PERFORMANCE TESTING – SOONER RATHER THAN LATER

Once an application has been developed, it makes perfect sense to test it out and confirm that it truly does work.  Functional tests are typically used to ensure that the code functions properly and that the user will not find any bugs.  But to thoroughly test an application, non-functional tests should also be conducted that focus on determining the overall quality of the product, rather than just the usefulness to the end user.

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As such, performance testing can be performed “to determine whether or not an application will do what it is intended to do acceptably in reality.”  In fact, it’s a specific method of examining the quality of the application’s traits through reality-based simulations.   These qualities can usually be narrowed down to its speed, capacity, scalability, and stability.   The testing of these particular qualities can be accomplished through the use of three distinct but related testing tools:

1. Performance Testing:  This process aims to remove any bottlenecks in the system.  In so doing, it facilitates the establishment of baseline measures for regression testing in the future.

2. Load Testing:  Sometimes referred as “volume” or “longevity/endurance” testing, this technique focuses on having the system work-out by pumping it with the largest tasks it can run on.

3.  Stress Testing:  Also referred to as “recoverability” or “negative testing”, the objective of this process it to actually break the system.  By either overwhelming its resources or removing them, the goal is to ensure that the system will recover if it happens to eventually fail.

While performance tests can initially provide your stakeholders with vital information about the quality of a new product/service, it can also be incredibly useful in analyzing the risk of failure before it even happens and potentially saving your organization from a costly blunder.

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