performance testing

Performance testing is the process of determining the speed or effectiveness of a computer, network, software program or device. This process can involve quantitative tests done in a lab, such as measuring the response time or the number of MIPS (millions of instructions per second) at which a system functions. Qualitative attributes such as reliability, scalability and interoperability may also be evaluated. Performance testing is often done in conjunction with stress testing.

Performance testing can verify that a system meets the specifications claimed by its manufacturer or vendor. The process can compare two or more devices or programs in terms of parameters such as speed, data transfer rate, bandwidth, throughput, efficiency or reliability.

Performance testing can also be used as a diagnostic aid in locating communications bottlenecks. Often a system will work much better if a problem is resolved at a single point or in a single component. For example, even the fastest computer will function poorly on today's Web if the connection occurs at only 40 to 50 Kbps (kilobits per second).

Slow data transfer rate may be inherent in hardware but can also result from software-related problems, such as:

Effective performance testing can quickly identify the nature or location of a software-related performance problem.

Getting started with use performance testing
To explore how performance testing is used in the enterprise, here are some additional resources for learning about performance testing:
What is performance testing? Determining what exactly performance testing is proves to be more difficult than you'd expect. Testing expert Scott Barber attempts to pinpoint a definition while recognizing that it may be impossible for the industry to settle on one set explanation.
Software testing fundamentals: Performance testing: Software performance testing is crucial to software development and very easy to mess up. These tips and expert opinions illustrate how to conduct performance tests effectively.
Three tips for successful application performance testing: Testing database-backed applications for performance can be a daunting task. But you can make it easier on yourself if you follow these three tips.
This was last updated in June 2007
Posted by: Margaret Rouse
View the next item in this Essential Guide: application program interface (API) or view the full guide: QUEST 2014: News from the conference

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