Load testing is a non-functional software testing that is designed to see how a computer system will work under both normal and peak conditions. It is classified as “non-functional” because it is dealing with software aspects that don’t have a specific function or action. Anyway, this test helps determine the maximum operating capacity, how many users can be on it at one time. It pinpoints any possible problematic bottleneck areas. To do this test the testers usually perform a number of different scenarios. There are trained professionals for this test who utilize the most advanced tools and procedures to accomplish the task.
There are multiple platforms on which this might be performed. This sort of procedure is often performed by web application creators. However it is done, the basics of doing it properly are the same. Every test should begin with a number of virtual users on hand. After beginning, add this virtual users to the procedure very slowly so that you can properly record how your device is handling that load level. You will want to track such things as memory consumption, bandwidth and network response time. You have probably reached the threshold when the server processor utilization reaches 75 percent.
This is typically an accurate test for such a thing. It is not the same thing as a stress test which is a little different. A stress test determines how much of a load a device can carry when its hardware or software has been compromised. A load test, on the other hand, gauges its test only concerning normal conditions without compromised equipment. Of course, these “normal” conditions may be extreme such as running multiple applications at the same time, having multiple simultaneous print jobs, and writing and reading tons of data at the same time. There are many other examples of extreme normal conditions. A test on whatever type of system can be accomplished just about anywhere. And if you or your company are a big computer user, you would do well to take it very seriously.
Load testing generally enables one to measure response times of a software system or computing device when demand is put on either of them. To quickly validate any given software’s usage, load testing is applied. It can, however, be used concurrently with software performance testing and volume testing. Its relevance is mostly for multi-user systems where one of the systems is built using a server model with web servers being a good example.
Load testing can be utilized on various software system types such as a word processor that can read a large document or a financial package that can produce a lot of data at once. It is more accurate in actual use than on theory of analysis of whatever model. When generating a load testing report, hardware and software statistics which includes the memory, throughput of the system under test and the CPU will be monitored and collected by the conductor.
Load test plan specifications vary from one organization to the other depending on the number of virtual users or activities involved. However, they all aim at achieving the same goal of simulating a system performance of different volumes and peak flows. The pass or fail criteria of a load test is different across organizations as well as there are no acceptable standards specified.
Load testing tools should be capable of analyzing the entire OSI protocol stack. However, there is a widespread misconception that it provides records as regression testing tools do. It’s, therefore, important for a person to differentiate the two. The traditional load testing tools available includes application servers, database servers, client-side processing, networking and load balancing where multiple servers are involved. If an application is subjected to a service level agreement, load testing is entirely applicable. Tools that are available include things like Dotcom-Monitor and HP’s LoadRunner.
In a more technical language, load testing can only be applied to a project that is almost at the end of its production cycle. Also, an actual user engagement should be accurately simulated and put to the test. Software engineering, load testing expertise or even much more is needed for one to analyze load testing reports accurately. Experience in the sector cannot be overlooked; it’s vital!
The only way software engineers can ensure that a particular piece of new software is ready for real world users is after completing thorough load testing. A software program in a computer system may operate perfectly and perform every feature, as designed, when it is run on a development system by itself. In the real world systems environment of many different programs running on the same system at the same time, that same new piece of software might crash and burn horribly. There are just some types of synergistic issues that can only be detected by stress testing it with an emulation of a real world environment.
The whole arena of load testing has become an important end-step in the Agile software development process. It has always been a part of developing software, it was just not called out and scheduled appropriately in the maverick programming days before Agile. The result back then was development cost overruns and revenue losses because of severely delayed, recalled, and broken software releases. The computer industry learned from these early mistakes, leading to better prediction and control of each step in software development through ideas like the agile process. When the potential failure of new software is designed into the process of creating it, there is an established tried and true way to make sure software performs as billed for the end users.
It’s important to understand that load testing not only helps people understand how web servers perform under load, but also the general speed of web servers. For example, if you’re looking for the fastest performing web server out there, it’s possible that running a load test on some different hosting servers with each company can help you understand which company is the fastest under load. This is important because there’s a big difference between how fast web servers perform under load compared to the time when they are not under load.
Today’s sophisticated load and stress testing processes are well defined and supported by several test software frameworks to automate the process for potential release software candidates. This reduces the possibility of “gotchas” in a customer’s real world operations. There is a slight difference between testing with loading vs stressing. The first type does not mean to push operations beyond normal, the second is for determining where the absolute limit of proper operation is in a very over-stressed operating environment. Making your software products and services as reliable as possible, especially in heavily loaded server environments has become absolutely essential for final user acceptance.