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Cloud Based Load Testing – The Best Practices

By Author: Michael Wade
Total Articles: 65

Cloud based load testing enables testing teams to conduct more efficient and realistic large-scale tests. It also enables organizations to significantly save costs and time. While all the cloud load testing solutions enable the use of the cloud technology in some way, very few enable to follow the best practices of cloud usage and leverage on the cloud based load testing services.
The following points need to be accounted for while considering a solution for a cloud load testing solution:
- Integration with the Cloud Platform: Load Testing tools that offer integration with the cloud, simplify and accelerate the steps needed to use the cloud infrastructure. Most solutions offer different levels of integration with multiple cloud platforms.
- Realistic tests: Simply moving to the cloud does not ensure the most realistic tests. Real users generally have access to a lesser bandwidth than a load generator in the cloud data center. While choosing a cloud load testing tool, the bandwidth simulation feature needs to be considered. This ensures that the virtual users are able to download the content of the web application at a realistic rate. This feature proves very important while testing mobile applications, as they operate at a lesser bandwidth than laptops and desktops.
Also, it is important to look for those tools, which helps to consider requests. Without addressing requests it is not possible to produce truly realistic performance tests for web applications.
- Unified Lab Testing and Cloud Testing: It is a disadvantage to use only lab testing or cloud testing. A single solution that supports both lab testing and cloud testing enables engineers to reuse scripts for both kinds of tests. This saves time and effort. Also, this makes it possible to find and fix performance problems earlier in the lifecycle by verifying it internally before the system is made available via the Internet. Reusing scripts also help in uncovering performance problems that show up in cloud testing, but not during internal testing.
- Ease of use: Testing is always performed under time constraints. Such an environment is not a good place for tools, which are difficult to use and configure. Some of the key features to look out for in testing tools are:
1. Ability to define advanced behaviors via a graphical interface in addition to the use of scripting language as well
2. Automating handling of dynamic parameters
3. Sharing common script parts
4. Comparing results
- Analysis, Monitoring, Scheduling and Reporting: Cloud based load testing tools should be able to help analyze results, identify the problem source and produce actionable results. While testing in the production environment, real-time analysis helps to abort a test if it threatens the performance experienced by real users. A comprehensive monitoring system is required to identify the root cause of a problem. Regularly scheduled load tests with automatic report generation helps organizations to detect performance regression as soon as it occurs. Reporting is the key capability for communicating results. Hence it is a good idea to use a tool, which supports multiple formats such as PDF, Word, HTML, etc.
- Support for Web Technologies: Load testing tools need to support the technologies on which the application is built. Otherwise, it will not be possible to set up virtual user profiles in order to test the application effectively.
The cloud service has opened up new opportunities to improve the scale and effectiveness of load testing in the most economic way. However, it brings about a lot of challenges while testing. While selecting a cloud based load testing solution, the primary factor is the testing tool and how it leverages the various aspects of cloud technology.

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