SaaS Performance Testing: Has Performance Testing Changed?

As enterprises increasingly realize the benefits of Software as a Service (SaaS), its use over on-premise applications continues to gain momentum globally. These cloud-based models have a lot to offer to businesses, as they operate on a rental model, foregoing the need for hardware installation. SaaS brings with it, easy access to high-end operational modules, affordability, scalability, and ease of doing business. All of this has led to a huge rise in the use of SaaS across industries, and business niches. The shift to cloud-based products rose sharply during the pandemic as enterprises sought the greater flexibility, agility, and resilience the cloud provided.

In a study, Gartner forecasts that end-user spending on public cloud services was all set to reach $396 billion in 2021 and now it will grow another 21.7% to reach $482 billion in 2022.

Like all good things, SaaS too comes with its bundle of complexities that include its systems, operational aspects, and application stacks. A good number of SaaS providers are known to have reported unsatisfied customers. The demand for sleek functionality and usability, consistent reliability, and security are among the top needs of most such disgruntled users. Among the biggest challenges in the cloud world is the difficulty of predicting and preparing for sudden surges and sharp falls in the number of users and usage. It is, therefore, imperative to put in place an appropriate SaaS Performance testing and management strategy to deal with these and other allied challenges.

saas performance testing

Goal of SaaS Performance Testing, and How it is different?

SaaS performance testing can be a complicated affair as it calls for specialized test planning that can be done only when the service provider understands the testing process along with the tools used to carry it out. The focus of any SaaS cloud performance testing is to check 3 key factors:

    • Speed – to establish that the application is fast;
    • Scalability – to determine the maximum user-load ability of the application;
    • Stability – to verify if the application performs steadily under varying loads;

Here lies the difference between conventional testing for software and performance testing for SaaS applications. The goal of performance testing for SaaS is not just to find bugs, or glitches, but to remove any performance bottleneck that might hinder application efficacy in congruence with the business’s goals and objectives.

Performance Testing particular to Cloud Applications:

Coming down to the ground level of cloud performance testing, here are the specific types that are carried out to ensure optimal application functioning:

      • Load testing to ascertain multiple user optimal performance;
      • Capacity testing to identify and benchmark the maximum traffic that the system can handle optimally;
      • Stress testing to determine how well the system responds to increased or maximum intended traffic;
      • Soak testing to measure system performance when it is exposed to heavy traffic for extended periods;
      • Failover testing to verify the system’s ability to call in additional resources under heavy traffic conditions to ensure end users’ experience is not affected;
      • Browser testing to determine its compatibility with the system;
      • Latency testing to measure time lapsed for data messages to move between different points in the cloud network;
      • Target infrastructure-testing to check each component and layer of the application by isolating and testing it for its ability to deliver required performance levels;

Concerns of SaaS Performance Testing:

Taking a close look at the way performance testing has changed for this genre of applications, one sees that there are 3 different layers of concern to it:

      • Before-release-concerns: The growing popularity of SaaS is due to its quick scalability according to the number of users at a given time. SaaS providers use auto-scaling cloud tools that save money and time that launch the cloud resources as and when they are needed and terminate them as soon as they’re not in use. .
      • After-release-concerns: Running frequent checks on updates and upgrades and installing the latest versions is a major concern as the developing company releases several of them in a year, and at times, every month. The testing process also includes fixing all software defects as reported by subscribers. Performance testing here is then to validate new features’ smooth operation, fixing bugs, and smooth functioning of all functions after the fix.
      • Before-and-after-release concerns: Even though the preference for multi-tenant architecture remains high with service providers as it saves finance, it brings along several concerns with it. It is crucial for service providers to test and ensure that critical business data is not shared with others using the same cloud resources, or by different end-users. Ensuring that there is no business-data leak is an important testing concern.

These apart, there is the major concern of API flexibility to satisfy the integration needs of new subscribers or make the solution compatible with the users’ preferred versions of web browsers. Configuration and customization testing further extend to the realm of tuning unified SaaS solutions to subscribers’ specific business logic. Customizations made at the time of installation may get damaged during the bug-fixing process. Performance testing then includes making the right amendments to keep the solution optimally running as per business needs.

Summing it up

Performance testing is integral to consistent system reliability, smooth functionality, and apt usability. When it comes to SaaS cloud applications, performance testing and management are different from those applied for conventional software solutions. The shift in the focus of testing is mainly on the areas that determine the flawless functioning of the application for the entire spectrum of conditions that end users are likely to subject the system to. In addition, there are concerns of upgrades, bug-fixing, and smooth customization functioning after such processes. These have led to a paradigm shift in the world of performance testing, its tools, and the processes used.

Connect with us to know just how to ensure your SaaS product is tested and ready for the real world.

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