In order to know how efficiently your system or software is performing, you need to run a load test on it. It will tell you how much stress your application or system is able to take and it also helps you in identifying bottlenecks before the product or system is released in the market. 

SOFTWARE CONFIGURATION:

  • server software
  • operating system

 

HARDWARE PLATFORM:

  • processors
  • memory
  • disk storage
  • load machines configuration
  • server machines
  • network configuration

 

HOW TO CARRY OUT LOAD TESTING?

 

  1. Identification Of Objectives:

This step usually helps in identification of the performance objectives of your application that is how the application should respond to load.

The main things to consider in this step are:

  • response time:

Time taken by the application to display the output.

 

  • resource utilization:

Tells about how many resources are being utilized or consumed by your application.

 

  • throughput:

Number of requests or messages delivered over a communication channel.

 

  • maximum user load:

Defines how many users are able to run on hardware testing configuration.

 

  1. Identification of Key Scenarios:

Scenarios are basically user paths included in multiple application activities at a time.

 

  1. Identification of the Workload:
    in order to complete the second step you need to determine the ratio of the work. The ratio is generally dependent on how many users are executing the scenario.

In order to calculate the ratio you need to calculate the percentage of user load per key scenario.

 

  1. Identification of Metrics:

Metrics are used to compare the application’s real time performance and user defined performance objectives.

Metrics also play an important role in identifying the problems in your application.

There are five types of metrics which are used to carry out different tasks.

  • Network specified metrics which are used to determine the overall efficiency of the network.
  • System related metrics which are used to determine the utilization of the resources on the server.
  • Platform specified metrics are the metrics that are used as a host for an application.
  • Application specified metrics are used to determine the overall working efficiency of the application.
  • Service level metrics are used to measure the entire throughput of the application.

 

  1. Selection of Load Test Tool:

Before carrying out the load test, you need to pick the correct load testing tool as there are different testing tools for different purposes.

 

  1. Creation of Test Cases:

Test cases are basically a compilation of activities that are a part of scenario. They are used to tell whether the expected result is marked as pass or fail after execution.

 

  1. Preparing a Load Environment:

The setup environment should resemble the production environment as much as possible because even the smallest detail can impact the result, greatly.

In order to create the setup environment you need to understand the limits of the hardware and search for the bottlenecks before initiating the test.

 

  1. Running of the Load Test:

Use a small number of users against the user profile in the beginning and then slowly increase the load. Also it should be noted that, each step should have sufficient time before jumping to the next step in order to stabilize the system.

If you are increasing the number of users slowly, it will assist you a lot in find the correct or specific point where the system crashes because of the load.

It is advisable to run a load test in the form of cycles. Each cycle should have a specific number of users and fixing time in between.

 

  1. Running of the Load Test:

After completing the previous step, the system should be considered as stable now and should be able to withstand the full load test. Tools like LoadRunner can help with this.

In order to find the bottlenecks before initiating the test, make sure monitoring of both the computers (one running the load test and the one taking the load) are able to take the load.

 

  1. Analyzing and Evaluation of the Results:

After each and full run make sure to analyze the result and check them against the metrics.

Collect each result and compare it with other runs in order to notice any improvement or disturbance in the performance of the application.

It’s important to be able to analyze the results among hosting providers too. For example, if you’re doing a load test and looking at Bluehost vs GoDaddy for example, you need to be able to understand the subtle differences in the way that the servers respond to the load. One hosting company may perform better than the other, and it’s crucial to understand that not all hosting companies are created equally either. Running a load test is a great way to determine just how fast or responsive a web host is (you can read more about this on WebHostingTalk.com) so that you can choose the best host for your particular application.

For beginners load testing is full of trials and errors but once you follow these simple steps and practice you will be able to generate error free load tests.