Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Dana Gardner, Christopher Keene

Related Topics: Silverlight, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo, @DevOpsSummit

Silverlight: Article

Combining Agile with Load and Performance Testing: What Am I in For?

Load and performance testing successfully in an Agile way can save an organization a lot in costly bug fixes

Agile software development isn't really a "new" trend anymore. I mean, the Agile Manifesto turns 13 years old next month and while that might be early adolescence in human years, it's downright ancient as far as trends in IT are concerned. However, one area that has yet to fully mature is the implementation of non-functional testing practices in a Continuous Testing sort of way that can keep pace with more Agile development teams. Load and performance testing definitely fall into that category. You might be a performance tester on a team that is just starting to do more iterative development or a more experienced Agile tester looking to add load and performance testing to your workflow; either way, you'll likely want to know what you're in for.

Agile development practices can help teams achieve faster time to market, adapt to changing requirements, provide a constant feedback loop, etc. The benefits of load and performance testing include determining how much load an application can handle before it crashes in production, when to add another server, when to reconfigure the network, where code needs to be optimized, etc.  What is less well known is the fact that the combination of the two practices can lead to additional benefits that go beyond just the sum of the benefits of each practice, i.e. 1+1=3.

Some of these benefits include:

Avoiding Late Performance Problem Discovery
When load and performance testing are pushed off until the end of a development cycle, there is often little to no time for developers to make changes. This can cause teams to push back release dates and delay getting features out the door that customers need. Alternatively, if the issues are minor, teams may decide to proceed and launch the application into production while accepting the heightened risks.  If the performance problems are more fundamental, they could even require painful architectural changes that could take weeks or months to implement.

Making Changes Earlier When They Are Cheaper
By including load and performance testing in Continuous Integration testing processes, organizations can catch performance issues early before they get much more costly to fix. Developers can instantly know that the new feature in the latest build has caused the application to no longer meet Service Level Agreements (SLAs). They can fix the problem then and there before it becomes exponentially more expensive. This is especially true on Agile teams when discovering a performance problem weeks later could mean that it actually occurred several builds ago which makes the task of pinpointing the root cause a nightmare.

Guaranteeing Users Get New Features, Not New Performance Issues
In some Agile organizations, changes are happening incredibly fast. It's possible for a new feature or some new functionality to get checked into source control, run through a Continuous Integration build, pass all of the automated tests, and get deployed to the production server in a matter of minutes. But if that code wasn't optimized to handle the number of simultaneous users seen at the worst peak times, it could cause the whole system to crash. Integrating load testing into the process before these changes are deployed to production can ensure that your users get all the goodies they want without the bad user experiences. This can save your company thousand or even millions in lost revenue from users switching to competitors' apps or bashing your brand because of the problems they experienced with your app.

In the same way that combining Agile with load testing can provide unique benefits, it can also present your teams with unique challenges they may not have experienced in the past.

Shorter Development Cycles Require More Tests in Less Time
Load and performance testing are usually pushed off until the end of a development cycle. With Agile, development, cycles are much shorter, and load & performance testing can get pushed off until the last day of a sprint or sometimes it's done every other sprint. This can often result in code being released without being adequately tested or user stories slipping to the next release once they have been tested. Conceptually the solution is to do the testing earlier in the development cycle, but that's easier said than done with many teams lacking the resources and tools to make it happen.

"Working" Code Does Not Always Perform Well
So much focus for developers on Agile teams is put on delivering "working" code, but is code really "working" if it fails when the application is under load? Should user stories and tasks really be marked as "done" if the code associated with them causes the application to crash with 100 users? What about 1,000? 100,000? The pressure to get code out the door is high, but so is the cost of having an application crash in production.

Developers Need Feedback NOW
Agile developers need to know more than just the fact that their code is causing performance issues: they need to know when their code started causing problems and what story they were working on when the issue started. It's a huge pain for developers to be forced to go back and fix code for a story they worked on weeks or months ago. It also means they can't spend time working on getting new features out the door. Detecting performance issues early in the cycle so you can deliver important feedback to developers quickly is crucial to saving costs.

Automating the Handoff from Dev to Ops Can Feel Risky
While DevOps and Continuous Deployment are still fairly young practices, the fear felt by operations teams that new changes in code will slow down or even crash the application when it is deployed in production has been around forever. Automating some of the testing in the Continuous Integration process can help to ease some of this fear, but without adequate performance testing included, the risk is still real. Ops teams know well the huge impact application downtime can have on the business.

As daunting as some of these challenges seem, don't lose sight of the benefits you'll receive. Load and performance testing successfully in an Agile way can save an organization a lot in costly bug fixes and could make a tester a hero to both development and operations teams alike.

Not quite sure how to get started? Stay tuned for my next blog on best practices for Agile load and performance testing.

More Stories By Tim Hinds

Tim Hinds is the Product Marketing Manager for NeoLoad at Neotys. He has a background in Agile software development, Scrum, Kanban, Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and Continuous Testing practices.

Previously, Tim was Product Marketing Manager at AccuRev, a company acquired by Micro Focus, where he worked with software configuration management, issue tracking, Agile project management, continuous integration, workflow automation, and distributed version control systems.

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
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Using new techniques of information modeling, indexing, and processing, new cloud-based systems can support cloud-based workloads previously not possible for high-throughput insurance, banking, and case-based applications. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, John Newton, CTO, Founder and Chairman of Alfresco, described how to scale cloud-based content management repositories to store, manage, and retrieve billions of documents and related information with fast and linear scalability. He addres...
Akana has announced the availability of version 8 of its API Management solution. The Akana Platform provides an end-to-end API Management solution for designing, implementing, securing, managing, monitoring, and publishing APIs. It is available as a SaaS platform, on-premises, and as a hybrid deployment. Version 8 introduces a lot of new functionality, all aimed at offering customers the richest API Management capabilities in a way that is easier than ever for API and app developers to use.
The burgeoning trends around DevOps are translating into new types of IT infrastructure that both developers and operators can take advantage of. The next BriefingsDirect Voice of the Customer thought leadership discussion focuses on the burgeoning trends around DevOps and how that’s translating into new types of IT infrastructure that both developers and operators can take advantage of.
With so much going on in this space you could be forgiven for thinking you were always working with yesterday’s technologies. So much change, so quickly. What do you do if you have to build a solution from the ground up that is expected to live in the field for at least 5-10 years? This is the challenge we faced when we looked to refresh our existing 10-year-old custom hardware stack to measure the fullness of trash cans and compactors.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Isomorphic Software will exhibit at DevOps Summit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Isomorphic Software provides the SmartClient HTML5/AJAX platform, the most advanced technology for building rich, cutting-edge enterprise web applications for desktop and mobile. SmartClient combines the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software with the simp...
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions wi...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
To leverage Continuous Delivery, enterprises must consider impacts that span functional silos, as well as applications that touch older, slower moving components. Managing the many dependencies can cause slowdowns. See how to achieve continuous delivery in the enterprise.
Thomas Bitman of Gartner wrote a blog post last year about why OpenStack projects fail. In that article, he outlined three particular metrics which together cause 60% of OpenStack projects to fall short of expectations: Wrong people (31% of failures): a successful cloud needs commitment both from the operations team as well as from "anchor" tenants. Wrong processes (19% of failures): a successful cloud automates across silos in the software development lifecycle, not just within silos.
There's a lot of things we do to improve the performance of web and mobile applications. We use caching. We use compression. We offload security (SSL and TLS) to a proxy with greater compute capacity. We apply image optimization and minification to content. We do all that because performance is king. Failure to perform can be, for many businesses, equivalent to an outage with increased abandonment rates and angry customers taking to the Internet to express their extreme displeasure.
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
Right off the bat, Newman advises that we should "think of microservices as a specific approach for SOA in the same way that XP or Scrum are specific approaches for Agile Software development". These analogies are very interesting because my expectation was that microservices is a pattern. So I might infer that microservices is a set of process techniques as opposed to an architectural approach. Yet in the book, Newman clearly includes some elements of concept model and architecture as well as p...
SYS-CON Events announced today that eCube Systems, a leading provider of middleware modernization, integration, and management solutions, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. eCube Systems offers a family of middleware evolution products and services that maximize return on technology investment by leveraging existing technical equity to meet evolving business needs. ...
A company’s collection of online systems is like a delicate ecosystem – all components must integrate with and complement each other, and one single malfunction in any of them can bring the entire system to a screeching halt. That’s why, when monitoring and analyzing the health of your online systems, you need a broad arsenal of different tools for your different needs. In addition to a wide-angle lens that provides a snapshot of the overall health of your system, you must also have precise, ...
The following fictional case study is a composite of actual horror stories I’ve heard over the years. Unfortunately, this scenario often occurs when in-house integration teams take on the complexities of DevOps and ALM integration with an enterprise service bus (ESB) or custom integration. It is written from the perspective of an enterprise architect tasked with leading an organization’s effort to adopt Agile to become more competitive. The company has turned to Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) as ...
As the world moves toward more DevOps and Microservices, application deployment to the cloud ought to become a lot simpler. The Microservices architecture, which is the basis of many new age distributed systems such as OpenStack, NetFlix and so on, is at the heart of Cloud Foundry - a complete developer-oriented Platform as a Service (PaaS) that is IaaS agnostic and supports vCloud, OpenStack and AWS. Serverless computing is revolutionizing computing. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Raghav...