A Handbook for Load Testing

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expected number of users the reports will be gener-ated. Selecting a report would in general give the details like number of test clients, number of hits per second, requests per second etc. The result codes will highlight if the system is susceptible to use by recording the results. Hence the user would be able to get useful data on the test run.

Load testing is the measure of an entire Web application's ability to sustain a number of simultaneous users and transactions, while maintaining adequate re-sponse times. It is the only way to accurately test the end-to-end performance of a Web site prior to going live.

Two common methods for implementing this load testing process are manual and automated testing. Manual testing would involve

  • Coordination of the operations of users
  • Measure response times
  • Repeat tests in a consistent way
  • Compare results

As load testing is iterative in nature, the performance problems must be identified so that system can be tuned and retested to check for bottlenecks. For this reason, manual testing is not a very practical option.

Today, automated load testing is the preferred choice for load testing a Web application. The testing tools typically use three major components to execute a test:

  • A console, which organizes, drives and manages the load
  • Virtual users, performing a business process on a client application
  • Load servers, which are used to run the virtual users

With automated load testing tools, tests can be easily rerun any number of times and the results can be reported automatically. In this way, automated testing tools provide a more cost-effective and efficient solution than their manual counterparts. Plus, they minimize the risk of human error during testing.

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