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What is Load Testing? 4 Reasons You Need this Crucial Process

importance of load testing

Circus and street performer fans are no strangers to jugglers. They always start with a small number of ordinary objects before slowly advancing to tossing 10 flaming chainsaws over their head.

While tossing flaming chainsaws is impressive (and dangerous), they weren’t able to perform their routine at the same speed or ability as they were with a smaller number of chainsaws. There was also a higher chance they’d drop one or some other catastrophe might occur.

The juggler could stop their routine whenever they wanted, but your system or software doesn’t have that luxury. That’s where load testing comes in.

You need to be up and running at all times so you can’t face a crucial failure. Today, we’re going to talk about the importance of load testing and why it’s vital for your business.

Load Testing vs. Stress Testing

load and stress testing

Many times, load testing and stress testing are mixed.

What’s the difference between the two?

Simply put, load testing is measuring a system’s performance under a specific and expected load. A load test might be simulating a large number of users accessing a system to test its performance.

Stress testing, on the other hand, is a test to find the breaking point of a system. The goal of a stress test is to see how far a system can go before it breaks.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, what makes load testing so important?

Load Testing Gives you Measurable Data

In the IT world, data is often king. Both historical and recent data can help you make decisions about a system or software. It can be hard to make long-term decisions when you don’t have adequate data. 

What data can be collected through load testing? For starters, you can find:

  • Response times
  • Resource-utilization levels
  • Throughput rates
  • Memory leakage
  • Breaking point (assuming this happens below the peak load)

Those items listed above are all crucial KPIs, or key performance indicators. You can find out where you might be lacking, where you’re right on track, or where you need to improve.

In addition to those issues listed above, you can also check out any system lag, loading times, or other potential errors that may pop up with a large influx of users. This is something that typically can’t be carried out when fixing bugs.

Bug testing is single-user based and resolves issues like “application randomly quit” or “user was redirected to a blank page when clicking X button”.

Testing for bugs and other code issues is incredibly important but doesn’t allow you to get a bigger picture as load testing does. One can find problems that arise when hundreds or thousands of people are performing actions around the same time.

It Saves You Money

A 2014 study by Gartner showed that network downtime can cost up to $5,600 per minute or a whopping $300,000 per hour. Even if your business is booming, losing out on over $5,000 per minute is tough. Amazon once lost around $5 million after their website went down in 2013.

Talk about racing against the clock.

Load testing, on the other hand, isn’t going to demand you spill open your wallet nor will it cause such a huge headache. You’re going to be glad you invested in load testing.

Even if you only experience big spikes of activity around certain days, like Cyber Monday or Black Friday, you still need to be prepared. Those can be huge money opportunities for your website and you’ll be watching the money go down the drain if your site goes down.

It’s going to be much easier to patch any holes or issues before release than after a release. Plus, you could have plenty of angry users calling you about an issue or even worse, abandoning altogether. Users aren’t very forgiving and a bad experience is likely to stick in their heads.

It’s a Great Way to Measure Progress

With all the data you’ll be collecting, performing load testing makes it much easier to measure progress, report to the client, or judge how much work you have left to do.

You might be getting plagued by the following questions to the point where your replies are bordering on automatic responses.

  • Will we be ready by the deadline?
  • Is everything going to be working right?
  • Do we have time to make a last-minute change?
  • Just how far along are we?

Sometimes, it can be difficult to know where you are exactly during a project. Even though you set a timeline in advance, finding out exactly where you are on that timeline isn’t always easy. It can also be a great way to simulate user activity and progress. While you’re going to carry out in-house testing on your own, there’s nothing quite like releasing your software to the public or going live with your website.

Load testing can give you a great idea of where you are and how much further you need to go. It allows you to set (attainable) benchmarks and then measure your progress over a certain period of time.

You can set multiple tests at certain points along your timeline to see how your system is handling any changes or additions that you may make.

Load Testing is Efficient

efficiency

Many people may think that carrying out load testing is going to be overly time-consuming and set them back from their goals and smaller objectives. While it’s true that load testing shouldn’t be something you pass over quickly, load testing doesn’t have to take up the majority of your work efforts.

That’s because load testing can be automated and collaborative. Load testing services can give cloud-based results, meaning that it’s easier to see what is happening and why.

You can schedule these tests throughout different parts of the day such as during your peak hours or during the evening so you can wake up to a new report.

Quite simply, load testing is an efficient way to obtain an overall picture of your system, software, or website and its performance over time.

Conclusion

While load testing may seem like an arduous, tedious process, it can save you money and help your system become more efficient. It’s better to find and fix the errors before you go live or risk the ire of potential customers.

Not only will you feel more prepared to release, but you can take pride in knowing that you’re providing the consumer with a great product that won’t fail and continue bringing all customers back.

Here at Atiba, we specialize in many IT solutions, including load testing. Our experts have plenty of experience in working with businesses of all sizes to find something that fits your needs and helps you accomplish your business goals. Reach out to us today for a free quote!

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