3 things to remember when performance engineering for a DevOps Practice
In today’s competitive world, quality with speed is a must. And that makes DevOps a necessity for businesses navigating a dynamic, ever-changing environment. DevOps practices focus on rapid delivery of ready-to-use, packaged software. They work to minimize time to release for new features, mitigate risks, drive new efficiencies and establish a continuous delivery pipeline. To accomplish their mission, automated performance testing tools are critical.
When DevOps teams use test automation to handle repeated activities, they need only worry about enhancements made at every release. That’s why performance engineering to accelerate test automation matters so much for continuous quality. Here are just a few of the many ways DevOps practices can transform application delivery by using test automation to support their continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline:
- Reduction in failure rates: In a traditional environment, Agile development teams are responsible for new features, while operations teams take on responsibility for application stability at production. In a DevOps practice, though, both aspects are taken care of by one team. Performance testing for each new change becomes much simpler, faster and efficient. With a shared code base, it is possible to detect software bugs at the earliest possible time and to get instant feedback that can help you tackle problems before they turn into complex issues. Faster and more effective troubleshooting ensures a reduction in both downtime and failure rates.
- Pushing features out faster and more often: The goal of any application release team is to provide quality software to customers faster and with excellent user experiences. In DevOps, all the key steps in the software development lifecycle are automated, including testing. When new software is ready to release, there are no operational constraints to contend with. Agile development teams can plan and deploy releases with the latest features in a shorter span of time. Automated performance testing helps DevOps teams identify errors during and after deployment to confirm that the deployment cycle is intact.
- Centralized visibility and insights: It is critical for DevOps to track software lifecycle performance metrics – like response time, throughput, transactions per second, error rates, etc. These parameters are complex and directly affect the end-user experience. Effective performance testing helps DevOps teams track quality metrics and detect defects early. It also helps teams scale applications by tracking factors like risk tolerance, quantum of users, concurrent requests, spikes in traffic and other factors that can crash an application.
Choosing a Performance-Testing Tool
In Agile development, unit tests and functional tests ensure an application is working as expected. But DevOps practices focused on business transformation in today’s application-based economy need to know more. Is the application responding in the expected time? How will the application behave if multiple users hit the same page simultaneously? Performance testing can answer these questions and many more.
An application load test generally measures performance under a specific load. By incorporating load tests early in the development cycle, you are able to understand any issues early on and can make sure you always have a top-performing application. You also can performance engineer for continuous testing in a CI/CD pipeline – setting up thresholds based on critical test metrics that stop bad code from progressing. You then can assure that expected service-level availabilities are met before new code shifts right and enters your continuous delivery pipeline.
In the event a change causes an application to slow significantly or to crash, the testing platform in your CI/CD pipeline must be able to roll back changes automatically, while providing both actionable insights and centralized visibility through a single-pane dashboard. The same automated performance-testing tools enable DevOps to shift testing left so developer teams can test early and often in the development cycle. Having feedback earlier helps them iterate more quickly and build better applications faster.
To support these critical functions, your DevOps performance-testing platform of choice needs the following capabilities:
- Create Open Source-Based Tests. You need a platform that lets you create test plans and scripts with open-source tools like Apache JMeter, Grinder, Gatling and Tsung that are used by your development teams in their own integrated development environment of choice. Your test platform can be “load and go,” with no heavy training or scripting required. With a single, self-service test toolchain, developers can identify critical parts of the application most likely to cause problems and test those on every build. And your Test Center of Excellence (CoE) can scale test coverage on demand for Agile development teams as more tests are added.
- Analyze Results in Real-Time. When multiple groups are involved in application development, everyone needs to see performance test results – especially if live production might be delayed because of issues uncovered. Your test platform should deliver centralized visibility across project teams so each can use their own dedicated workspace to drill down into error reports and analysis in real time.
- Integrate for Continuous Delivery. When integrating performance tests into a continuous delivery pipeline, the goal is to ensure that issues found are analyzed and fixed before production release. To accomplish this, your performance-testing platform will need to support a new “staging” phase in your code pipeline – with tests being added to your continuous integration server for continuous testing. This important step is a prerequisite for continuous delivery of quality applications.
Take Your Performance Testing to the Next Level
Today many leading DevOps practices are taking performance testing to the next level with CA BlazeMeter – a commercial platform for continuous testing that is helping businesses build out their testing tool chest and performance engineer their CI/CD pipeline. To find out how BlazeMeter can help your organization, request for your free BlazeMeter demo and start applying new open-source test scripts today!
Got LoadRunner test scripts? No problem. Converting them to open source is easy using our free, self-service BlazeMeter Script Converter. Simply drag and drop your current test scripts and our tool takes care of the conversion. You can even record test scenarios directly to a .JMX format – no scripting required.
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