8 things to consider about performance testing tools

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During the last episode of Easttown mare, the HBO streaming service crashed, as happened during HBO The iron Throne Season 7 premiere. In both cases, the site could not bear the load, service was discontinued, and viewers quickly expressed their frustration on social media.

Heavy traffic and performance issues can affect a business in any industry. The consequences are the same every time: a damaged business reputation, lost revenue and disappointed users.

Such unpleasant results are preventable if you perform performance testing. But your success depends on the right toolkit as a foundation. The right choice depends on your business needs, your budget and the specifics of your workloads. Here are eight key considerations to keep in mind when evaluating your options for performance testing.

1. Protocol support

The ability of a test tool to generate the required workload of virtual users, whether 500 or 50,000, depends on its scalability, and this is often an issue due to limitations imposed by the protocol used.

You should also consider the protocol your application uses, whether it is HTTP / HTTPS for a web application or Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) for a streaming application. Even the protocol version matters. Ensuring the quality of HTTP 2.0-based software with a tool that only supports HTTP 1.0 is an express train for invalid test results.

However, to ensure the continuity of the QA process, you may want to go one step further and consider a tool that supports a range of diverse protocols. This approach ensures that there are no process disruptions if the infrastructure changes.

2. Distributed tests and customization of the load pattern

Suppose you have an online store, expect traffic spikes during Black Friday, and you need to provide equally trouble-free service in various geographies. To simulate the high number of concurrent users from remote areas, the tool you choose should be able to run distributed load tests (for example, apply a master-slave configuration in Apache JMeter).

Another feature to look for is the ability to configure the load application scheme. For example, if the software supports 500 users (250 must be running simultaneously), the tool you choose must allow you to perform checks regardless of how this parameter changes over time.

3. Automated reports

When performance testing is complete, QA engineers proceed to the highest activity processing results. They analyze detected faults, response times, number of requests, metrics of a database and other system components to define the overall performance level and design appropriate improvements.

None of this would be possible without the logs generated by a performance testing tool. The ability of a tool to automatically deliver this data is critical, especially when you face tight project deadlines.

4. License costs, restrictions and options

Although commercial tools tend to support advanced protocols, be aware of licensing limitations that could hamper your desired workflow. The set of protocols supported by a tool, the number of generated users allowed, the time and place of use, and the available support are the most common issues to consider.

Optimizing licenses to meet these criteria may incur additional license and support costs, depending on the tool you use.

The cost of any performance testing tool should match your allotted budget. However, if the price of the software is low but your team is spending too much time digging into the peculiarities of its use, you might be better off going with a more expensive tool that offers a more intuitive, user-friendly design, and better support. Otherwise, the costs associated with implementation could make the tool more expensive in the long run.

5. Strong supplier and community support

When it comes to support, the people behind the performance testing software you choose are more essential than the tool itself. The ability to receive guidance throughout a setup process or help troubleshoot issues will save you time and money.

And if you’re considering open source tools, check ahead to see if those tools have a strong community of support. Visit the Tech Forums to see how easy it is to find solutions to the latest issues or stay on top of the latest fixes and how to apply them.

6. Integration with your CI / CD pipeline

The cornerstones of the DevOps culture are to make continuous improvements, share responsibility for quality, and focus deeply on customer needs. To achieve this, teams leverage continuous integration, delivery, and deployment to automate workflows and deliver software at a rapid pace.

This is why it is essential to choose a performance testing tool that will integrate seamlessly with your CI servers. For example, the open source Gatling or Apache JMeter tools are compatible with the most common CI systems such as Jenkins and TeamCity. It is therefore possible to open Apache JMeter in TeamCity from the command line.

7. Compatibility with monitoring tools

Modern performance testing software should include a built-in mechanism to monitor response times, number of concurrent users and transactions, detected faults, etc. And for convenience, look for tools that can share this information with other monitoring tools.

For example, open source Grafana allows you to visualize the data generated by your test tool and present it to project stakeholders in a structured and presentable way. The test tool you choose should allow collaborative work with monitoring software.

8. Customization possibilities

Cost matters when making your choice, but even though an open source tool is the only option, that doesn’t mean its capabilities are limited. You might be able to write plugins that help overcome some testing constraints (for example, sending requests from Apache JMeter to Redis).

Match these considerations to your needs

When choosing a performance testing tool, consider whether a given tool supports the right set of protocols, its distributed testing and automated reporting capabilities, license and support costs, availability and reliability. Quality of vendor and community support, whether the tool is DevOps- and CI / CD compatible, whether it integrates with monitoring tools and whether there is room for customization.

There is no better choice when it comes to performance testing tools. What’s optimal for a business can cause problems for yours, so think about the above considerations and how each applies to your own needs before you make that investment.

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