Types of Performance Testing

In this article, we delve into the various types of performance testing, highlighting the key differences among them like load and stress tests, throttle, peak, and scalability tests, which are crucial for identifying and rectifying performance issues.

As mentioned by Mercedes Quinteros in this article, CEO of Qualitas Test Team, performance testing allows us to evaluate how a product performs in terms of stability, scalability, capacity, and speed. The results obtained with performance tests enable organizations to obtain information about performance bottlenecks in an application, performance levels, comparison of systems to find out which one works best, and infrastructure improvements.

Read more about why performance testing services are the master key to improving software in this article.

Distinguishing the Different Types of Performance Testing

Performance testing is a part of non-functional testing, which focuses on cross-cutting factors related to the user experience. You can learn more about the differences between functional testing and non-functional testing in this article!

In our examination of performance testing, we explore various types of performance tests including Load Testing, Stress Testing, Endurance Testing, Throttle Testing, Peak Testing, and Scalability Testing.

The figure below represents some of these performance tests and what the graph of active virtual users would be like throughout the testing time.

Graphs of different types of performance testing: load testing, endurance testing, stress testing and peak testing

Load Testing

Load tests are meant to simulate the maximum use of the system, for which we must analyze the number of users (user traffic) that will have access and the operations that will be executed. When we hear our clients talking about the need for performance testing, most of the times they are referring to load testing.

There are many performance testing tools available in the market to execute load tests, you can find a thorough list in this article. If you are looking for open-source software, a performance testing tool, or a free load testing tool, we recommend you to try JMeter DSL, an open-source project we support, focused on making performance testing developer-friendly.

Stress Testing

Stress tests

When it comes to stress tests, the purpose is to find the stepping-up breaking point by executing the most accessed transactions (typically) in an incremental manner as to the number of users, until the system fails.

A stress test will indicate the maximum number of users that the system can support, with the infrastructure in which it is installed, and how long it takes to recover regular functioning after the system has been down for a period.

Endurance Testing

This type of performance test is meant to test the system performance for longer periods of time (i.e. 8 hours or more), in order to reveal other types of problems. These may come up following the accumulation of problems, as in the case of a memory leak and to analyze how the system behaves while following a specific period in operation.

Throttle Testing

When speaking of throttle testing, we refer to a simulation of the load, with a limited speed of connection of virtual users (all of them or just a group) to analyze the response time obtained by those users connected through lower speed networks (3G, distant areas, through the Internet, etc.)

Speed simulators or traffic shapers are used in these tests, in addition to some tools that have this functionality included.

Peak Testing

This type of performance test is useful to analyze how the system behaves when it is exposed to intensity peaks mixed with a regular load, showing the recovery following the increased load. This sort of situation happens in reality, so it is interesting to analyze the system’s behavior in such cases.

Scalability Testing

As the name reveals, conducting performance testing such as scalability testing enables us to analyze how the system escalates. It indicates, for example, how many virtual users we can support if another application server is added, or improvements in timing when we add more CPU to the database server. 

Being able to run performance tests such as scalability tests is crucial. These kinds of performance tests should be executed during the software development cycle or before launch, in order to be able to detect performance issues before the end user faces them.

If you are interested in learning more about the best continuous performance testing practices, we invite you to read this article.

Looking for a Quality Partner for Performance Testing?

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