Benchmark Testing | How To Perform, Techniques, Phases, Tools

Benchmark Testing

In this Benchmark Testing guide, we will learn what is benchmark testing and the following.

Let’s get started.

What is Benchmark Testing?

In a lay man’s term, the benchmark is just one reference point that is decided upon by measuring a repeatable set of quantifiable results. This reference point is considered as a point that serves to be the standard pointer used for further analysis.

Benchmark testing and performance testing have a very thin line of difference. The results against performance metrics are agreed upon in any business and are based on various industry standards.

The main intention to commence benchmark testing is to determine the quality standards of every software application by testing all the current as well as the future releases of the application by maintaining the same high-quality standards.

It not only covers software, hardware but also networks performance.

Since benchmark testing measures a repeatable set of quantifiable results serving as a point of reference against which products/services can be compared, the purpose is to compare the present and future software releases with their respective benchmarks.

Benchmark Testing in Performance Testing

As discussed earlier, a benchmark in performance testing is known as a metric against which software products or services can be compared to assess the quality measures.

For example, for a web application development team has a benchmark for a junior developer to qualify as a associate-level developer. The skillset for the benchmark could be a number of lines of code the person has written in order to create a small application for a period of few weeks.

Why Benchmark Testing is important?

Benchmark testing is essential in many ways. A few of them can be understood as follows:

  • For implementing quality standards as well as service level agreements (SLAs)
  • To practically establish user experience and other business standards for a software application.
  • To check the performance analysis of a software application and compare it with competitors.
  • Help analyzing user experience and availability.
  • Ensuring the adherence to the compliance, industry best practices, SLAs, and that they are met.
  • To evaluate third-party vendors’ evaluation and to help figure out the mistakes to be avoided.

Benchmark Testing Prerequisites

Just like we need to take care of a few pre-requisites before commencing any type of testing, the same goes for Benchmark testing too.

To determine a suitable software test engineer beforehand with some relevant experience.

  • If not fixed, then at least try to get clarity on the preferred performance goals.
  • To create meaningful test cases.
  • To decide and use suitable testing tools.
  • If possible, try to mimic the production scenarios.
  • Last but not the least, draft a solid test plan.

How is Benchmark Testing performed?

As we read in the above section, the creation of the test plan is one of the most important pre-requisite when talking about benchmark testing.

How do we create it, comes in the following section but before jumping on the same, let’s understand how the benchmark testing is actually performed.

Benchmark testing is performed by repeatedly testing suites using the same components that are used or will be used in the production.

  • By repeatedly testing the test cases, we want to check the very one to one matching of the results across test runs.
  • To get an optimized result, no other applications should be found running, while executing the tests, except for the benchmark test suite.
  • Once we do encounter bugs or other problems, it should be well documented with all the details of the failure symptoms and every related information. This is crucial, especially when you want the development team to be able to replicate the scenario.

How do we create a Benchmark Test Plan?

Now coming to the creation of the test plan for benchmark testing, there are few easy steps as follows,

  • Deciding upon the workload. To scale and invoke the same.
  • As a part of the benchmark testing, it is necessary to gather and note the measures
  • Document the configurable data such as the time span required and the terminal point of a test process
  • It is wise to keep a backup plan handy in case of any test case failure
  • As in conventional test plan creation, we decide upon the human resources involved, here as well, we need to specify the lead or the product owner who is authorized to direct the team for when to call termination of the end process.

What are the Benchmark Testing Phases?

Broadly there are four phases of benchmark testing. They are as follows.

  1. Planning Phase
  2. Analysis Phase
  3. Integration Phase
  4. Action Phase

Phases of Benchmark Testing

#1. Planning Phase

In this phase, we identify and prioritize the decided standards and requirements, decide benchmark criteria, and define the benchmark test process.

#2. Analysis Phase

When in the analyzing phase, our motto is to identify the root cause of error in order to improve quality and setting goals for test processes.

#3. Integration Phase

In the Integration phase, the outcomes are shared with the team or the lead and get approval by establishing functional goals.

#4. Action Phase

Finally, in the action phase, we need to run the process continuously, after we have developed the test plan, documentation and have implemented actions as specified in previous phases. This phase also required monitoring.

What are the Benchmark Testing Techniques?

We have several test components that are usually checked using benchmark testing such as SQL Queries, SQL Indexes, SQL Procedures, SQL Triggers, Table Space Configurations, Hardware Configurations, Application Code, Networks, and Firewalls, etc.

So, it is natural that testing all these kinds of environments and further set benchmarks for the same will rule out one common testing technique.

However, the most commonly used benchmark testing techniques are,

  • To keep a check on the consistency and control of the test results. It is an important measure to perform while benchmark testing
  • Thoroughly understand the system architecture so that designing the test criteria and test data is easy. It is imperative as each system has different architecture and design, which calls for different approaches that need to be taken into consideration while performing Benchmark Testing
  • To record and analyze the initial static data. Post this, update it according to the number of users.
  • Taking everything in one basket may lead you to miss out on important parameters, hence splitting the system elements according to is functionalities is highly recommended.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Benchmark Testing?

Advantages:

  • Benchmark testing provides numerous benefits to the developer as well as testers.
  • It checks the quality, efficiency, performance of the end product, all at once.
  • It also helps the team to analyze how the system responds to the changes in the application.
  • Validates if the software components are in working conditions.
  • It can also be used to test mobile devices along with the database and so on.
  • Workload specification, specification of metrics, and measurements are also covered in benchmark testing as its major components.
  • By testing benchmark load conditions, it helps to determine system behavior even against DDoS attacks.

Disadvantages:

  • With so many added advantages with benchmark testing, there are very limited disadvantages that we can think of.
  • Special resource allocation is required and the test engineer should possess a sound knowledge of the system under test in and out.
  • A number of repeatable test steps and case execution may lead to more time consumption, however, effectively choosing the testing tools, designing the test plan may serve as a workaround for this problem.

Benchmark Testing Tools

Some of the benchmark testing tools to test Windows PCs are Prime95, Novabench, 3DMark

Some of the benchmark testing tools to test CPU performance are Geekbench, Cinebench

Some of the tools to test the system’s Speed and Mobile Device batteries are Phoronix, CPU-M, Vellamo.

Conclusion

Summarizing the article in short let us revise a few pointers.

  • In Software Engineering, Benchmark Testing helps us with a repeatable set of quantifiable results and adds value to the test by checking the performance of a system.
  • Benchmark testing can be used for software as well as mobile applications.
  • It is immensely helpful when the load conditions and DDoS attacks are to be detected.
  • A few of the most common components of benchmark testing are workload specifications, specifications of metrics, and specifications of measurements.
  • In the current market, we do have a couple of tools and frameworks available and if used to perform benchmark testing, it helps to deliver test results rapidly and efficiently.

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