Critical Discipline Of Load Testing Web Applications

Critical Discipline Of Load Testing Web Applications

Critical Discipline Of Load Testing Web Applications

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Home Page > Computers > Software > Critical Discipline Of Load Testing Web Applications

Critical Discipline Of Load Testing Web Applications

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Posted: Feb 04, 2010 |Comments: 0


Given the collective impact and growing number of examples that demonstrate the rising costs associated with failures, performance problems persist and worsen according to Newport Group research. In a 1999 study on performance and scalability, businesses reported that their web applications could handle only 72% of the concurrent traffic volume originally planned.In late 2000/early 2001, businesses reported that their web applications could handle only 66% of the concurrent traffic volumes originally planned.Trends indicate that the majority of today’s web applications are not meeting expectations for performance, despite the fact that the revenue derived from these web-based systems continues to increase. The ongoing use of load testing practices throughout the application lifecycle serves to protect the performance and integrity of revenuegenerating applications and infrastructures and has become widely recognized as a critical IT function that is strategic to a solid performance achievement and maintenance strategy.

Building a Business Case

Web-based technologies are enabling the future of global commerce. As they work to enable new business opportunities with lower transaction costs and higher profitability potential, web-based technologies are being absorbed into the fabric of the world’s largest and most successful businesses.

Recent Newport Group research reveals that on average today’s Global 2000 business attributes 22 percent of bottom line revenue to their web-enabled business channel and that number is expected to grow to 27 percent by the end of 2002.

Business requirements for web application load testing as a means for ongoing performance measurement and tuning have become more rigorous over the past several years. Measurements derived with tools should provide a clear understanding of where performance bottlenecks reside and aid in infrastructure and capacity planning of computing resources. Accurate and realistic load tests are the best indicator of how well any business system is able to service its customers in real-world scenarios. However, a key point for businesses to recognize is that load testing web applications doesn’t guarantee success. Businesses that approach load testing haphazardly, without a plan and/or in reaction to a major business catastrophe, leveraging the practice as a one time event, rather than an ongoing process of performance measurement and improvement, will not achieve the success possible with this discipline. A solid load testing strategy must complement performance monitoring and analysis in a production environment and, in turn, production monitoring and analysis should be leveraged to improve the accuracy of load tests.


The most widely adopted approaches to load testing include the purchase of testing tools for in-house use and the newer, vendor-hosted load testing service approach.Both approaches will demonstrate a business ROI, however, given the substantial up-front costs involved with the purchase of tools for inhouse

use, the outsourced services-based approach will provide a shorter-term ROI. Since their introduction in early 2000, load testing services have become increasingly attractive for enterprises that are faced with maximizing their existing IT resources, reducing costs and achieving ROI in the short-term. In choosing either a tool and/or an outsourced service, beware that not all are alike. It is beneficial to select tools and/or services that are intuitive enough to test the dynamic and variable nature of web-based environments.

Packaged Testing Software: Typically, testing tools sold as software packages require purchasers of the software to supply the hardware and staff necessary to run the load test software and drive tests. This approach involves up-front costs for procurement of the testing software and necessary hardware to conduct the tests, and IT resource costs to implement, develop, execute and manage the load testing process. Additional costs include annual software license fees for tool upgrades and vendor support, potential consulting and training costs and, often, the time and cost necessary to set-up a testing lab to mirror the production environment. This approach is costly, takes the longest time for a business to achieve its return on investment in comparison to other approaches, but provides complete inhouse control and flexibility.

Vendor Hosted Services: Early in 2000, vendor hosted load testing services emerged to provide an alternative for conducting load tests for web application environments.These services leverage the Internet to conduct load tests over the wire. The pricing for load testing services is inclusive of the utilization of the provider’s hardware resources for test execution. In this respect, customers pay to have load tests designed and executed against their web application infrastructure and the service vendor leverages its own technology and network of distributed hardware resources to execute tests and deliver results. This approach provides a quick return on investment and is attractive for conducting tests with high volumes of concurrent users. Traditionally, services have been thought of as less flexible than inhouse tools, however, there are a variety of different services vendors whose unique solutions can provide an equivalent level of control and flexibility. Perhaps the greatest value in leveraging services lies in the expertise of the provider as well as the capabilities of providers to execute and drive tests from outside the firewall. Testing web applications streamlines designing, executing and interpreting results for widely distributed web applications is complex

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