Endurance Testing is a type of non-functional software testing. But what is meant by endurance testing exactly? It is an examination of a system, typically aimed at finding out if a product can withstand the processing load over a significant period of time. Endurance stands for capacity, so the major objective of endurance testing is to make sure that the product is capable of coping with the load without response time decay.
Endurance testing is realized at the end of the performance run cycle and in certain circumstances lasts for up to a year. It primarily depends on the actual production use, users’ involvement, and much more.
Sometimes a system, effectively operating for some time, may crash or function inappropriately after a certain period of time, let’s say a week. The reasons may be subject to hardware resource problems — a memory shortage, for instance. So, memory consumption is observed during testing to find out the potential failures.
At times, performance quality is also monitored and all the observations are fixed for further parameters improvement and software quality enhancement.
The Objective of Endurance Testing
The key objective of endurance testing is to ensure the software’s faultless operation and efficiency under increased load for a long period without response time deterioration.
However, the subgoals of this testing are to:
- Check the system for memory leaks;
- Observe the software performance under sustained usage;
- Find out the limits of users and/or transactions the software can support without crashing;
- Ensure that the response time remains the same or even improves after a long period of time;
- Test and define how many resources (processor and disk capacity, network throughput, or memory usage) the software solution will require to effectively operate in the future.
It’s better to explain what is endurance testing with an example.
An Example of Endurance Testing
We are going to take a particular aspect, let’s say memory leak, and delve into it.
But what is a memory leak? It’s the most common problem faced by developers. It is a failure of particular objects no longer used because of a vulnerable code.
In the course of endurance testing, a system is provided with a specific load quantity to test any memory leak possible. As soon as an issue is found, it is handled. The ways of handling are, as a rule, subject to the programming language used and can be extremely varied.
Let’s take a real-life example of a bank.
Assume a lockdown has happened and the banking institutions close for straight 2 weeks. Throughout this period, online banking activities and transactions will significantly increase compared to ordinary business days. Thus a system needs to be ready and capable to cope with such a user and operational load.
Endurance testing perfectly solves the problem, if performed in a due way.
How to Perform Endurance Testing
As a rule, endurance testing is realized by either system overloading or by reducing its specific resources. Further on, all the consequences are evaluated, an analysis made, and the necessary improvements applied. In such a way, the product is released to the market only when it’s stable enough to withstand heavy loads for a long time.
During the endurance testing, the following parameters are checked:
- Memory consumption. It helps to fix potential failures and evaluate the quality of product performance.
- Memory leakage. These checks detect memory leakages that can cause the software or operating system to crash.
- Connection closure between the layers. To avoid failures in the software modules, the connection between its layers should be successfully closed.
- Database connection. It should be successfully closed, otherwise a system crash can occur.
- Response time. To make sure that the software is able to work without changes to the time of response, endurance testing is realized.
The results of testing are all recorded and analyzed for further product improvements.
Endurance Testing Process
To speak about the process in more detail, the following 7 steps should be mentioned.
1. Test environment creation
This step presupposes finding and preparing the operating system, database, hard- and software required for test execution, as well as creating a test team and assigning roles and responsibilities within the team.
What is more, the average production size and annual growth of the database should be estimated to test how the software will respond in a month, a year, two years, or even more.
2. Test plan building up
Depending on the type of testing required — manual, automated, or combined — parameters, test cases, reviews, and the overall process should be planned. The plan should include the breaking point and load applied to stress the system.
3. Test cycle approximation
Based on the number of test engineers involved, the evaluation of the time of every test phase and the number of test cycles required is realized at this step.
4. Risk analysis
This is the most critical step. Test cases are prioritized according to the risk factors and prevention measures are planned.
Some of the most common issues and risks faced by testers are the following:
- Is there external interference that is not yet handled?
- Are there still any unidentified minor issues?
- Will the performance test remain reliable in the long run?
5. Test schedule
The timeframe, budget, and due deliverables are determined at this stage.
6. Test execution
At this step, test cases are implemented. In case any issues are recognized, they are noted down and fixed by the developers later. Then retesting is run.
7. Test cycle closure
As soon as the exit criteria of testing are met, the test cycle is closed and the report is formed with all detected issues and their final status.
Benefits of Endurance Testing
Let’s now also check what benefits of endurance testing are the most significant:
- It detects performance problems that may occur to the software running under heavy loads for an extended time;
- It helps identify memory leak-related bugs;
- It checks the software’s robustness;
- It allows the developers to enhance the software infrastructure based on the detected issues;
- The endurance testing ensures the product’s efficiency for a certain period without any maintenance — on long weekends, for instance;
- Properly executed testing with further error fixing results in reduced maintenance costs;
- Endurance testing also provides a smooth user experience.
Endurance testing prepares software solutions to keep going under continuous heavy loads. Thus, it helps deliver more robust products to the users and results in enhanced customer satisfaction.