Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Sujoy Sen, Automic Blog, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, AppDynamics Blog

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Microsoft Cloud, IoT User Interface, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo

Microservices Expo: Article

Load Testing: Same Old, Same Old or a Whole New Ball Game?

How can we be prepared for the future of load and performance testing?

Bonjour Foxes!

I started my career as a Telecom Engineer for Rational Software in the load testing space back in the late '90s, and when I look back on the last decade, there were enormous advances in the broader IT world including development methodologies, processing speeds, network speeds, mobile devices (it's hard to believe the first iPhone was only released 6 years ago). But the question is: Has the world of load and performance testing really changed all that much? Are the missions the same? Are the challenges different? And how can we be prepared for the future of load and performance testing?

Let's start with what hasn't changed:

Websites crash.
Crashes are a reality today just as much as they were 10 years ago. While many companies have become aware of big events (e.g., Cyber Monday, big ad campaigns) that cause traffic spikes, exact traffic levels are still difficult to predict. One big difference between now and then is the sheer number of websites on the Internet. According to Netcraft, the number of active sites on the Internet has increased by almost 1000% over the past ten years. More websites = more crashes.

Developers still think their code is bug-free.
Being a load tester can sometimes come with the occasional power trip that results from crashing an application written by developers who think their code is perfect. While I'm sure their code is very good, load testing can still quickly uncover any flaws in the code or architecture that can cause performance issues.

Load testing is still pushed off until late in the development cycle.
This is a reality most testers just have to deal with. Testing in general, but particularly load and performance testing, are held off until the end of the development cycle, which can be particularly frustrating for testers who can be blamed for holding up a release.

HTTP is still a connectionless protocol.
Furthermore, it's being used to drive a world that is becoming increasingly connected. In fact, the vast majority of advances in web technologies (cookies, sessions, AJAX, WebSockets, SPDY, etc.) have been created in order to overcome the HTTP connectionless limitations. For load testers, this means it still causes complications.

What Has Changed?
Load testing is becoming a mandatory step in the development process.

I've been talking to more and more companies these days that are requiring that all applications go through load and performance testing before they're deployed to production. This is especially true for new online services that know that they only have one chance to show their best or likely lose that customer forever.

The performance of applications is becoming more important than the breadth of functionality.
For some companies like insurance and banks, the importance of application performance is much higher than the pure number of functions their apps can perform. This means that load and performance testers are playing more prominent roles within these development organizations.

The number of technologies built over HTTP is growing each month.
More and more technologies are being developed to make the web faster, more secure and more reactive, and more and more development organizations are adopting them at faster rates. This means load testers are required to test apps containing complex technologies they've never seen before, and it's no easy task to test apps utilizing AJAX, SPDY, WebSockets, video streaming, etc.

App developers have to consider the performance of their apps on mobile devices and networks.
Morgan Stanley
has predicted that mobile Internet users will surpass desktop Internet users by the end of the year. With this in mind, performance testers need to be able to re-create the use cases and network conditions actual users will experience with several different network types and several different devices.

What can you do to handle the realities of today and be prepared for load testing world of tomorrow?

1. Don't avoid load and performance testing.
If you're one of those people who think your apps will be fine and users will do the testing in production, I hope for your sake that your developers actually do write bug-free code. Remember, your end-users will not be as forgiving or as patient as virtual users are when your application is under high load if you recall the old Amazon.com statistic about losing 1% of sales for every 100 ms delay in response times.

2. Make your tests as realistic as possible.
Load testing is much easier these days with the tools available, but don't think it's a "point & click" operation. I see too many companies running "load tests" that do not simulate the number of users observed in production nor the conditions under which the apps will be used.

3. Make sure your load testing tool can match the rhythm of the technical "dance".
Developers and architects are going to want to take advantage of the latest technologies, even some that are still in beta. As a tester, you and your tool shouldn't be the bottleneck for the product launch. Make sure your tool supports your needs as well as the needs of your development organization.

With all of the advances in web and mobile application technologies and the instant response times end-users expect these days, the performance of applications is only going to grow in importance. My advice to load testers is to stay on top of these trends because they move quickly. It's certainly an exciting time to be a load tester.

More Stories By Hervé Servy

Hervé Servy is a Senior Performance Engineer at Neotys. He has spent 10 years working for IBM-Rational and Microsoft pre-sales and marketing in France and the Middle East. During the past 3 years, as a personal project, Hervé founded a nonprofit organization in the health 2.0 area. If that isn’t techie enough, Hervé was also born on the very same day Apple Computer was founded.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
Small teams are more effective. The general agreement is that anything from 5 to 12 is the 'right' small. But of course small teams will also have 'small' throughput - relatively speaking. So if your demand is X and the throughput of a small team is X/10, you probably need 10 teams to meet that demand. But more teams also mean more effort to coordinate and align their efforts in the same direction. So, the challenge is how to harness the power of small teams and yet orchestrate multiples of them...
In the world of DevOps there are ‘known good practices’ – aka ‘patterns’ – and ‘known bad practices’ – aka ‘anti-patterns.' Many of these patterns and anti-patterns have been developed from real world experience, especially by the early adopters of DevOps theory; but many are more feasible in theory than in practice, especially for more recent entrants to the DevOps scene. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Chair Andi Mann, panelists will dis...
From the conception of Docker containers to the unfolding microservices revolution we see today, here is a brief history of what I like to call 'containerology'. In 2013, we were solidly in the monolithic application era. I had noticed that a growing amount of effort was going into deploying and configuring applications. As applications had grown in complexity and interdependency over the years, the effort to install and configure them was becoming significant. But the road did not end with a ...
Much of the value of DevOps comes from a (renewed) focus on measurement, sharing, and continuous feedback loops. In increasingly complex DevOps workflows and environments, and especially in larger, regulated, or more crystallized organizations, these core concepts become even more critical. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, will show how, by focusing on 'metrics that matter,' you can provide objective, transparent, and meaningfu...
In a crowded world of popular computer languages, platforms and ecosystems, Node.js is one of the hottest. According to w3techs.com, Node.js usage has gone up 241 percent in the last year alone. Retailers have taken notice and are implementing it on many levels. I am going to share the basics of Node.js, and discuss why retailers are using it to reduce page load times and improve server efficiency. I’ll talk about similar developments such as Docker and microservices, and look at several compani...
Many private cloud projects were built to deliver self-service access to development and test resources. While those clouds delivered faster access to resources, they lacked visibility, control and security needed for production deployments. In their session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steve Anderson, Product Manager at BMC Software, and Rick Lefort, Principal Technical Marketing Consultant at BMC Software, will discuss how a cloud designed for production operations not only helps accelerate developer...
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
With DevOps becoming more well-known and established practice in nearly every industry that delivers software, it is important to continually reassess its efficacy. This week’s top 10 includes a discussion on how the quick uptake of DevOps adoption in the enterprise has posed some serious challenges. Additionally, organizations who have taken the DevOps plunge must find ways to find, hire and keep their DevOps talent in order to keep the machine running smoothly.
Wow, if you ever wanted to learn about Rugged DevOps (some call it DevSecOps), sit down for a spell with Shannon Lietz, Ian Allison and Scott Kennedy from Intuit. We discussed a number of important topics including internal war games, culture hacking, gamification of Rugged DevOps and starting as a small team. There are 100 gold nuggets in this conversation for novices and experts alike.
The notion of customer journeys, of course, are central to the digital marketer’s playbook. Clearly, enterprises should focus their digital efforts on such journeys, as they represent customer interactions over time. But making customer journeys the centerpiece of the enterprise architecture, however, leaves more questions than answers. The challenge arises when EAs consider the context of the customer journey in the overall architecture as well as the architectural elements that make up each...
Much of the discussion around cloud DevOps focuses on the speed with which companies need to get new code into production. This focus is important – because in an increasingly digital marketplace, new code enables new value propositions. New code is also often essential for maintaining competitive parity with market innovators. But new code doesn’t just have to deliver the functionality the business requires. It also has to behave well because the behavior of code in the cloud affects performan...
In 2006, Martin Fowler posted his now famous essay on Continuous Integration. Looking back, what seemed revolutionary, radical or just plain crazy is now common, pedestrian and "just what you do." I love it. Back then, building and releasing software was a real pain. Integration was something you did at the end, after code complete, and we didn't know how long it would take. Some people may recall how we, as an industry, spent a massive amount of time integrating code from one team with another...
As the software delivery industry continues to evolve and mature, the challenge of managing the growing list of the tools and processes becomes more daunting every day. Today, Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) platforms are proving most valuable by providing the governance, management and coordination for every stage of development, deployment and release. Recently, I spoke with Madison Moore at SD Times about the changing market and where ALM is headed.
Struggling to keep up with increasing application demand? Learn how Platform as a Service (PaaS) can streamline application development processes and make resource management easy.
If there is anything we have learned by now, is that every business paves their own unique path for releasing software- every pipeline, implementation and practices are a bit different, and DevOps comes in all shapes and sizes. Software delivery practices are often comprised of set of several complementing (or even competing) methodologies – such as leveraging Agile, DevOps and even a mix of ITIL, to create the combination that’s most suitable for your organization and that maximize your busines...
The goal of any tech business worth its salt is to provide the best product or service to its clients in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. This is just as true in the development of software products as it is in other product design services. Microservices, an app architecture style that leans mostly on independent, self-contained programs, are quickly becoming the new norm, so to speak. With this change comes a declining reliance on older SOAs like COBRA, a push toward more s...
Digital means customer preferences and behavior are driving enterprise technology decisions to be sure, but let’s not forget our employees. After all, when we say customer, we mean customer writ large, including partners, supply chain participants, and yes, those salaried denizens whose daily labor forms the cornerstone of the enterprise. While your customers bask in the warm rays of your digital efforts, are your employees toiling away in the dark recesses of your enterprise, pecking data into...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
Between the mockups and specs produced by analysts, and resulting applications built by developers, there exists a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral, and applications disappoint. Methodologies like Agile attempt to address this with intensified communication, with partial success but many limitations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Charles Kendrick, CTO & Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, will present a revolutionary model enabled by new technologies. Learn how business and devel...