Performance Testing Tutorial | Software Testing Material

In the field of Software Testing, Testers mainly concentrate on Black Box and White Box Testing. Under the Black Box testing, again there are different types of testing. The major types of testing are Functionality testing and Non-functional testing. Performance testing and types of performance testing fall under Non-functional testing.

In this article, we will be looking into the following

What is Performance Testing?

In software, performance testing (also called Perf Testing) determines or validates the speed, scalability, and/or stability characteristics of the system or application under test. Performance is concerned with achieving response times, throughput, and resource-utilization levels that meet the performance objectives for the project or product.

Web application performance testing is conducted to mitigate the risk of availability, reliability, scalability, responsiveness, stability etc. of a system.

Performance testing encompasses a number of different types of testing like load testing, volume testing, stress testing, capacity testing, soak/endurance testing and spike testing each of which is designed to uncover or solve performance problems in a system.

Why Performance Testing?

In the current market performance and responsiveness of applications play an important role in the success of a business. We conduct performance testing to address the bottlenecks of the system and to fine-tune the system by finding the root cause of performance issues. Performance testing answers to the questions like how many users the system could handle, how well the system could recover when the no. of users crossed the maximum users, what is the response time of the system under normal and peak loads.

We use performance testing tools to measure the performance of a system or application under test (AUT) and help in releasing high-quality software but it is not done to find defects in an application.

Load and performance testing will determine whether an application meets Speed, Scalability, and Stability requirements under expected workloads.

Speed: It determines whether an application responds quickly

Scalability: It determines maximum load an application can handle

Stability: It determines whether an application is stable under varying loads

Poorly performed applications gain a bad reputation and fail to meet the expected goals. So performance testing of an application is very important.

Types of Performance Testing?

Types of Performance Testing

Capacity Testing:

Capacity Testing is to determine how many users a system/application can handle successfully before the performance goals become unacceptable. This allows us to avoid the potential problems in the future such as increased user base or increased volume of data. It helps users to identify a scaling strategy in order to determine whether a system should scale up or scale out. It is done majorly for eCommerce and Banking sites.  are some examples. This testing is sometimes called Scalability testing.

Load Testing:

Load Testing is to verify that a system/application can handle the expected number of transactions and to verify the system/application behavior under both normal and peak load conditions (no. of users).

Volume Testing:

Volume Testing is to verify whether a system/application can handle a large amount of data. This testing focuses on Data Base. Performance tester who does volume testing has to populate a huge volume of data in a database and monitors the behavior of a system.

Stress Testing:

Stress Testing is to verify the behavior of the system once the load increases more than the system’s design expectations. This testing addresses which components fail first when we stress the system by applying the load beyond the design expectations. So that we can design a more robust system.

Soak/Endurance Testing:

Soak Testing is aka Endurance Testing. Running a system at high load for a prolonged period of time to identify the performance problems is called Soak Testing. It is to make sure the software can handle the expected load over a long period of time.

Spike Testing:

Spike Testing is to determine the behavior of the system under a sudden increase of load (a large number of users) on the system.

Read more: Types of Performance Testing & 100+ Types of Software Testing

Difference between Functional Testing and Non-functional Testing?

Functional TestingNon-functional Testing
What the system actually does is functional testingHow well the system performs is non-functionality testing
To ensure that your product meets customer and business requirements and doesn’t have any major bugsTo ensure that the product stands up to customer expectations
To verify the accuracy of the software against expected outputTo verify the behavior of the software at various load conditions
It is performed before non-functional testingIt is performed after functional testing
Example of functional test case is to verify the login functionalityExample of non-functional test case is to check whether the homepage is loading in less than 2 seconds
Testing types are
• Unit testing
• Smoke testing
• User Acceptance
• Integration Testing
• Regression testing
• Localization
• Globalization
• Interoperability
Testing types are
• Performance Testing
• Volume Testing
• Scalability
• Usability Testing
• Load Testing
• Stress Testing
• Compliance Testing
• Portability Testing
• Disaster Recover Testing
It can be performed either manual or automated wayIt can be performed efficiently if automated

Difference between Performance Testing, Load Testing & Stress Testing

Performance Testing:

In software, performance testing (also called Perf Testing) determines or validates the speed, scalability, and/or stability characteristics of the system or application under test. Performance is concerned with achieving response times, throughput, and resource-utilization levels that meet the performance objectives for the project or product.

Performance testing is conducted to mitigate the risk of availability, reliability, scalability, responsiveness, stability etc. of a system.

Performance testing encompasses a number of different types of testing like load testing, volume testing, stress testing, capacity testing, soak/endurance testing and spike testing each of which is designed to uncover or solve performance problems in a system.

Load Testing:

Load Testing is to verify that a system/application can handle the expected number of transactions and to verify the system/application behavior under both normal and peak load conditions (no. of users).

Stress Testing:

Stress Testing is to verify the behavior of the system once the load increases more than the system’s design expectations. This testing addresses which components fail first when we stress the system by applying the load beyond the design expectations. So that we can design a more robust system.

Performance TestingLoad testingStress testing
It is a superset of load and stress testingIt is a subset of performance testingIt is a subset of performance testing
Goal of performance testing is to set the benchmark and standards for the applicationGoal of load testing is to identify the upper limit of the system, set SLA of the app and check how the system handles heavy loadGoal of stress testing is to find how the system behaves under extreme loads and how it recovers from failure
Load limit is both below and above the threshold of a breakLoad limit is a threshold of a breakLoad limit is above the threshold of a break
The attributes which are checked in performance testing are speed, response time, resource usage, stability, reliability and throughputThe attributes which are checked in a load testing are peak performance, server throughput, response time under various load levels, load balancing requirements etc.The attributes which are checked in a stress testing are stability response time, bandwidth capacity etc.,

Difference between Performance Engineering & Performance Testing?

Performance engineering is a discipline that includes best practices and activities during every phase of the software development life cycle (SDLC) in order to test and tune the application with the intent of realizing the required performance.

Performance testing simulates the realistic end-user load to determine the speed, responsiveness, and stability of the system. It concerned with testing and reporting the current performance of an application under various parameters such as response time, concurrent user load, server throughput etc.

Performance Testing Process

Identify the test environment:

Identify the physical test environment, production environment and know what testing tools are available. Before beginning the testing process, understand details of the hardware, software and network configurations. This process must be revisited periodically throughout the projects life cycle.

Identify performance acceptance criteria:

This includes goals and constraints for response time, throughput and resource utilization. Response time is a user concern, throughput is a business concern, and resource utilization is a system concern. It is also necessary to identify project success criteria that may not be captured by those goals and constraints.

Plan & Design performance tests:

Identify key scenarios to test for all possible use cases. Determine how to simulate that variability, define test data, and establish metrics to be gathered.

Configure the Test Environment:

Prepare the test environment, arrange tools and other resources before execution

Implement the Test Design:

Develop the performance tests in accordance with the test design

Execute the Test:

Execute and monitor the tests

Analyze Results, Report, and Retest:

Consolidate, analyze and share test results. Fine tune and retest to see if there is an improvement in performance. When all of the metric values are within acceptable limits then you have finished testing that particular scenario on that particular configuration.

Example of Performance Test Cases

Writing test cases for performance testing requires a different mindset compared to writing functional test cases.

Read more: How To Write Functional Test Cases.

  • To verify whether an application is capable of handling a certain number of simultaneous users
  • To verify whether the response time of an application under load is within an acceptable range when the network connectivity is slow
  • To verify the response time of an application under low, normal, moderate and heavy load conditions
  • To check whether the server remain functional without any crash under high load
  • To verify whether an application reverts to normal behavior after a peak load
  • To verify database server and CPU and memory usage of the application under peak load

How to choose the right Performance Testing Tool

There are many tools in the market to do performance testing. It is impossible to mention the best performance testing tool out of all the tools available. It is because every company has its own needs. What’s perfect for one company may not be suitable for another company. We have to do some analysis before choosing the right tool. Here are some factors we have to consider when choosing the best performance testing tool.

Some factors considered for choosing the best performance testing tool for Performance Testing.

  • Budget (License cost)
  • Types of license
  • Protocol support
  • Customer preference of load testing tool
  • The cost involved in training employees on the selected tool
  • Hardware/Software requirements of a loading tool
  • Tool Vendor support and update policy

There are a lot of performance testing tools in the market. There are free website load testing tools, paid tools and freemium tools. Almost all the commercial performance testing tools have a free trial. You can get a chance to work hands-on before deciding which is the best tool for your needs.

Some of the popular performance testing tools are LoadRunner, Apache JMeter, NeoLoad, StresStimulus, LoadUI Pro, WebLOAD, Rational Performance Tester, AppLoader, SmartMeter.io, Silk Performer, StormRunner Load, LoadView.

View our full list of Popular Performance Testing Tools.

Conclusion:

In this article, we have covered most of the information required to understand Performance testing. If you have any queries, please comment in the comment section below.

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Performance Testing

Rajkumar SM is a founder of SoftwareTestingMaterial. He is a certified Software Test Engineer by profession and blogger & youtuber by choice. He has an extensive experience in the field of Software Testing. He writes here about Software Testing which includes both Manual and Automation Testing. He loves to be with his wife and cute little kid 'Freedom'.

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