Volume testing is a non-functional test strategy with the increased number of involved data stored and used in the program.
What does it refer to, and what is the definition of volume testing in software engineering?
Volume testing (also called flood testing) is a type of performance testing, responsible for verifying system performance with extensive data. It reflects the reaction of websites and applications to the increased user or product databases. In many cases, QA engineers do volume testing manually. Though, they can automate the process with the help of specifically designed custom tools.
Flood testing examines the stability of software when enormous amounts of data are added. If there is a specific database size a team wants to test, more data should be added to the database to increase its capacity and perform tests.
The Main Features
The team undertakes this type of testing during the development stage with a small quantity of data being analyzed. The number of data increases gradually. The test cases are from configuration reports. A specialized software tool is required for generating data, crucial for a comprehensive measuring of the work process. Data should be stored correctly. No key information should be missed.
What Are the Goals of Volume Testing?
There are several reasons for a team to perform volume checks. The common goal is to figure out what will happen to the system if there are a lot of users reaching the program simultaneously. How well can a web page handle a greater number of visitors? It analyzes the performance attributes of the system. For example, measuring the app while thousands of people are clicking on the same button at the same time.
This type of testing should be conducted for any program. It is a major step that cannot be omitted because of estimating the system by the amount of data it handles without a crash. App crashes lead to a bad user experience, which in turn leads to a low retention rate.
Reasons to Perform
As with any other type of testing, this one is used for error identification and removal, comparing actual and expected results to improve quality and minimize errors during a development process. If we talk about more specific goals of volume testing, we should mention the following.
It is used to:
- check the capabilities of a system and establish the potential issue in case of extensive data;
- develop scalability plans;
- determine the response time of a certain number of data and ensure the operating process is not interrupted;
- check for data loss and weak spots.
Volume testing is crucial for understanding the stability and capacity of the product. The fewer the failures, the more stable the product is. The more stable the product is, the better experience the users have. Stability is the ability of a website or application to withstand the designed number of users. Volume testing provides full insight into the program when the data load or the number of the designed users is low, medium, or high. In a nutshell, it helps the team to distinguish the weakest areas in software that are most likely to fail when the load data is increased.
Volume testing is one of those few steps to get a better understanding of whether the product is ready to be launched or not. A good example of volume testing would be an e-commerce platform. The team must be aware of how the software is going to behave if the number of users is suddenly increased (seasonal sales, clearance, or new product launch). If the average number of users is around 900-1000, the number of active users during a sale season can reach 20.000-30.000. What kind of problems might occur? Long load time, poor response time, and bottleneck (one component of the system slowing down the overall operating process because of not keeping the pace with the rest of the system).
Another volume testing in software testing with example would be a platform where millions of people download video/music files simultaneously. How will it behave if the traffic is drastically increased? How fast will it respond?
How to Perform
There are a couple of things to consider when preparing how to perform volume testing in software.
- What tools are going to be used?
- Under what conditions the tests are going to be executed?
- What kind of database would it be?
- What are considered to be normal and high volumes?
- Are the specific data volumes prepared?
It is important to gather real-life data to simulate real-world conditions and set up a test environment accurately. The team should design tests, perform them, and gather vital information, providing a report as a result. The system should be checked under both normal and abnormal conditions. What to verify in the first place?
- Data is successfully added and reflected.
- Data is successfully deleted and reflected.
- Data is successfully updated and reflected.
- There is no data loss.
- There is no crash.
- The time range between the request and the response is acceptable.
So, what is the primary purpose of volume testing and can it be ever ignored?
It is relevant to execute volume/flood testing even for software that handles different workloads. Why? In this case, the tech side of the system is thoroughly analyzed and the system overall is fully tested. The team gets a complete picture of its performance when the transferred data is low or high and a deep understanding of how the product behaves under different conditions.