Any software application should pass through functional and non-functional testing to ensure it satisfies business requirements and performance standards. Functional testing covers most of the functionalities with white-box testing, unit testing, and black-box testing. Non-functional testing, or performance testing, focuses on speed, stability, scalability, reliability, load capacity, and performance under stress. Performance testing is further divided into two types – baseline testing and benchmark testing. These performance tests are done to ensure that all quality standards and SLA criteria are met by all the applications of an organization. In this article, we will understand their importance, benefits, and important metrics to cover.
What is Baseline Testing?
Baseline testing is a process of recording performance metrics of a software application when it undergoes performance testing. When the same application is updated, including software, hardware, network, and code changes, it again goes through performance testing, and new performance metrics results are compared with the previous performance metrics results. Performance metrics from every test are well-documented for future references. The overall goal for baseline testing is to maintain the consistent quality of a software application.
Importance & Benefits of Baseline Testing
Baseline testing is done for making sure that application performance is not degrading over time with new changes, and if it does, what are the measures to be taken so that it met the baseline performance. This ensures that user experience is intact in all test scenarios, and the scope of improvement is discovered. The following are some benefits that you get from performing baseline testing:
- Helps set a baseline for maintaining the software application performance.
- Identify bottlenecks for different performance metrics.
- Faster measurement of quality performance.
- Can be easily automated to increase tester efficiency.
- Helps in detecting configurations errors.
What is Benchmark Testing?
Benchmark testing compares performance testing results against performance metrics that are agreed upon in the organization based on different industry standards. It helps determine the quality standards of every software application that belonged to an organization. Benchmark testing covers software, hardware, and network performance. The goal for benchmark testing is to test all the current and future releases of an application to maintain high-quality standards.
Importance & Benefits of Benchmark Testing
Benchmark testing is essential for implementing quality standards as well as service level agreements (SLAs). It is repeatable and quantifiable to practically establish user experience and business standards for a software application. The following are some benefits of benchmark testing:
- Helps in performance analysis of a software application with competitors.
- Maintains user experience and availability.
- Ensures that all compliance and SLAs are met.
- It helps to evaluate third-party vendors’ evaluation.
- Ensure best practices are followed with measurable results.
Differences between Baseline & Benchmark Testing
While baseline and benchmark testing seems very much the same, the following are some points that clarify the difference between the two:
- Baseline Testing metrics are recorded after the applications undergo performance testing. Benchmark Testing metrics are often pre-established to evaluate the performance.
- Baseline Testing is specific to an individual software application. Benchmark Testing is often applicable to all the software applications belong to an organization.
- Baseline Testing is done from the application and user experience point of view. Benchmark testing is done from business and SLA point of view.
Phases of Testing
While many teams follow the agile process for testing, it is best to follow a process for baseline and benchmark testing. The following are the standard testing phases for baseline and benchmark testing:
This phase includes identifying and defining standards and requirements for baseline and benchmark testing. A set of metrics is prepared for measuring the performance.
This phase includes setting the goals and objectives and the error identification process and how to resolve them.
This phase includes the agreement between functional and non-functional requirements with business process approval.
This phase includes developing the test scenarios, executing the performance tests, measuring the performance, and calculating results.
Performance Metrics and Components
Performance testing emphasizes on the following metrics to be measured:
- Load time
- Response time
- Wait time
- Peak response time
- Error rate
- Concurrent users
- Requests per second
- Transactions passed/failed
- Web server throughput
- CPU utilization
- Memory utilization
- DIsk I/O
For a successful baseline and benchmark testing, there are three major components that need to be specified correctly:
- Workload specification for determining request types and frequency.
- Metrics Specification for determining the metrics that are to be measured.
- Measurement Specification for determining how to get the correct values of specified metrics.
A few other things that you should consider while doing performance testing include the following:
- Maintain consistency and control over the testing process, metrics and benchmarks.
- Understand system architecture and test criteria thoroughly.
- Generate load using real-browsers and devices for accurate results.
- Simulate users from multiple geo-locations to create a more realistic scenario.
- Fine-tune your baseline and benchmarks by adjusting loads in real-time.
Baseline and Benchmark Testing using LoadView
LoadView is a cloud-based performance testing tool that allows you to create virtually any test scenario with its point and click EveryStep Web Recorder. It uses real browsers, devices, and multiple geo-locations to simulate the most realistic performance testing environments.
For baseline/benchmark testing, you can set up your performance tests on LoadView in no time and utilize its load curve features to adjust the website/application load according to your requirements. Load curves are very useful to fine-tune the baseline and benchmark metrics. LoadView will then execute your tests and generate a detailed report with all the metrics you require to compare your results. LoadView performance reports contain out-of-the-box insights and easy to understand results. These performance reports can be saved for future comparison, and a baseline can be defined for repetitive comparison.
Conclusion: Baseline and Benchmark Testing
Performance testing should be started early on and done before every new release to ensure your website/application behaves as expected under load conditions. Baseline and benchmark testing is used to ensure that your websites/applications deliver a consistently great experience. LoadView is a great tool to easily setup your tests and perform baseline and benchmark tests. You can leverage its multiple load curves and reporting features to measure different metrics and actionable insights.