The Value of High Performance Testing

When scoping a project plan it is often tempting to view performance testing as optional. Performance testing may be perceived as a time consuming or costly activity. However, performance testing has proven its value time and time again in a variety of projects and the benefits it provides should not be overlooked. In this article, we will consider three notable benefits of performance testing.

Early Identification of Issues – No one wants a poor user experience or a catastrophic failure to occur once a system goes live.  Failures such as these can be embarrassing, costly and degrade customer trust in the system.

Performance testing can identify issues early in the development life cycle when there is still time to modify architecture, code or make other design changes before they become customer impacting.  This early identification of potential issues is crucial to aid in remediation to lessen the impact or prevent events from occurring at all.  

Uncovering Configuration Issues – Testing is an activity that takes on many forms and is conducted at all phases of the SDLC.  Developers utilize unit testing to ensure that a focused section of code is ready to integrate into the overall product.  Functional testing will focus on specific features while integration testing focuses on the entire process from end to end.  

All of these types of testing serve their purpose and are effective at uncovering issues, but they are all at a smaller volume then what you can do with performance testing.  Performance testing can uncover configuration issues that other types of testing misses such as: insufficient bandwidth, multi-threading issues, and database resource locks. 

Identifying Memory Leaks – Despite the best efforts of functional and integration testing teams, identifying memory leaks is very tricky if volume cannot be generated and maintained for an extended time.  Memory leaks are often so minimal that they do not present themselves until a system has been utilized with a production level load and for an extended period. Performance testing can do just that and does it well before real customers are using the system! 

In summary, there are multiple reasons that Performance testing is an important aspect of IT projects. With the ever evolving IT landscape, performance testing has become central to building confidence in software.

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