems before sending the application to market or Production:

◾Software design issues

◾Server configuration issues like a Web server, application server, database server, etc.

◾Hardware limitation issues like CPU maximization, memory limitations, network bottleneck, etc.

◾Response time for each transaction

◾Performance of System components under various loads

◾Performance of Database components under different loads

◾Network delay between the client and the server

What is the achievement during a Load test?

With a proper Load test, we can have an exact understanding of the following:

  1. The number of users the system is able to handle or is capable of scaling to.
  2. How does each component of the entire system behave under Load, i.e. Application server components, web server components, Database components, etc?
  3. Whether the existing hardware is enough or is there any need for additional hardware.
  4. Identify bottlenecks like CPU utilization, Memory Usage, Network delays, etc.
  5. The response time of each transaction.
  6. What server configuration is best to handle the load?

Software Quality Assurance Engineer

Conclusion

We need to understand if any Load test is already done on the system or not before we start the Load test.  If there was any load testing done earlier, then we need to know what was the response time, client, and server metrics collected, how much was the user load capacity, etc. We also need information on how much is the current application handling capability.  We need to understand the requirements, what is the targeted load, what is the expected response time, and if it is really achievable or not if it’s a new application.

You can get the load requirements and the user access patterns from the server logs if it is an existing application.  But if it is a new application, then you need to reach out to the business team to get all the information. We need to identify how we are going to execute the load test once we have the requirements. Ask yourselves some questions such as is it manually or using tools? Doing a load test manually needs a lot of resources and is very expensive too. Also, repeating the test, again and again, will be tough, as well.

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