How Do You Performance Test Your Mission Critical Applications?

I am sure you are familiar with these messages:

“An unknown error occurred, please try again”

“Page not available”

“HTTP Error 503 – Service unavailable”

“Null pointer exception”

Every application (web or mobile or desktop) needs a check before it gets into action i.e. it is important to validate the functional and non-functional aspects of the application.

In basic terms, performance means the ability to do a certain task with certain level of accomplishment. In reference to a web application it can be defined as the ability to meet the real user’s expectations in the production environment. It can also mean the ease with which your web application can handle volumes of users before it slows down or fails. These are nothing but measures of performance or simply performance requirements.

According to IEEE definition, “performance testing is conducted to evaluate the compliance of a system or component with specified performance requirements.”

Performance test results majorly depend upon the test environment i.e. having the test environment exactly as of the production system is ideally considered as the best setup. Setting up such type of environment is a challenging task. Even a small variation between the test environment and production environment can lead to inconsistent results. But, creating the environment is not the only important task. Avoiding the dependencies of the application in the test environment which will cut off the unwanted cost and accelerate the go-to-market is even more complicated. Replicating all these is a big challenge which involve lots of efforts, time and of course money.

Another major component of performance testing is Load testing. Load testing is done in order to analyze the capacity of an application. For example, every person has own capacity to lift weights while working out in a gym. And, eventually, there is a breaking point for each individual. A similar case can be assumed in load testing as well.

How much load a server or infrastructure can handle at a particular time, in a given situation (peak time) without breaking down defines the capacity. Load testing helps engineers to understand the application’s behavior and availability upon varying load. Thus, Performance bottlenecks causing performance degradation can be identified during load testing.

Let us analyze this with a day in a life scenario – When there’s an online flash sale on an e-commerce site, a typical customer without wasting any time starts searching for the items that he or she wishes to buy. Select them, add them to cart and proceed for the payment. But as soon as the payment information is being filled, the page either becomes unresponsive or a message pops up – “The item is no longer available in the inventory”. Pity, that user spent so much time but could only get a huge disappointment. That’s not just a loss of business but probably a loss of potential loyal customer as well.

And, I know, this must’ve happened to so many people who were about to buy a newly launched phone, but couldn’t buy one. Performance testing helps overcome these challenges. And, the tools that are able to recreate production like scenario within labs are the one that are designed and developed for forward thinking organizations – leaders in their domain.

One such product is Cavisson NetStorm. NetStorm is extremely powerful, enterprise ready, performance testing and capacity analysis appliance. NetStorm offers Internet True simulation technology that allows users to simulate and recreate production-like scenario (users, networks, along with their behavior) to conduct meaningful performance testing.

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About the author: Vanya Singh