Difference Between Performance Testing Vs. Load Testing Vs. Stress Testing
Performance testing is the testing technique used to determine the performance components of a particular system/ application in a specific situation. It determines how much resources are used and how much product/system is scalable, reliable, responsible, and speedy during the test. This testing does not give a pass or fail result, used to set the benchmark & standard of the application/system against Concurrency/Throughput, Server response time, Latency, Render response time, etc. This testing is the subset of performance engineering, and it is used to determine the performance issues come in the design and architecture of software product. It is very extensive, contains:
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- Load Testing, Stress Testing, capacity testing, volume testing, endurance testing, spike testing, scalability testing, and reliability testing, etc.
For example; to know the web application is working fine or not, we need to test two things,
- Load in terms of concurrent users or HTTP connections
- Suitable response time
Constantly, increase the load on the system while looking for bottlenecks. For a web application, these bottlenecks can occur at multiple levels, and to locate them you can use various tools,
- At the application level: Profilers can be used by the developer to spot inefficiencies in their code.
- At the database level: Database-specific profilers and query optimizers can be used by developers and DBAs.
- At the operating system level: Use utilities “top, vmstat, iostat” on Unix-type systems and “PerfMon” on Windows to monitor hardware resources such as CPU, memory, swap, disk I/O.
- At the network level: Packet sniffers “tcpdump,” network protocol analyzers “ethereal,” and various utilities “netstat, MRTG, top, mini-tool” can be used by network engineers.
The activities described above will use a white-box testing approach, where the system examined and watched “from the inside out” and from various angles. The Jmeter tool is an excellent tool to execute performance testing.
The primary aim of Performance Testing
The primary aim of performance testing is to determine the benchmark behavior of a system under test. During the test, performance testing benchmarks should meet with the industry-defined benchmarks.
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Performance testing aim is not to find bugs in the system/application, and it aims to set and test the benchmark of the application. Correctness and close observance of the performance and results of the application during the test is the primary characteristic of performance testing.
We have already seen above that load testing is an important part of performance testing. In the case of Load testing, we can continuously and steadily increase the load on the system until the time it reaches the threshold limit. Very easily, we can test the load of the system by using automation tools like; LoadRunner or any other suitable tool. Load testing is also well-known by names like Volume testing and endurance testing. In the above example, for a web application, the load is defined in terms of concurrent users or HTTP connections.
Examples of volume testing
- Test of a word processor by changing the large volume of data
- Test a printer by transferring heavy data
- Test a mail server with 1000 of concurrent users
Examples of Endurance Testing
- Test a client-server application by running the client in a loop against the server over an extended period of time.
- Here we can see, performance testing and load testing look similar, but their goals are different from each other. In some cases, load testing has been used with performance testing for measurement and benchmarking. And in some cases, load testing works at a predefined load level, usually the highest load that the system accepts.
The Aim of Load Testing
Find out bugs that are not possible with any other such as memory management bugs, memory leaks, buffer overflows, etc.
Make sure that the application meets the performance point recognized during performance testing. It is possible due to regression testing against the application at a specified maximum load.
During the test, Stress testing tries to break the system by crushing or hiding its resources (sometimes we called this a negative testing). The purpose of it to ensure that the system fails and recovers gracefully (sometimes it is called recoverability).
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In the above example of a Web application, the stress can be applied in various, ways:
- Double the baseline number of concurrent users/HTTP connections
- Randomly shut down and restart ports on the network switches/routers that connect the servers (via SNMP commands for example)
- Restart the offline database
- Rebuild a RAID array during runtime of the system
- The run method that includes resources (CPU, memory, disk, network) on the Web and database servers
The aim of the Stress Testing
The stress testing aims to examine post-crash reports to express the performance of application after failure. The major subject is to make sure that the system does not cooperate with the security of complex data after the failure. In an effective stress testing, the system will come back to normality along with all its components, after even the most terrible breakdown.
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