Performance testing is the process of testing the performance of a computer, device or software, to see if various performance parameters match up to the claims or specifications of the manufacturer and is adequate for the needs of the user. With regard to software specifically, performance is one of the most important things that determines the actual quality of the software. Performance testing can be done qualitatively, in a lab to test attributes such as reliability, scalability and interoperability. Measurements such as response time can also be measured. There are a number of different types of performance test that can be done and performance testing is crucial to businesses for a number of reasons discussed below.
Types of Performance Test
There are a number of types of performance test, which can be carried out. Four of these are described briefly below.
The simplest of performance tests commonly carried out is load testing. Simply put, this type of test measures the performance of software under a specific load. For example, this could be the number of people using an application simultaneously while performing a specific number of tasks. This kind of testing can identify any bottlenecks in the software. A bottleneck is where one or a specific number of things within the system limits the performance of a system.
Endurance testing is where systems are put under a specific load for a sustained period of time to see how the system copes. Performance degradation is tested during this process to assess whether or not the performance of the software diminishes after prolonged use.
Stress testing, similar to load testing, puts the system under extreme pressure to find out what the maximum capacity of the system is.
Spike testing in a similar way, tests the system under extreme spikes in usage amount, to see how the system handles sudden and dramatic changes in load. Generally, the parameters include whether or not the system will fail completely, whether or not performance is reduced and whether or not the system is able to handle this kind of sudden increase in usage.
Why Performance Testing Is Important
Assuming you use computer systems in your business and that you rely on software for your business needs, scheduled performance testing is vital. This is because breakdowns or leaks can seriously damage your business in terms of reputation. Once your reputation is damaged, it can be difficult to repair, causing lost revenue. Other potential problems of failed software include loss of productivity, causing a backlog of work and depending on the size of your brand, potential negative press attention. Software companies often claim that their systems have already been tested thoroughly, however, this testing is often not specific to the needs of your business. As a result, any unexpected spikes or potential bottlenecks can undoubtedly be missed. In addition, even if testing is done at installation, it may not be done at your individual production levels.
Software performance testing is essential for the efficient running of any business relying on software for their activities. If you require software performance testing services, it is essential that you find a professional, reputable company to ensure that it is done to the highest standards possible.