Load testing is a vital component of performance testing to measure, analyze, and make informed decisions about high-demand scenarios for your system. Whether it’s a website, application, API, or any other piece of software. Load testing is performed by simulating real-world high demand of end-users to determine if the concerned website, application, or software can withstand the high load and perform as expected.
For example, let’s say you are launching a limited summer sale on your website for a certain period of time. For your sale to be successful with high demand in that period, you would want to perform a load test to determine what measures you need to take to prevent your website from poor performance or even crashing with increased visitors and transaction activities. Load testing will give you insights about what you need to upgrade, resolve, and optimize in order to maintain website performance during peak load.
Now, the important thing is that the testing results vary depending on the environment you are running those tests on. There are two approaches for load testing – hosted online cloud testing and on-premises testing. Both of these testing methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and choosing either of them depends on multiple factors, which we will discuss in this article so that you can decide which of them is good for you to get your project’s bottom-line performance without fail.
Overview: Hosted Online Cloud Load Testing and On-premises Load Testing
In hosted online cloud testing, you take benefit of an already developed cloud infrastructure for testing and run your load test in that environment. This effectively means that you no longer have to worry about maintaining and upgrading load generator machines while effectively outsourcing and utilizing a well-managed testing environment. This gives you more flexibility in terms of operational overhead and leveraging the power of someone who is constantly evolving and enhancing testing infrastructure.
On the other hand, on-premises testing is running your load tests on machines (load generators) that are owned and controlled by you, in your data center. You have the responsibility for maintaining, upgrading, and every other necessary activity related to these load generators that includes installation of test tools, supporting software, upgrading hardware among others.
What are the Deciding Factors?
Goal. Load testing has different use cases for different scenarios and performance bottom-line is measured accordingly. Whether you are preparing for a sale day or launching your business in a new location, choosing either of testing methods depends on these specific objectives. For example, if you have the traffic coming from different geographical locations then you might want to take advantage of a cloud setup.
Audience. You need to be more realistic about your user demographics and their behaviors along with different browsers and devices they use. For example, on-premises testing might be limited in the browser, and device varieties while hosted online cloud will give you the capability of simulating multiple browsers and devices.
Budget. On-premises testing requires huge money upfront along with ongoing maintenance cost which is generally ideal for large enterprises. Cloud testing is generally less expensive and comes with managed service in a plug and play style that makes it ideal for small and medium enterprises.
Virtual Users Capacity. If you want to simulate a relatively higher number of virtual users, hardware and setup cost and complexity increase accordingly for on-premises load testing. On the other hand, cloud load testing cost remains relatively small for scalability and stress testing and you don’t have to go through setup complexities.
Apart from these main deciding factors, there are several other cues that you need to consider.
- Website/Application under test
- Communication and Security Protocols
- Testing skill set
- Test assets availability
- Use case and script complexities
- Timeline and urgency, etc.
Hosted Online Cloud Load Testing vs. On-premises Load Testing
Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of both load testing approached.
Hosted Online Cloud Load Testing
- Ready for testing in minutes with managed infrastructure and on-demand cloud capabilities.
- Lower costs with large-scale real-time testing.
- Highly scalable according by leveraging cloud infrastructure.
- Geo-distributed testing capabilities.
- Real-time testing data available for websites and applications.
- More flexibility in terms of demand, usage, and choice.
- Accelerated time to market with improved efficiency and more realistic performance testing.
- Higher ROI as you only pay for what you utilize.
On-premises Load Testing
- Increased control over the environment in terms of configuration, and specifications, as you own the hardware with full operational control.
- Increased data security as all tests and confidential data resides in your data center.
- Lower cost if you require to run the load tests for one location or few users.
- Good for internal applications.
Hosted Online Cloud Load Testing
- Data security challenges (but very rare) with increasing cloud infrastructure reliability day by day.
- You might face bandwidth issues based on your service provider.
- Redundant tests cost for re-evaluating the performance.
On-premises Load Testing
- Testing time is higher due to setup, configuration, and limited skill set within the organization.
- Higher cost if you want to simulate a higher number of users across different browsers and devices which is usually the case for most of the organizations.
- Geographical limitation as you can only load test from your location while your users might be from across the globe. On-premises testing is not suitable for this.
- Manpower and different skill set required to perfectly run your own on-premises testing environment which can become really complex very quickly.
- Very little flexibility in terms of adding/removing/replacing hardware and software required for testing as it comes with overhead budget and setup.
- Very hard to scale with the organization’s goals and use cases.
- Higher time to market due to handling everything on your own.
- Lower ROI as it doesn’t matter you run for 1,000 users or one million users on the same setup.
Load Testing Best Practices
Besides deciding between cloud-based testing and on-premises testing here are few best practices to follow for load testing.
- Define a clear strategy and run baseline tests against your application servers to determine control group to compare future load test results.
- Make use of containerization and virtualization for testing.
- Continuously monitor your load generators with monitoring tools.
- Encrypt your data for enhanced data security.
- Utilize multiple cloud vendors for more scalability and better bottom-line performance.
- Make sure to perform Geo-distributed load tests.
Cloud-based Load Testing vs. On-premises Load Testing: The Takeaway
Deciding between cloud-based testing and on-premises testing depends on multiple technical and operational factors but in the age of everything being on cloud and global users, cloud testing gives you numerous advantages over on-premises testing which includes reduced cost, minimum operational overhead, accelerated time to market and more importantly flexibility for agile business goals. A platform like LoadView gives you all the features you need to load test your websites, applications, APIs. The platform utilizes real browsers and can easily scale to meet the demands for your load testing scenarios.
Try the free trial today and receive $20 in load testing credits to get started.