Welcome!

Java Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Liz Dickinson, Pat Romanski, Bob Gourley, Yakov Fain

Related Topics: Silverlight, Java, SOA & WOA, .NET, Virtualization, Cloud Expo, DevOps Journal

Silverlight: Article

Combining Agile with Load and Performance Testing: What Am I in For?

Load and performance testing successfully in an Agile way can save an organization a lot in costly bug fixes

Agile software development isn't really a "new" trend anymore. I mean, the Agile Manifesto turns 13 years old next month and while that might be early adolescence in human years, it's downright ancient as far as trends in IT are concerned. However, one area that has yet to fully mature is the implementation of non-functional testing practices in a Continuous Testing sort of way that can keep pace with more Agile development teams. Load and performance testing definitely fall into that category. You might be a performance tester on a team that is just starting to do more iterative development or a more experienced Agile tester looking to add load and performance testing to your workflow; either way, you'll likely want to know what you're in for.

Agile development practices can help teams achieve faster time to market, adapt to changing requirements, provide a constant feedback loop, etc. The benefits of load and performance testing include determining how much load an application can handle before it crashes in production, when to add another server, when to reconfigure the network, where code needs to be optimized, etc.  What is less well known is the fact that the combination of the two practices can lead to additional benefits that go beyond just the sum of the benefits of each practice, i.e. 1+1=3.

Some of these benefits include:

Avoiding Late Performance Problem Discovery
When load and performance testing are pushed off until the end of a development cycle, there is often little to no time for developers to make changes. This can cause teams to push back release dates and delay getting features out the door that customers need. Alternatively, if the issues are minor, teams may decide to proceed and launch the application into production while accepting the heightened risks.  If the performance problems are more fundamental, they could even require painful architectural changes that could take weeks or months to implement.

Making Changes Earlier When They Are Cheaper
By including load and performance testing in Continuous Integration testing processes, organizations can catch performance issues early before they get much more costly to fix. Developers can instantly know that the new feature in the latest build has caused the application to no longer meet Service Level Agreements (SLAs). They can fix the problem then and there before it becomes exponentially more expensive. This is especially true on Agile teams when discovering a performance problem weeks later could mean that it actually occurred several builds ago which makes the task of pinpointing the root cause a nightmare.

Guaranteeing Users Get New Features, Not New Performance Issues
In some Agile organizations, changes are happening incredibly fast. It's possible for a new feature or some new functionality to get checked into source control, run through a Continuous Integration build, pass all of the automated tests, and get deployed to the production server in a matter of minutes. But if that code wasn't optimized to handle the number of simultaneous users seen at the worst peak times, it could cause the whole system to crash. Integrating load testing into the process before these changes are deployed to production can ensure that your users get all the goodies they want without the bad user experiences. This can save your company thousand or even millions in lost revenue from users switching to competitors' apps or bashing your brand because of the problems they experienced with your app.

In the same way that combining Agile with load testing can provide unique benefits, it can also present your teams with unique challenges they may not have experienced in the past.

Shorter Development Cycles Require More Tests in Less Time
Load and performance testing are usually pushed off until the end of a development cycle. With Agile, development, cycles are much shorter, and load & performance testing can get pushed off until the last day of a sprint or sometimes it's done every other sprint. This can often result in code being released without being adequately tested or user stories slipping to the next release once they have been tested. Conceptually the solution is to do the testing earlier in the development cycle, but that's easier said than done with many teams lacking the resources and tools to make it happen.

"Working" Code Does Not Always Perform Well
So much focus for developers on Agile teams is put on delivering "working" code, but is code really "working" if it fails when the application is under load? Should user stories and tasks really be marked as "done" if the code associated with them causes the application to crash with 100 users? What about 1,000? 100,000? The pressure to get code out the door is high, but so is the cost of having an application crash in production.

Developers Need Feedback NOW
Agile developers need to know more than just the fact that their code is causing performance issues: they need to know when their code started causing problems and what story they were working on when the issue started. It's a huge pain for developers to be forced to go back and fix code for a story they worked on weeks or months ago. It also means they can't spend time working on getting new features out the door. Detecting performance issues early in the cycle so you can deliver important feedback to developers quickly is crucial to saving costs.

Automating the Handoff from Dev to Ops Can Feel Risky
While DevOps and Continuous Deployment are still fairly young practices, the fear felt by operations teams that new changes in code will slow down or even crash the application when it is deployed in production has been around forever. Automating some of the testing in the Continuous Integration process can help to ease some of this fear, but without adequate performance testing included, the risk is still real. Ops teams know well the huge impact application downtime can have on the business.

As daunting as some of these challenges seem, don't lose sight of the benefits you'll receive. Load and performance testing successfully in an Agile way can save an organization a lot in costly bug fixes and could make a tester a hero to both development and operations teams alike.

Not quite sure how to get started? Stay tuned for my next blog on best practices for Agile load and performance testing.

More Stories By Tim Hinds

Tim Hinds is the Product Marketing Manager for NeoLoad at Neotys. He has a background in Agile software development, Scrum, Kanban, Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and Continuous Testing practices.

Previously, Tim was Product Marketing Manager at AccuRev, a company acquired by Micro Focus, where he worked with software configuration management, issue tracking, Agile project management, continuous integration, workflow automation, and distributed version control systems.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
SYS-CON Events announced today that AgilePoint, the leading provider of Microsoft-centric Business Process Management software, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 2nd International @ThingsExpo which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. AgilePoint is the leading provider of Microsoft-based Business Process Management (BPM) software products, has 1,300+ on-premise and cloud deployments in 25+ countries and provides the same advanced BPM feature set as J2EE vendors like IBM and Appian for the Microsoft .NET native environment. AgilePoint customer...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., will show what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He will discuss opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and tec...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Utimaco will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Utimaco is a leading manufacturer of hardware based security solutions that provide the root of trust to keep cryptographic keys safe, secure critical digital infrastructures and protect high value data assets. Only Utimaco delivers a general-purpose hardware security module (HSM) as a customizable platform to easily integrate into existing software solutions, embed business logic and build s...
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, will describe an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people’s real needs and desires.
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, will discuss how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money! Speaker Bio: Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, has spent 16 years as a marketing, product management, and busin...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TeleStax, the main sponsor of Mobicents, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TeleStax provides Open Source Communications software and services that facilitate the shift from legacy SS7 based IN networks to IP based LTE and IMS networks hosted on private (on-premise), hybrid or public clouds. TeleStax products include Restcomm, JSLEE, SMSC Gateway, USSD Gateway, SS7 Resource Adaptors, SIP Servlets, Rich Multimedia Services, Presence Services/RCS, Diame...
Samsung VP Jacopo Lenzi, who headed the company's recent SmartThings acquisition under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovaction Center (OIC), answered a few questions we had about the deal. This interview was in conjunction with our interview with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. IoT Journal: SmartThings was developed in an open, standards-agnostic platform, and will now be part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. Can you elaborate on your commitment to keep the platform open? Jacopo Lenzi: Samsung recognizes that true, accelerated innovation cannot be driven from one source, but requires a...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
SYS-CON Events announces a new pavilion on the Cloud Expo floor where WebRTC converges with the Internet of Things. Pavilion will showcase WebRTC and the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices--computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridsto...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP’s Printing and Personal Systems Group, will discuss how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, senso...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics...
Internet of @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley announced on Thursday its first 12 all-star speakers and sessions for its upcoming event, which will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. @ThingsExpo, the first and largest IoT event in the world, debuted at the Javits Center in New York City in June 10-12, 2014 with over 6,000 delegates attending the conference. Among the first 12 announced world class speakers, IBM will present two highly popular IoT sessions, which will take place November 4-6, 2014 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif...
From a software development perspective IoT is about programming "things," about connecting them with each other or integrating them with existing applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Yakov Fain, co-founder of Farata Systems and SuranceBay, will show you how small IoT-enabled devices from multiple manufacturers can be integrated into the workflow of an enterprise application. This is a practical demo of building a framework and components in HTML/Java/Mobile technologies to serve as a platform that can integrate new devices as they become available on the market.
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An...