5 Core Challenges Associated with Performance Testing

With the growth and demand of Mobile applications, there is growing competition in the marketplace and performance has a great impact on the app’s reliability and dependability. Therefore, there is a high requirement for performance and load tests with suitable blueprint and execution. In general, performance testing validates the scalability, stability, and speed of the applications. This is significant for providing an ‘Amazing’ and ‘Ultimate’ experience to the users.

Key Purpose of Performance Testing:

To ensure the stability, speed, and accuracy of the software.

The Performance test is critical to authenticate the scalability, reliability, and responsiveness features of the software under test.

In software testing, the rapidity and response time of the specific application is one of the vital attributes. The performance testing uncovers the performance hiccups and bottlenecks to uphold the attention and interest of the customer. Such type of Testing falls into several categories like Stress Testing, Load Testing, and Spike Testing to mention a few.

The most common performance hiccups and glitches observed in any web/ mobile app are as follows:

• Poor response time

• Memory utilization

• Disk usage

• Poor scalability

• CPU utilization

• Loading Bottleneck

• Extended Loading time

• Software configuration problems for the Web server,

• Operating System limitations

• Load balancers, databases, etc.

• Poor network configuration

5 Key Challenges of Performance Testing:

A software application should be thoroughly tested with accurate testing processes before releasing to the customers. Like any other testing procedures, this type of testing also comes with a number of Challenges.

1- Testing Tools and Situation

Performance testing requires you to test the application under reasonable scenarios. However, lots of times the enterprises do not have the budget or environment for executing the tests. One of the most efficient ways to conduct performance testing is to generate a replica of the production environment. Yet, the challenge lies in getting the proper outcome with limited resource and uneven scenarios. For example, creating a scenario where multiple users log into the system at the same time is hard.

There is countless consideration before moving further on with such type of testing. They comprise:

• Technology

• Protocols

• Browser

• Tool

• Platform

• Budget

• Hardware Requirements

2- Test Coverage

It necessitates vast knowledge and talent to cover all the functionalities when doing performance testing. But, the scenarios must be exhibitive of a range of parameters. One can try automating core functionalities by gathering various scenarios. User data must be predicted properly as there would be lots of users using the system in their own context.

3- Performance Test Analysis

Evaluating and examining the performance test outcomes is the most challenging task in Performance and load of testing. It requires you to have comprehensive knowledge and better decision to examine tools and reports. In addition, you need to by and large upgrade the tests based on the definite situation.

4- Non-Functional Requirements

Both functional and non-functional requirements are vital for such kind of test. Functional needs are more precise and include input data types, algorithms, and functionality to be covered. The challenge lies in discovering less specific non-functional requirements. They include capacity, usability, stability, responsiveness, and interoperability.

5- Analyzing the Performance Test Outcomes

This is indeed one of the significant and trickiest of the challenges for Performance testing. A good amount of judgment and thorough knowledge of the system is necessary to examine the several performance result reports besides the tools used for the actual tests. A skilled tester should be able to judge the scenarios and if the test is done or not. The tester should be able to continuously refine the tests and keep adding tests consistent with the situations estimated during the course of time.

JMeter Distributed Testing: Step by Step

Pre-Requisites for Distributed Testing

For distributed testing using JMeter, we need to make some specific configurations both on the Master as well as the Slave machines.

Basic Requirements that both Master and the Slaves machines should have in common:

  • Same Java version
  • Same JMeter version (It’s better to copy the JMeter from one machine to the rest of all)
  • All machines should be on the same subnet

This doc will give you a brief idea about doing Distributed Remote testing using a Windows machine as the master and Linux machines as slaves.

Slave Configuration

After having a similar copy of JMeter in the slaves, follow the below steps for all the Slave machines:

1) Open jmeter-server file present in the bin directory of jmeter and uncomment the below line –

RMI_HOST_DEF=-Djava.rmi.server.hostname=xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx
Also instead of xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx, give the ip of the linux machine you have opened.

2) Give a specific rmi port no. in the below line of the same jmeter-server file –

${DIRNAME}/jmeter ${RMI_HOST_DEF} -Dserver_port=${SERVER_PORT:-2010} -s -j jmeter-server.log “$@”

This port will be further used in the master configuration, hence give different ports for all the different slave machines.

3) After making the above changes, execute JMeter-server on all the slaves.

Master Configuration 

The following changes need to be done for the master setup:

1) Open jmeter.properties present in the bin directory on the Master machine and mention all the slave ips in as remote hosts with the ports assigned in the above slave configuration –
remote_hosts=localhost: 1099, 104.239.234.143:2010
Localhost need not be mentioned if you do not want to use the Master machine to be a part of remote testing to put the load on the application.

2) Set the server port in the same jmeter.properties file 
-server_port=1099

3) After making the above changes, execute jmeter-server.bat on your Windows master machine which will be present in the bin directory.

4) Now execute jmeter.bat on Master machine for your JMeter GUI where the execution will be done and viewed.

Please note that the number of Virtual Users that will be assigned in the thread group in your JMeter GUI, an equal number of users will be generated from each of the machines you are using. For e.g.: let’s say we have one Windows as the master and two Linux machines as the slaves and the VUsers assigned is 10, then a total of 30 users will be making hits on the application under test.

Execution Methods

After doing the slave and master setup, open the scenario to be executed and execute in any of the 2 below methods:

1) Go to Run->Remote Start All. You can also Go to Run->Remote Start and select any one of the machines you wish to generate load.

2) On the top panel, we have a button for the remote start (After the test has completed, c lick on the button beside in red to remote stop all)

Exceptions and Workarounds

“Connection refused” is a common error that we encounter during remote distributed testing. For this, one should try the below checks:

1) Make sure the remote host entries and the ports assigned both on the master and slave are correct. Also, jmeter-server should be executed first followed by the jmeter-server.bat and jmeter.bat on the Master machine.

2) Verify the firewall settings on Windows and Linux machines. Disable if required. On Linux, that can be achieved by the below command:

Increasing Importance of Quality Engineering in Software Testing

How can a company win? One of the key criteria is to ensure good quality of its products and services. But the traditional testing and QC paradigm is not enough in the context of emerging technologies. It has proven to be inefficient: if some shortcomings are revealed, the product may have to be redesigned, requiring additional expenses and extra time. That is why something new is being executed in business — quality engineering solutions. Quality Engineering (QE) is the series of procedures by which software quality is analyzed and improved throughout the application or software development lifecycle. It differs from traditional Quality Assurance in that it prevents defects as well as discovers them.

The QE approach implies that every single stage of the product/ software development cycle is under a scrupulous test of quality engineers. Furthermore, the quality maintenance is offered long after the product is delivered. The execution o such strategy in manufacturing or software development procedures guarantees the sufficiency of the output from the very start reduces imperfections, flaws, and reduces potential losses. In other words, quality engineering is the analysis, development, management, and maintenance of diverse systems compliant with high standards.

What are the rewards of Quality Engineering?

With Quality Engineering, the core benefit for your application development cycle is that you are actually making all the proposed advantages of DevOps and Agile more real. Also the teamwork between developers and testers is more real, more in line with the agile ethos. It is also integrated with Test Management solutions so that the outcomes appear on the dashboard instantly, without a human trigger. With shortened release cycles, time to ensure Quality also reduces considerably. Testers have to be involved at the start of the cycle as they will be setting up the testing environment and framework which will be relied upon for all future sprints. Done right, Quality Engineering offers a great deal more speed in testing. It mainly relies more on Test Automation than manual testing. It is hard to imagine a Quality Engineering function that doesn’t have Test Automation at its center. Yet again, done right, it creates more flexibility and speed for the whole development cycle. It is not considered just functional and non-functional testing, but every single layer and integration that can and should be tested.

In current Digital era, a Quality Engineer should have experience in programming and be supposed to be able to write software as the situations demands. While the Software Development team focuses on constantly upgrading the application, the Quality Engineering team main responsibilities are:

  • Setting up new parameters and standards
  • Optimization of test cases, & improving automation efficiency
  • Identification of drawbacks
  • Generating a plan for improvement
  • Plan execution using different tools and methods
  • Assessing & implementing new technologies and tools
  • Following up to make sure that issues have been solved
  • Creating tailor automation solutions to address application specific use cases
  • Create frameworks & accelerators that help scale QE across manifold channels, Enterprise wide.

Quality engineering is driven by emerging technologies like AI (artificial intelligence), Big Data analytics and IoT. Automation is the driving force behind turning the traditional testing into an effectual quality support model.

Bottom line

Performance of the application/ software is of paramount importance. Every outage, crash, drawbacks, and even slowing down of the app or processing/ working on a client request has the potential to impact revenue directly. It is the responsibility of QE team to not only identify such issues, but also work on identifying/removing the root cause of such problems. This demands a sound understanding of app architecture, monitoring tools, several enterprise sub systems that are catering to the app etc. Overall, Quality Engineering team provides substantial insights about the root cause or issue and solved it in the fastest possible manner.

Growing Demand from Performance Testing to Engineering

In the modern era, companies have been investing enormously in building next-gen products and platforms using cutting-edge technologies. Yet, there are the plethora of companies leave the assurance for scalability for quite late in the development cycle or do not follow the testing path enough. This in future lead to disruption in services and later can profoundly impact the customer loyalty, brand image, and ROI (or revenue). If the specific website is undergoing slow or poor performance, customers will have no choice but to explore alternating channels. As a better website experience is like a worthy brand, once gone astray, it becomes tricky to retain the customers. Considering the significance of speed-to-market for the success of the project, businesses need the appropriate processes, tools, and skills for an agile delivery. This is where most advantageous performance engineering and testing comes into the picture and assist your enterprise to think out of the box and stay ahead of the curve.

Why Implementing a robust strategy crucial?

Performance engineering, though, is a wide set of processes, and it is also an art based on years of scrutiny and observation that have led to proven practices. Putting into practice a robust strategy has been a cognizant and strategic decision for all types of enterprises operating across varied businesses. Today, validating and ensuring the responsiveness, speed, and stability of an application is absolutely business critical. The range of facets of Performance Testing has been adopted for the same, confirming that the app does not vacillate under unexpected conditions. Though, there has been a shift in conceptual thinking, where the awareness has shifted more from Performance Testing towards Performance Engineering. It critically refers to the techniques that are being applied in the application development lifecycle, which make sure the non-functional necessities. Some of the key necessities are ensuring usage, throughput, and latency of the memory. These features are required to confirm and to judge that the systems are secure, precise, user-friendly, and scalable over even in the long run. As recommended, it is a significantly demanding practice for Agile and DevOps teams to validate the presentation and efficiency of the applications. The careful application of the ideology of performance engineering makes it possible for businesses to support employees, please customers, and boost returns, all at the same time.

The growing recognition is because of the growing complications with new-age apps and the emerging technologies that are creating these manifold layers. Most of the apps these days engage with multiple third-party vendors and parties to drive innovation as well as growth for the customers. For this reason, it is no more a single action driven growth, it just getting increasingly complicated.

Some of the supplementary benefits are given below:

  • Reduced system & hardware expenses
  • Early detection of bugs and application defects
  • Guaranteed customer satisfaction
  • Enhanced revenue & profits with higher conversions
  • Lesser cost of change related to performance tuning
  • Improved experience & quality from a user’s perspective

Within the Agile process, the methodologies for Performance Engineering can be effectively aligned with the ‘shift-left’ approach. It helps to determine the issues way ahead in the product development process. In this fashion, bottlenecks can be identified and reasons can also be uncovered too. Furthermore, the overall system performance can be optimized in this procedure. The well-thought-out Engineering & Test strategy can enable teams to deal with all sorts of the critical challenges that are being posed by inefficiently performing applications. It aids in benchmarking the app performance and eventually assessing against business critical scenarios for efficient test. The digital sphere has countless aspects that keep challenging the app’s flawless functioning and predictable parameters.

ImpactQA’s comprehensive Engineering Solutions is consistent in mounting business revenues and dropping costs. The experts help in benchmarking the app presentation and helps you recognize each and every business-critical scenarios for tests.