Wednesday 18 September 2019
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Testing the Reliability and Performance of an Application

Testing the Reliability and Performance of an Application

Study after study has shown that User Experience has a direct impact on the revenue generated by customer-facing applications. One of the key factors of the user experience is Performance. Ensuring the application can handle the load while remaining reliable and fast is critical.

In this article we will share the best practices about when you will need to validate an application during a spike with a high traffic volume of users connecting.  We will cover:

  • The importance of performance design
  • Load testing recommendations involving CDN
  • The importance of implementing a Continuous Performance Validation approach in your project.

Performance testing continues to be the poor, neglected cousin of functional and operational acceptance testing (OAT), which are well understood and have a high maturity level in most business organizations. It is strange that companies continue to overlook the importance of performance testing, frequently deploying applications with little or no understanding of their performance, only to be beset with performance and scalability problems soon after the release.

Like any other complex structure, software must be built on a solid foundation. Failing to consider key scenarios, failing to design for common problems, or failing to appreciate the long term consequences of key decisions can put your application at risk. Modern tools and platforms help to simplify the task of building applications, but they do not replace the need to design your application carefully, based on your specific scenarios and requirements. The risks exposed by poor architecture include software that is unstable, is unable to support existing or future business requirements, or is difficult to deploy or manage in a production environment.

Systems should be designed with consideration for the user, the system (the IT infrastructure), and the business goals. For each of these areas, you should outline key scenarios and identify important quality attributes (for example, reliability or scalability) and key areas of satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Where possible, develop and consider metrics that measure success in each of these areas.

Load Testing Should not be an After Thought

85% of mobile users expect pages to load as fast or faster than they load on the desktop.

To reduce the loading time and increase the quality of user experience on websites, there are different points that could be optimized:

  • Running load tests to fine-tune the application is a proper way to ensure stability. Coming as close as possible to guaranteeing the stability  and availability of the application at load is the best possible scenario.
  • Implement a good cache policy (directly at the datacenter level)
  • Optimize all resources of the website by selecting Progressive JPEG
  • Optimize the CSS of your different webpages
  • Try to load third party JS in parallel
  • Use a CDN that will allow users to get the resources on the website from the nearest CDN node
  • Accelerate the content that is hard to cache

Continuous Performance Validation

Even if you have not opted for a continuous development strategy, continuous performance validation should be one that you should employ especially since most of the world is running on digital.  This type of QA is best coupled with a DevOps/ Continuous development strategy and the best way to produce fast applications, deliver new features and enhancements in less time and simplify interactions across Dev, QA and Ops and stakeholders.

But while ensuring that the application you’re developing actually works is a great start, an important aspect usually not covered is the performance of the tested functionality as well as adhering to architectural rules. This requires knowing how the application is behaving internally to allow for an estimate if the code fulfills performance, scalability and architectural requirements.

This best practices strategy results from testing, monitoring and improving performance at every stage of the application lifecycle, from development to production, enlisting automated and collaborative tools.

Don’t wait till business processes are disrupted before managing performance

A continuous performance strategy will help you plan for growth, know where your users are, create metrics and set goals,  find bottle necks, examine asymmetric and symmetric options, and naturally integrate application performance management into your strategy.

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