If the benefits of the various kinds of functional testing laid out above didn’t persuade you of its utter importance, we’re not sure what might. And yet, so often, code is tossed over into the QA and testing departments without much thought into its importance.
To put it bluntly, if you don’t do performance testing, your app, software or API — and by extension your business — is likely to crash and burn.
That’s why it’s called performance testing: it keeps track of how your product is performing and behaving. Of course, if you only have a handful of customers, you can probably let load testing go, but that’s not very ambitious then, is it? And then what if one of those precious few customers you can’t afford to lose suddenly accelerates its usage? Then, you won’t only crash that one customer but the whole lot of them.
Basically, your business is too important not to load test. No matter what you predict for your traffic and usage rates, this is a definite hope for the best, prepare for the worst situation.
You could even say that load testing and performance testing act as an extension of your customer service and your overall design. This kind of testing should be done from the start of your product — to determine viability, interest, and to build reliable performance into the design and structure of the system — until the day you’re ready to retire it. Especially important is automation testing for that time in between, so your code can adapt and flow and your resources can contract and expand to meet client and server demand.
As one developer wrote, “No matter how good application features might be, users will lose interest if it is performing poorly with crashes or delayed load time. The application should be able to withstand peak load, perform under lower network bandwidth and should not affect battery performance.”
5 Economic Benefits of Load Testing
At the end of the day, load testing is an important business move. Cigniti, a QA services firm, lists five economic advantages to automated load testing in the cloud:
1. Automated Load Testing is Cost Effective. Now that it’s in the cloud and run with tools like ReadyAPI, you save time and money by creating tests that are repeatable and that don’t involve expensive hardware requirements.
2. Automated Load Testing is More Efficient. Now that testing automation is in the cloud, it has more flexible resource allocation. As you are connecting different tools via different APIs, getting a singular view of these different pieces means even more cost cutting.
3. Automated Load Testing is More Collaborative. You get all the benefits of an in-person office, with a singular view of all your testing automation, but without the need to be in the same place. Cloudbased testing automation also means that you can choose when you are running it — Continuous testing? Or perhaps only at night when you can wake up to reports? Or perhaps for load testing it’s best during your peak usage.
4. Automated Load Testing is Fast. High productivity in shorter test cycles, quick setup and deployment. While you will want to continue to write your own tests, testing automation gets you up and running almost instantly.
5. Automated Load Testing is for Anyone. On smaller teams or on more agile teams, you can’t afford a dedicated QA or tester, so each person tests his or her own work. This type of continuous and collaborative testing means not only that anyone can potentially test what he or she needs to, but the result is a more transparent business that allows everyone to participate in this critical business matter.
Warning: Failure To Load Test May Be Your Downfall
There are countless reasons why load testing web apps and the APIs is so essential to your business. But perhaps the recent examples of failure to adequately load test are the most persuasive.
How about when the New York Stock Exchange went down for over three hours? With Wall Street only relatively recently automated and without significant backup and recovery systems, the market saw a huge drop not just in trade activity but in value and consumer confidence because they hadn’t adequately prepared for a surge in stock movement.
Or take for example, one of the world’s largest airlines, United, had to ground flights around the globe for about an hour, delaying thousands of passengers on an airline already notorious for having the worst on-time average.
One United pilot said “It’s like someone pulled the plug on our computers - it’s embarrassing. I apologize.” Then all the boarding pass information of those grounded passengers had to be re-input by hand. All because United hadn’t load tested for their busiest month of the year.
Even Amazon — yes the company that probably is backing your servers — had an epic #PrimeDayFail, when, on its “Black Friday in July,” many customers experienced site outages.
Now, as the original dogfooders, some say this was done on purpose, perhaps putting the employees of this now known questionable culture on edge, but wouldn’t it be better to just have automated and simulated that load testing ahead?
And this wasn’t the first time Amazon lost out because they weren’t ready for a rush. In the 2013 holiday season, the world’s biggest retailer went down for 40 minutes setting it back $5 million.
How do you calculate the cost of downtime?
Minutes of downtime X average revenue per minute
Yes, the bigger they are, the harder they fall — or really, experience a small stumble in the spotlight. But as users become increasingly demanding and sensitive to performance, there’s no doubt that if you’re not a Fortune 100 company or an entire marketplace, you are even more susceptible to failures and losing companies.
Each year, downtime equals billions of dollars in losses.
You want to do whatever you can to avoid this:
Nobody is patient enough these days. They will immediately Google for alternatives, probably your competitor.
But this is all enough on the importance of load testing — because you get it’s essentialness, right? Now it’s time to get into how to make sure you aren’t only load testing but loading test well and covering all your requirements.
Load Testing Requires the Right Tools
As you get started with your load testing, SmartBear has the tools you need to ensure that your APIs perform flawlessly under various traffic conditions. ReadyAPI is the industry’s leading API load testing tool that is great for beginners, because it’s scriptless and allows for easy reuse of your functional API tests from ReadyAPI.
ReadyAPI allows you to quickly get started and:
- Save time & resources by building load tests from pre-configured templates in just a few clicks
- Create real-life traffic patterns from servers ‘on premise’ or in the cloud
- Understand server performance by visualizing the effects of load on your servers with real-time monitoring
- Quickly analyze results by collecting advanced performance metrics for your load test runs and benchmarking them against past tests
- Reuse your existing functional test cases from ReadyAPI for increased efficiency