Understanding The Term Load Testing

In the world of engineering, new developments carry both a risk of success or failure. Consequently, developers have to test new milestones before releasing them to clients. A load test is one of them. It falls under a bigger bracket called performance testing. It is aimed at testing the success of systems such as a computer or its applications, a network, a peripheral, or a server.

Any new development comes with the system’s specifications such as the speed limit, a maximum number of simultaneous users, etc. A load test will subject the system to these limits, and the developer gets to observe how the system behaves, according to LoadTesting. As a result, he can release the development in the market, or make a few corrections or totally scrap off the idea.

Another often confusing term is stress testing. Simply put, with stress testing, the aim is to see how far your system continues in operation after being subjected to extreme conditions. Whereas with load testing, the objective is to identify how much work the system can handle before failure.

Approach To Load Testing

There are two primary ways to apply load testing;
• Endurance testing (also known as longevity testing) – Investigates a system’s ability to withstand constant workload for long. Note that the workload here is moderate not extreme.
• Volume testing- The system is subjected to heavy workload but only for a short time.
With the above tests, the developer can identify the system’s component limitations, bugs, and bottlenecks.

Some popular tools you can use are:

http://www8.hp.com/us/en/software-solutions/loadrunner-load-testing/

Load-View-Testing.com

http://grinder.sourceforge.net/

A Practical Example

John, a software engineer, develops a new app ABC designed to help users shop online. Ideally, John should specify how many users the app can handle simultaneously. To test if his development works as per the specifications, John needs to run multiple programs on this app. The concept behind this is that while customers are shopping, cashiers are releasing invoices. Consequently, the store assistants are packing orders received from the orders department.

Another relevant test would be to redirect a significant amount of traffic to this app. In the real world, customers will be engaging this app for several reasons such as requests for quotations, complaining about the products bought, etc.

App ABC will either handle the load smoothly or give errors or the worst case scenario crash. Depending on how the app reacts, John will now develop solutions, test the app again until he is confident of his development. Only then should he release the app to his client.

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