Running applications in the cloud allows you to harness the benefits of cloud computing to rapidly access, store, and process information anytime and anywhere — just so long as you’ve got an internet connection.
But to get the most out of your cloud applications you must ensure that their performance, scalability, and reliability measures up to your expectations. This is where cloud performance testing comes into the picture. Cloud performance testing is a kind of software quality assurance testing focused on measuring the stability and responsiveness of cloud applications as they face different workloads. While some people might assume that applications will run better on the cloud simply because it’s the cloud, that’s not the case if apps are not properly optimized.
Cloud performance testing allows enterprises or other organizations to test how well a certain application is functioning or will function, by simulating the kind of real-world stresses they might face. It’s intended to optimize the scalability, flexibility, and overhead of cloud applications — all in the interests of a better end-user experience.
But what are the best cloud performance tests to help solve your problems? Here are the eight that should be on your radar.
#1. Load test
Your application might handle like a dream when you test it out prior to pushing it live. But that’s like looking at a boat in a shipyard and assuming it will float and sail as nicely as it looks. The real test for a cloud application is how it’s going to hold up when it’s being bombarded with requests from, potentially, millions of users concurrently making requests across multiple locations around the world. Load testing lets you measure how the application will perform under both regular and peak demand conditions.
#2. Stress test
Similar to load testing, stress testing tests the upper limits of a system that’s under massive pressure. While load testing focuses on the application performance, stress testing scrutinizes the performance outside the bounds of regular operation. For example, load testing will tell you how your application will fare during a typical — or even busy — day. But how about an incident like a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, that bombards your application with fake traffic in an attempt to knock it offline? No one wants to be the victim of such attacks. However, knowing what happens when your application is pushed to its maximum limitations is crucial for identifying (and, hopefully, resolving) bottlenecks.
#3. Browser test
Traditional load testing isn’t carried out in the browser. But in a world of web apps, it’s essential that applications are put through their paces to make sure that they work as promised when accessed through whichever web browser users elect to access them through. After all, just because everyone in your company might use Google Chrome doesn’t mean that all of your customers will.
#4. Latency test
Latency, the amount of time that passes between a user making a particular action and the response to that action taking place, is a bit more complex in the world of cloud computing. But it’s an essential metric to test, especially as we move into a world in which cloud applications are the norm. Latency testing validates the functionality of applications by measuring how long it takes for a data packet to be moved between points within a network.
#5. Targeted infrastructure test
In a targeted infrastructure test, every layer or component of an application is isolated and tested to see whether it performs as expected. The purpose of this test is to uncover — and single out — any problems that could affect the overall performance of a system.
#6. Failover test
Failover testing is a technique which validates an application or system’s ability to allocate extra resources, as well as switch operations to backup systems, if a server or system failure takes place. If successful, these steps mean that a cloud application will continue running seamlessly even if something goes wrong with the primary system as it usually runs.
#7. Capacity test
Incapacity testing, a cloud application is put through the wringer to see how many users and transactions it’s able to handle before this has a negative impact on performance. While performance inevitably suffers at some point, the purpose is to see if the application can manage the quantity of traffic it’s been designed to deal with. This information can be used to decide whether or not an environment needs to be bolstered in order to handle the demand.
#8. Soak test
Finally, the soak test measures how an application performs when it’s put under a high load for a long period of time. This is important because, in some cases, a cloud application might be able to deal with abnormal levels of traffic for a couple of hours. However, if this is extended to a full day it could cause it to fail or otherwise experience errors. Soak tests are the difference between splashing a water-resistant phone to see if it fails and leaving it submerged overnight.
A smooth cloud experience
All of these tests can help ensure an optimal user experience for cloud applications. By running tests like this, it’s possible to identify performance bottlenecks, software bugs, and other issues that can be mitigated. It can also help identify what may need to be changed about your cloud computing environment to ensure the better running of cloud applications.
In some cases, the database and data access may be the cause of performance issues. By ensuring that you select the right partners for providing cloud migration and other cloud support, you can ensure your transition to the cloud is an optimal one. That’s something that both organizations and their customers will appreciate.
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