Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Mehdi Daoudi, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Microsoft Cloud, Machine Learning , 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.


Microservices Articles
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
Containers and Kubernetes allow for code portability across on-premise VMs, bare metal, or multiple cloud provider environments. Yet, despite this portability promise, developers may include configuration and application definitions that constrain or even eliminate application portability. In this session we'll describe best practices for "configuration as code" in a Kubernetes environment. We will demonstrate how a properly constructed containerized app can be deployed to both Amazon and Azure ...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In their Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, and Mark Lav...
The now mainstream platform changes stemming from the first Internet boom brought many changes but didn’t really change the basic relationship between servers and the applications running on them. In fact, that was sort of the point. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Gordon Haff, senior cloud strategy marketing and evangelism manager at Red Hat, will discuss how today’s workloads require a new model and a new platform for development and execution. The platform must handle a wide range of rec...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound e...
If your cloud deployment is on AWS with predictable workloads, Reserved Instances (RIs) can provide your business substantial savings compared to pay-as-you-go, on-demand services alone. Continuous monitoring of cloud usage and active management of Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Relational Database Service (RDS) and ElastiCache through RIs will optimize performance. Learn how you can purchase and apply the right Reserved Instances for optimum utilization and increased ROI.
TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) is a common and reliable transmission protocol on the Internet. TCP was introduced in the 70s by Stanford University for US Defense to establish connectivity between distributed systems to maintain a backup of defense information. At the time, TCP was introduced to communicate amongst a selected set of devices for a smaller dataset over shorter distances. As the Internet evolved, however, the number of applications and users, and the types of data accessed and...
Consumer-driven contracts are an essential part of a mature microservice testing portfolio enabling independent service deployments. In this presentation we'll provide an overview of the tools, patterns and pain points we've seen when implementing contract testing in large development organizations.
In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Claude Remillard, Principal Program Manager in Developer Division at Microsoft, contrasted how his team used config as code and immutable patterns for continuous delivery of microservices and apps to the cloud. He showed how the immutable patterns helps developers do away with most of the complexity of config as code-enabling scenarios such as rollback, zero downtime upgrades with far greater simplicity. He also demoed building immutable pipelines in the cloud ...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...