Performance testing is het uitvoeren van testen op een systeem om de prestaties te meten. Er kunnen diverse soorten testen worden toegepast om de performance van het systeem in kaart te brengen. Performance testing betreft niet enkel software als webservers maar kan ook worden gebruikt voor hardware.
A typical need for performance testing arises when a lot is required of a system (think of crucial networks or webshops with many visitors). These tests can provide insight into the system’s weak spots or show areas to improve. It might be the case that a webshop is growing rapidly and there is uncertainty whether the system can keep up with the actual growth.
Why execute performance testing?
To ensure the continuity and usability of a system, it is wise to use performance tests in time so that negative consequences can be avoided. A consequence may be, for example, that the system cannot handle the requested performance.
Consider the situation in which peak traffic is expected (for example, a webshop during Black Friday). Potential turnover could be lost if the maximum capacity is lower than the number of visitors.
Types of performance testing
There are multiple types of performance testing. For the sake of clarity, we will talk about load testing, capacity testing, stress testing, and soak testing in this article. We will write more in-depth about load testing in a future installment of our blog.
Load testing observes and tests how a system behaves with a large number of users. It is important to look at whether the system remains stable with a large number of users. It is also good to see if the system behaves differently with many users at the same time.
Capacity testing is the identification of the maximum capacity of users that the system can support. In many cases, there is a certain limit to which the system can continue to perform well. If the limit is exceeded, the system often no longer works (properly). This detects the maximum amount of users. It is crucial to look at how many users can access the system at the same time. The consequences of exceeding this number are also good to know.
The purpose of a stress test is to find out how a system behaves under extreme conditions. Vulnerabilities of the system are detected by simulating extreme conditions. This mainly concerns the burdening of specific parts. For example, consider a single customer that places 10.000 orders simultaneously in a webshop. The system could crash as a result. For example, it can no longer handle the total number of transactions to be processed.
Soak testing is a way to find performance problems that only occur during a longer period of time. The difference with other tests is that normally no maximum load of the system is simulated here, but rather a simulation of the expected system production. The system might be able to perform well for 2 hours, but after say 10 hours, it might suffer from problems such as memory leakage. These problems are then found and can be solved appropriately.
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