Load testing is a process where you subject a particular computer, network, server, application or peripheral to a level of work that nears the limits of its specifications. This is usually done in a lab where conditions are controlled so that there is a strong basis for comparison of the different systems or so that each system’s capabilities are measured accurately. Load testing can also be done outside a controlled lab atmosphere within a network. This will give an accurate assessment of how well a system reacts and functions even outside controlled conditions.
There are two ways of conducting load testing. One of the ways is called longevity testing. Longevity testing is also named endurance testing. It tests and evaluates a system if it can handle a constant work load over a long time. The other way of conducting Load testing is by volume testing. Volume testing tests a system for a limited span of time with a heavy work load.
These two ways of load testing makes it possible to identify bugs, bottlenecks and limitations of a particular system. When a system is tested under load testing, the user of the system will have a general idea just how much load it can take. This type of performance testing allows the user to ascertain low many processes and applications you can run on the system all at the same time while performance level is maintained.
Load testing is only one part of an overall process which systems are tasked to pass through before quality certifications are given. There are several approaches to test a particular system through load testing. One of these is by downloading several large files from the Internet. A series of large files will automatically cue themselves as download progresses. The system should be able to handle the series of data waiting in line for their turn to be downloaded.
Another load testing approach is running multiple applications all at the same time in a computer or server. Applications running at the same time drag a lot more memory than usual, and this taxes the system. Systems may slow down when multiple applications are running and limited systems fail to function properly. When a computer’s system has a fast processor but its RAM (random-access memory) is limited, the system will most probably have a problem when a lot of applications are running all at the same time.
Testing web applications can also be done. Websites should not get bogged down when user activities double or triple in different functions. People can click away from a website fast so anything that makes a website slow down will not be good for it.
Companies have developed several load testing tools and software, together with stress testing software. Companies such as Borland, IBM Rational and HP Software have their own load testing tools. These tools are mostly products that test the behavior and performance of a system. Loading several applications and other real-life scenarios pertaining to numerous loads on the system can be done quickly and are part of quality assurance testing. The results of the load testing can be analyzed in detail and reasons for low performance can be explored.