Load testing isn’t always as straightforward as one might think. And setting up and executing a test based on anecdotal information isn’t the best method. Make the wrong assumption and you might quickly find the breaking point of your application or website, unintentionally bring it down, and receive some upset users in the process. Today, most companies often utilize traffic analysis tools to help take the guesswork completely out of the equation. For the majority of companies, Google Analytics is the preferred tool. So, how exactly do you convert web analytics into concurrent users?
Gathering User Data
Web analytics tools can provide you with a wealth of data points, such as total users (new or returning), total number of sessions, page views, bounce rates, and more. And furthermore, you can adjust the timeframe by hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, or even input a customized range. In the case of Google Analytics, these metrics can be found within a single dashboard, called the Audience Overview.
Average Traffic vs. Peak Traffic
Before calculating the number of concurrent users, you’ll want to find the times where peak traffic occurs. This is important for a couple of reasons. Using the average traffic metrics will often be significantly lower than peak times. Websites typically have recurring times when traffic peaks. In order to test for that level of traffic, you need to test for traffic well beyond average traffic metrics.
Secondly, you want the most realistic data back from your test. These results will undoubtedly be used for determining if additional infrastructure and capacity is needed, so in order to gauge whether or not your systems can handle peak traffic, you’ll want to know it now, so you can better plan and manage your infrastructure, not down the road when it’s too late. And remember that the number of concurrent users is just a starting point. Always keep in mind your individual business objectives and SLAs when carrying out load tests.
Calculating the Number of Concurrent Users
Within the LoadView platform, all times are defined in minutes, so when parsing through the web analytics data it’s important to find the peak number of visits and average visit duration for a given hour. The formula used to determine the number of concurrent users is as follows:
Concurrent users = Peak Hourly Visits x Average Visit Duration (in minutes)/60
For example, if your peak visits per hour is 200 visitors and the average visit duration is 6 minutes, the number of concurrent users that should be used to create 200 visits per hour is 20 concurrent users.
Calculating the number of concurrent users is one of the many factors needed to properly setup a load test. The good thing is that LoadView can take the complexity and worry out of load testing. LoadView steps you through the process and takes out the hassle of having to manage load injectors or virtual machines.