The HBO streaming service collapsed during the final episode of Mare of Easttown, exactly as it did during the season 7 premiere of Game of Thrones. The site was unable to handle the traffic in both situations, service was disrupted, and viewers swiftly vented their dissatisfaction on social media.

Any sector might have high traffic and performance concerns. Every time, the results are the same: a tarnished corporate reputation, lost income, and disgruntled customers.

If you undertake performance testing, you can avoid such negative results. However, having the correct toolbox as a foundation is critical to your success. The best option is determined by your company’s needs, budget, and workload details. Here are eight important things to bear in mind as you weigh your alternatives.

1. Protocol support

The capacity of a testing tool to produce the required workload of virtual users, whether 500 or 50,000, is dependent on its scalability, which is sometimes hampered by protocol limits.

You should also think about the protocol that your app utilizes, whether it’s HTTP/HTTPS for a web app or Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) for a streaming app. Even the protocol version is significant. Using a tool that only supports HTTP 1.0 to ensure the quality of HTTP 2.0-based applications is a fast track to erroneous testing results.

However, if you want to ensure consistency in the QA process, you should select a tool that supports a variety of protocols. If the technique is followed, there will be no process disruptions.

2. Distributed testing and load-scheme customization 

Let’s imagine you own an online company and expect high traffic around Black Friday. You also need to deliver consistently good service across many geographies. The tool you chose should be able to execute distributed load testing to mimic a large number of concurrent users from different locations (e.g., applying a master-slave configuration in Apache JMeter).

Another aspect to look for is the flexibility to customize the load distribution strategy. For example, if the program allows 500 users (250 of whom should be working at the same time), the tool you select should allow you to complete verifications regardless of how this parameter varies over time.

3. Automated reporting

When the performance test runs are finished, QA engineers move on to the next most important activity: processing the findings. To define the overall performance level and create fit-for-purpose enhancements, they assess discovered flaws, response times, the number of requests, database metrics, and other system components.

Without the logs created by a performance testing tool, none of this would be feasible. The capacity of a program to transmit this data automatically is crucial, especially when working on a project with tight deadlines.

4. Licensing costs, restrictions, and options

While commercial products are more likely to offer sophisticated protocols, be cautious of license restrictions that may obstruct your intended process. The most common difficulties to examine are the collection of protocols a tool supports, the number of created users permitted, the time period and location of usage, and the accessible support.

Depending on whatever product you’re using, optimizing licensing to satisfy these requirements may result in additional license and support expenses.

Any performance testing instrument you purchase must be within your budget. However, if the program is inexpensive but your team spends too much time figuring out how to use it, you’re better off investing in a more costly solution with a more intuitive, user-friendly design and better support. Otherwise, the implementation expenses might make the tool more expensive in the long term.

5. Solid vendor and community assistance

The people behind the performance testing software you pick are more important than the technology itself when it comes to supporting. You will save time and money if you have the option of receiving assistance throughout the setup process or while debugging any difficulties.

Also, if you’re thinking about using open-source software, find out ahead of time if they have a robust support network. Visit technical forums to see how simple it is to find answers to the most recent problems or to remain up to date on the most recent updates and how to install them.

6. Integration with your CI/CD pipeline

Continuous improvement, sharing responsibility for the quality, and a strong focus on the client’s demands are all foundations of the DevOps culture. Teams use continuous integration, delivery, and deployment to automate operations and release software at a rapid speed to achieve this.

That’s why it’s critical to pick a performance testing solution that works well with your continuous integration servers. Most major CI systems, such as Jenkins and TeamCity, are compatible with open-source tools like Gatling and Apache JMeter. As a result, you may use the command line to start Apache JMeter in TeamCity.

7. Compatibility with monitoring tools

Response times, the number of concurrent users and transactions, identified flaws, and other metrics should all be tracked by modern performance testing tools. Look for solutions that can share this information with other monitoring tools for further ease.

The open-source Grafana, for example, allows you to display data created by your testing tool and communicate it to project stakeholders in a structured and presentable manner. You should select a testing tool that allows you to collaborate with monitoring software.

8. Customization possibilities

When it comes to selecting a decision, price is important, but just because an open-source program is a sole option doesn’t imply its capabilities are restricted. You might be able to create plugins to assist you to get around some of the testing limitations (for instance, sending queries from Apache JMeter to Redis).

Match these considerations to your needs

Consider whether a given tool supports the appropriate set of protocols, it’s distributed testing, and automated reporting capabilities, the licensing and support costs, the availability and quality of vendor and community assistance, whether the tool is DevOps and CI/CD friendly, whether it integrates with monitoring tools, and whether there is room for customization when choosing a performance testing tool.

When it comes to performance testing tools, there is no one optimal option. Before you make that investment, evaluate the factors listed above and how they apply to your specific requirements.

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