Performance Testing for Online applications - The Cloud Advantage
Organizations have finally realized that building brand loyalty online contributes significantly to the overall brand value of the organization. In order to achieve this brand loyalty in the online space, organizations need to focus on two key elements - user experience and application availability.
Organizations can improve their online end user experience by conducting usability testing and by taking feedback from users to uncover potential usability issues. Usability testing helps identify deviations from usability standards and provides improved design directions as part of its iterative design process.
Uninterrupted application availability can be achieved by focusing on the performance aspects of the business application. To do so, the prime focus needs to be on performance throughout the application life cycle stages, right from requirements gathering, understanding the business forecasts, accounting for seasonal and peak workloads, capacity planning for production and ensuring right disaster recovery strategies like multiple back-ups across geographies, etc. All these need to be further coupled with the right performance validation approach.
Performance testing should not only focus on simulating the user load. It should also focus on simulating the critical business transaction and resource intensive operations, all under realistic patterns of usage. While certifying applications for performance, testing teams need to ensure that the user load factor takes into consideration the growth projections for the next five years at least, along with the peak seasonal user hits. This can help the organization ensure scalability of the application to handle not only peak traffic for the current year, but also online customer traffic for the next 5 years.
While all this sounds good, the common client concern with such preparation is the need for setting up such production like performance environments for the enablement of perfect performance testing of online business applications. The setting up of this environment will require huge amount of CAPEX investment and worst of all will remain underutilized post the completion of the performance testing exercise. Leveraging the cloud can help organizations quickly and effectively set up production like performance environments and convert this CAPEX requirement to OPEX. This pay as you go model of testing, in the form of cloud based environment and tools, is the modern way for an organization to be cost effective in the current economic scenario and achieve thorough, end to end, performance testing of online business applications.
However, organizations need to realize that moving an application to the cloud does not mean access to infinite resources. Most organizations make this assumption while moving to the cloud and this can prove very costly. Whether an application is on a cloud or an on-premise application, it still needs to be designed to diligently handle application and availability failures. Even in the cloud, the organization needs to sign up for specific computing power, a certain amount of storage power for the anticipated peak user load, etc. Any wrong forecasting on the mentioned factors or in the traffic increase pattern can, and will, result in application unavailability for users. Further, whether on the cloud or not, a disaster recovery back up plan is a must, that too a multi-geo one. This would help avert any business disruption in the event of any outage in a particular geography.