Can we automate performance testing?

Performance testing validates the stability of software work considering its speed, responsiveness, and scalability, which makes it invaluable for businesses. At the same time, performance tests are based on scenarios imitating a large load, which makes the manual creation and execution of test cases a strenuous exercise. With proper arrangement, performance test automation can be a real savior.

Limitations and Capabilities of Tools for Automated Testing

The modern market has a wide assortment of tools for automated performance testing, however, the majority of them feature limitations that have to be considered before you decide to deploy any test suite.

The very first restriction is the level of automation itself, which is often bounded by a need for building an extensive testing environment that requires advanced technical skills. At the same time, there are examples of an automated performance testing tool such as Executive Automats that aim to minimize human involvement in the process with a codeless approach and user-friendly UI-based interface.

Another common restraint is an insufficient capacity to create and perform test scenarios. Frequently, a testing tool does not support a satisfactory number of concurrent users or requires extra payments for every additional virtual user. Since load, soak, and spike tests rely on a large number of users working with the software simultaneously, it is essential for a tool to have desired functionality and auspicious licensing conditions.

Realistic Approach to Make Automated Testing Efficient

Needless to say, companies are expecting their tools to provide complex automation for testing the entire software. While this might be possible with other types of testing, successful automation of performance testing is achieved with a different strategy.

Experienced testers report serious challenges during performance tests covering whole programs leading to false results or even environment downtime. The major reason for it is deep interconnections of various components of software affecting each other unpredictably. Accommodating a top-level testing approach for performance test automation makes it wasteful in the majority of cases. 

The most practical way of dealing with performance testing is to introduce level-based automation. Each level of the technology stack, such as web services, APIs or program modules should be tested in isolation to get valuable results.

Best Practices to Automate Performance Testing Successfully

As you can see, performance testing can be automated with a level-based method. Still, there are a couple of other suggestions to make your test automation project work.

Tests Defined by Business Realms

For performance testing, it is especially crucial to consider real-life scenarios. On the one hand, it will help you to ensure your tests are sufficient for understanding the software behavior in all possible situations. On the other hand, it will save you from losing your resources on building and conducting unrealistically exaggerated test cases. Possible actions of real users should be taken into account to design adequate testing packages. Furthermore, pay attention to the diversity of humans’ reactions in the same situation, which can affect the performance of an application even further. While waiting for a program to respond, some people refrain from any clicks, while others are keeping on pushing the same button or trying to reload the window.

Full Scope of Performance Testing

Although load testing is one of the most frequently chosen types of performance testing, you should add other variations of tests to your toolkit for understanding your software performance better. This includes soak, stress, spike, flood, and scalability testing.

Metrics for Measuring Success

Remember that the goal of your testing procedures is the evaluation of your application stability, which can be comprehended if you set standards or desired values for its metrics. Only when you compare actual results with these numbers, you will understand whether your software works properly or not.

Leveraging Potential of Automation

While automating your performance testing, it is sensible to bear in mind the advantages of utilizing your tool for completing tedious tasks that would otherwise be handled manually. Switching your mindset to automated testing is crucial since many companies tend to deploy the same testing strategy they used with manual testing, which seriously limits their opportunities.

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