Performance Testing In The Age Of The Cloud

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Today, cloud computing is at the heart of nearly every digital service being leveraged by consumers worldwide. Be it retail, healthcare, banking, education, or entertainment, the digital economy relies heavily on the cloud to help make its offerings affordable and accessible to the masses. IDC expects that the worldwide spending on cloud services will surpass a staggering USD 1.3 trillion by 2026. 

SaaS offerings and cloud-powered services have conveniently narrowed the gap between large and small businesses when it comes to innovation and service excellence. Deep pockets no longer guarantee a competitive advantage in terms of technology supremacy thanks to the democratization of emerging technologies driven by the power of cloud services. Deriving a competitive advantage in today’s technology landscape demands superior levels of quality and reliability for enterprise SaaS applications in addition to speed or time to market. 

Cloud computing has fundamentally changed the way enterprises conceive build and deploy applications that are used either by their customers or their employees to serve customers. With cloud vendors offering a near-infinite pool of resources like storage, support libraries, computing options, analytical and intelligence services to choose from, it’s become easier to build, launch, scale, and refresh tools and enterprise apps. 

For enterprises, the challenge is to keep pace with the demand from customers in every process and function. 

This brings the focus onto the quality, usability, and scalability of applications built on top of the cloud. 

There are those who believe that the cloud will do all that is needed to help the application achieve the desired scale and performance to meet customer expectations. But this is not the case always. As application complexity increases, a wider scope of areas must be covered in terms of functionality. Therefore it has become very important for enterprises to performance-test their cloud applications to guarantee reliability and performance. 

What does performance testing in the cloud era imply?

In simple terms, cloud performance testing of enterprise applications determines how well they are performing in the cloud in terms of performance and scalable usage depending on usage. By simulating real-world usage patterns of end-users peaks and surges, performance testing empowers businesses to prepare their cloud-based digital infrastructure to cope with any unexpected turn of events like a sudden surge of use fueled by scenarios like the COVID 19 pandemic. 

Types of Performance Testing on the Cloud

When it comes to SaaS applications, there are several different performance tests that enterprises can leverage to test for reliability. Some of the most popular methods of performance testing adopted by enterprises for cloud applications are

Browser Test: Checking for the optimal performance of a cloud-based web application in different browsers as well as in browsers of different devices like smartphones, PCs, Tablet PCs, etc. 

Stress Test: Replicating extreme usage conditions that are exhibited outside of normally defined usage environments to test how much the application can withstand before getting disrupted. 

Load Test: Testing for optimal performance in a defined range of normal and peak usage conditions.

Targeted Testing: Validating every modular component of the application when it is isolated for ensuring optimal performance in its own isolated runtime environment. 

Failover Test: Validating the ability of the application to leverage a backup plan like moving to an alternate server for storage or computing when a primary resource fails or is disrupted.

Capacity Test: Testing is done to check for the maximum number of end-users a system can handle in parallel before exhibiting performance drops. 

Latency Test: Testing for the time taken for data exchange within the application’s different modules as well as end-user devices while in operation. 

Soak Test: Checks for the adaptability of the application when subjected to a high workload for a long duration than in normal circumstances. 

Why is performance testing important for cloud applications?

Cloud applications run in a totally different environment when compared to traditional applications that leverage your in-house data centers or storage infrastructure. With cloud vendors offering numerous services that help realize multiple functionalities of applications, enterprises need to ensure that what feels good works well in real-time when end users are leveraging them. For example, when a SaaS application is using a cloud database, performance testing ensures that it can support all the nuances of cache, I/O configurations, bucket sizes, etc., and relieve pressure from the business team by not having them worry about real-time performance when the app is used by consumers. 

Performance testing is a key component for validating the reliability of modern-day cloud-based enterprise applications. It is not an easy endeavor as every organization requires its own personalized roadmap, test plans, test data, configurations, tools, and platforms to ensure guaranteed reliability of these tests. 

It is also true that in the digital age, it has become harder than ever to proactively plan for the future. User and usage surges arrive unannounced and leave application infrastructure gasping when they hit. Users are also becoming less forgiving of lags and outages. When all these factors are considered, it’s apparent just why there needs to be a greater focus on performance testing in the cloud age. The ISVs and enterprises building cloud products need expert guidance and advisory to put them on the right track and achieve seamless performance excellence for their SaaS applications. Get in touch with us to know how that can be achieved. 

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