Performance Engineering – Challenges, Benefits & Best Practices
Performance issues arise due to the presumptions that software developers make while writing code. These issues don’t mean that the Devs are vindictive and want their employers to release a bugged product rather this only shows the human nature of a software developer.
Performance testing used to be the go-to method to curb these issues, but continuous innovation in the development sphere has made performance testing redundant. More advanced methodologies are now required to ensure that all the performance-related issues are wiped out from the software application.
Performance engineering is a methodology that can keep you confident while you journey down the software delivery spiral. Software testing companies make use of performance engineering, allowing them to develop and execute a series of strategies, ensuring that the performance of your application stays up to the mark from the onset.
Let us go through the challenges, benefits, and best practices of performance engineering, to understand why your organization needs it.
Challenges Faced in Performance Engineering
Despite the availability of multiple affordable resources in the market, it is not sustainable for an organization to keep adding more resources to fix performance issues. This approach will only decrease efficiency and cause more issues. To understand how to fix this, you need to first understand the biggest challenges of performance engineering.
1. Selecting The Right Tools
Choosing the right testing tools is one of the biggest dilemmas. Testing has become an integrated part of CI/CD, providing performance engineers with more testing tools than ever before. This increase in choice has made the job of performance engineers difficult.
Open-source tools such as Apache JMeter have gained notoriety from everyone in the software testing industry.
JMeter is designed for performance testing and should be leveraged to analyze, measure the performance of your web applications or a variety of services. Its multithreading framework allows users to set up concurrent and simultaneous samplings of different functions via a separate thread group. JMeter enables you to write tests, evaluate database server performance and supports web application testing.
2. DevOps Optimization
DevOps teams that successfully integrate performance engineering garner better results. Cloud has revolutionized the way we do performance testing. It is more convenient to test in a cloud environment like AWS. Cloud environments make debugging new lines of code easy. They also make it easy to test new iterations before deployment, reducing the risk of causing catastrophic failure in the production environment.
Cloud computing allows you to manage the entire software development life cycle (SDLC) from a single interface, providing your DevOps team with a panoramic view of the entire cycle. Performance engineering methodologies align with DevOps best practices, incorporating performance testing during the SLDC rather than doing it as the final step in the cycle.
By the time you have to perform load tests, every component of your DevOps cycle is in place. This sync allows you to get rid of all the bottlenecks and issues that may arise.
Integrating performance engineering into even the most time-sensitive CI/CD workflow is an investment worth making. Sure, you may lose a small amount of time in the process, but the benefits you get in return — plus the risks you can mitigate make the investment worth it.
3. Lack of Understanding The Process
Another major challenge is the lack of understanding of how performance engineering can help your organization.
Most administrators don’t understand the importance of performance engineering during the development process. This lack of understanding leads to a broad spectrum of performance issues such as crashing due to an increase in traffic.
Performance engineering encompasses everything ranging from web servers to third-party apps. It is an end-to-end testing methodology that can guarantee more efficient performance testing and enhance the UX of your consumers.
Now that we understand the challenges of performance engineering, let’s look at the best practices that need to be followed to ensure a seamless process.
Best Practices to Improve Performance Engineering
These are the best practices that a performance engineer must consider while implementing performance engineering in an organization.
1. Refactor Rather Than Tune
Companies often correct performance-related issues by tuning the systems to derive the desired result. This tuning technique might garner noticeable improvements, but these results are nothing when compared to the results provided by a well-constructed performance engineering system. A tuning project is incapable of providing the same amount of efficiency as a performance testing project because it is compelled to use the existing architecture. Companies think it’s cost-effective to deploy tuning rather than performance engineering but this is certainly not the case. A simple performance engineering model can measure the difference between this tuning project versus the performance in an architecture specially built for performance engineering. A tuning project might save time for your organization, but it is not an effective strategy in the long run.
2. Run Each Test Multiple Times
Running a test multiple times enables you to ensure that the results that you are comparing are dependable. A test run in the same testing environment at different times should provide you with the same results.
The trustworthiness of tests is an important factor when implementing performance engineering in an organization, as it allows you to easily compare test cases. If a test produces the same result after multiple tries, you can perform better performance and resilience testing by changing certain variables in the test.
3. Move to Single-User Load Tests
Every user should be assigned a different test script to run. All these tests should be started at the same time, this will allow you to assess the minimum response time achievable under a single-user load, which is your best-case scenario. These results can also be used to identify test executions with the highest and lowest response times.
4. Use Visualization to Spot Abnormalities
Knowing how a perfectly optimized application performs allows you to spot the abnormalities easily. The design of an optimized app can be used to compare and differentiate your test results.
By using this technique, you can drastically reduce the time required to spot abnormalities that don’t appear in an optimized app.
Now that we have learned about the best practices, we must now understand why performance testing is essential for an organization by going through its benefits.
Benefits of Performance Engineering
Performance engineering further enhances performance testing services, providing an organization with many crucial benefits.
1. Enhanced Experience & Quality From a User’s Perspective
The performance of an application can dramatically impact the experience of the user. Any performance issue that causes the app to crash or not perform appropriately can deter any existing or future customer. Performance engineering improves user experience by testing the app during the entire SDLC. Performance engineering also makes it easy for you to find the source of error in an increasingly complex system, making the entire process less time-consuming.
2. Reduced Costs Due to Early Detection of Application Defects
The methodologies of performance engineering line up perfectly with agile methodologies, as it takes a shift-left approach to deal with the performance issues much earlier in the SDLC. Performance engineering, unlike performance testing, is driven by the requirements of the business. It aims at providing more cost-effective solutions to organizations by discovering potential performance issues at the initial stages of the SDLC. The cost of fixing an issue increases tenfold after the software is delivered. Early detection of issues can save a company up to ten times the money they would have to spend for making changes post-release.
Performance engineering is a methodology that allows organizations to catch performance issues earlier in the SDLC, allowing them to conduct cost-effective testing.
Performance engineering has many benefits and is an overall positive for any organization that wants to implement it. If you practice performance engineering now, this article will either give you confidence that you are on the right track, or give you some insights that you can utilize to make this process better. Whereas for a newbie to performance engineering, this article will help you to get started and move in the right direction.
But, implementing performance engineering in your organization is no mean feat. Hiring a company that can provide you with offshore and onshore performance engineering services allows you to sit back and relax.
ImpactQA is a leading software testing and QA consulting company that can provide you with pacific time-aligned performance engineering services.
Schedule a call and discuss your project today!
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