7 Trends in Modern Load Testing

Comprehensive load testing is now a critical part of QA activity in the modern enterprise. The discipline has grown considerably as more computing resources reside within Cloud infrastructures. In fact, Cloud Computing forces application developers to support a degree of scale and speed that was unthinkable when the standalone PC was the norm. As expectations grow, so too does the burden of performance and load testing.

Trends are emerging as new companies try to meet the new demands of performance testing in general and load testing in particular. These trends are:

  1. Putting More Emphasis on Shift Left in the Automated CI/CD Pipeline
  2. Shifting Right with Application Performance Monitoring
  3. Cloud-based Test On-demand
  4. Keeping on Top of the Google Effect
  5. The Need to Support Event-driven Messaging Architectures
  6. More Devices, More Often
  7. Weaving AI into the Fabric of Load Testing

Let’s take a look at the details.

1. Putting More Emphasis on Shift Left in the Automated CI/CD Pipeline

QA is demonstrating a growing embrace of the Shift Left movement. This “movement” is an analogy derived from a project management chart in which the progress of tasks toward the completion of a project moves from left to right. The Shift Left sensibility puts more emphasis on tasks at the beginning of a project than at the end, hence the notion to “shift left.”

QA is embracing Shift Left by implementing more automated load testing early on in the development process. There’s a growing trend among test engineers to achieve short bursts of low-volume load tests as code gets deployed throughout the sprint rather than only performing load testing intensively toward the end, just before production release.

The benefit of Shift Left is that it uncovers problems early on. Fixing issues early in the software development cycle is considerably less expensive than addressing them downstream. For QA, the Shift Left motto is, test early, test often, fixes fast, fix cheaply.

2. Shifting Right with Application Performance Monitoring

Companies are also Shifting Right. However, it’s not humans who are doing the shifting; it’s the technology. More companies are using Automated Performance Monitoring technology to keep an eye on code once it’s shipped in production. The technology is automatically keeping track of an enterprise’s software assets for signs of stress and failure. Companies will Shift Left to load test during development. Then, they’ll perform essential full-scale, regression load testing just before release to production. Once the code is active, the Automated Performance Monitoring technology provides ongoing attention required to make sure application and servers are running according to the conditions set in the operational Service Level Agreement.

There’s a lot of code running on the Internet today. Automated Performance Monitoring is essential to ensuring that it’s running as it should.

3. Cloud-based Testing On-demand

The benefits of cloud-based computing have spilled over into the testing domain. Having experienced the cost-effectiveness of “pay only for what you use” computing, more companies are relying more on service providers to dynamically provision the testing infrastructure required to meet any testing scenario at-hand. It makes sense. To do otherwise is a foolish use of money.

Not every service provider is well-suited to provide testing environments, and tools and workflow requirements are too specialized. However, the need is growing. The result, more companies whom will emerge on the technical landscape focused on providing state-of-the-art testing services at web scale.

4. Keeping on Top of the Google Effect

“Each time a consumer is exposed to an improved digital experience, their expectations are immediately reset to a new, higher-level.” Brendan Witcher, Principal Analyst at Forrester

As Google pushes the envelope in term of scale and speed of activity on the modern Internet, there is a growing user expectation to want faster and more reliable applications. It’s called the “Google effect.” Google sets the bar for performance higher, and then every other application must meet that new standard. The Google effect results in more companies turning to automation and cutting-edge technologies just to remain competitive. Service Level Agreements are going to be more aggressive. Testing activity, mainly load and performance testing, is going to become more ambitious regarding baseline expectation. The pressure will not let up. There will be winners, and many losers, particularly among those companies who do not have the resources to accommodate continuous innovation.

5. The Need to Support Event-driven Messaging Architectures

Network latency is a killer for any distributed application. Web applications that run over HTTP are particularly susceptible to high degrees of latency due to the nature of the protocol. One of the benefits of an event-driven, messaging architecture is that it avoids the latency inherent in HTTP. Applications can just fire and forget. It’s a different way of doing business.

More companies are taking advantage of the benefits of messaging. But, messaging brings its own set of problems: dropped messages, inadequate capacity to meet the storage demands and yes, latency in message distribution between publisher and subscriber. To mitigate the growing risks, companies are going to need to load test beyond the standard HTTP request/response. Ultimately, creating a different way of doing business requiring not only different testing tools and methods but also a different mindset.

6. More Devices, More Often

The SmartPhones and Internet of Things (IoT) have been taking over the Internet. According to Forbes, since 2014, SmartPhone sales have doubled that of non-phone devices. BusinessInsider predicts that in 2018, IoT will be more significant than the smartphone, tablet, and PC markets combined. With smarter automobiles and wearable devices, the transmission and consumption of data are taking the digital world to levels that were previously unimaginable. All these devices and the endpoints to which they transmit data, need to be tested. IoT is also experiencing involvement in life and death scenario management, for example, enabling the safe operation of a self-driving long-distance tractor-trailer. Suffice it to say; these devices operate 24/7 with no let-up.

Companies are going to have to come up with new ways of testing that works seamlessly with these new devices. Load testing in the IoT infrastructure will need to go beyond traditional methodologies. The nature and scope of performance are different. For example, how do you inflict threshold load on a driverless vehicle? Stressing out a database is easy to achieve by comparison.

The growth of devices, their demands that companies are going to contend with require an adjustment to the approach to testing using new ideas. There are few options otherwise.

7. Weaving AI into the Fabric of Load Testing

Companies are becoming more visionary regarding the use of AI during their load testing. The growth of automation testing has also increased the volume of production and test result data available for analysis. The amount of data is so significant that the only way to make sense of it all is to use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. AI and Machine Learning are particularly useful when it comes to anticipating potential failure events and scaling up the environment to avoid disaster. Although it is still unclear what will be possible with AI, it is undoubtedly an essential domain of interest in the short to mid-term for performance engineers. However, companies understand the benefit of using AI in the testing landscape and will be using it more to meet the growing demand to keep services up and running 24/7.

Putting it All Together

The common thread that runs through these seven industry trends is the need to devise new ways to meet the testing demands of a technical infrastructure that continues to grow bigger and faster. Best practices for load testing need to evolve to meet these emerging demands. Companies that meet the challenges ahead are sure to prosper, as will the customers and employees they serve.

Learn More

Discover more load testing and performance testing content on the Neotys Resources pages, or download the latest version of NeoLoad and start testing today.

 

Bob Reselman 
Bob Reselman is a nationally-known software developer, system architect, test engineer, technical writer/journalist and industry analyst. He has held positions as Principal Consultant with the transnational consulting firm, Capgemini and Platform Architect (Consumer) for the computer manufacturer, Gateway. Also, he was CTO for the international trade finance exchange, ITFex.
Bob’s authored four computer programming books and has penned dozens of test engineering/software development industry articles. He lives in Los Angeles and can be found on LinkedIn here, or on Twitter at @reselbob. Bob is always interested in talking about testing and software performance and happily responds to emails (tbob@xndev.com).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *