Load testing is meant to test the system by constantly and steadily increasing the load on the system till the time it reaches the threshold limit. It is the simplest form of testing which employs the use of automation tools such as LoadRunner or any other good tools, which are available. Load testing is also famous by the names like volume testing and endurance testing.
The sole purpose of load testing is to assign the system the largest job it could possible handle to test the endurance and monitoring the results. An interesting fact is that sometimes the system is fed with empty task to determine the behaviour of system in zero-load situation.
For example, to check the email functionality of an application, it could be flooded with 1000 users at a time. Now, 1000 users can fire the email transactions (read, send, delete, forward, reply) in many different ways. If we take one transaction per user per hour, then it would be 1000 transactions per hour. By simulating 10 transactions/user, we could load test the email server by occupying it with 10000 transactions/hour.
Under stress testing, various activities to overload the existing resources with excess jobs are carried out in an attempt to break the system down. Negative testing, which includes removal of the components from the system is also done as a part of stress testing. Also known as fatigue testing, this testing should capture the stability of the application by testing it beyond its bandwidth capacity.
The purpose behind stress testing is to ascertain the failure of system and to monitor how the system recovers back gracefully. The challenge here is to set up a controlled environment before launching the test so that you could precisely capture the behaviour of system repeatedly, under the most unpredictable scenarios.
As an example, a word processor like Writer1.1.0 by OpenOffice.org is utilized in development of letters, presentations, spread sheets etc Purpose of our stress testing is to load it with the excess of characters.
To do this, we will repeatedly paste a line of data, till it reaches its threshold limit of handling large volume of text. As soon as the character size reaches 65,535 characters, it would simply refuse to accept more data. The result of stress testing on Writer 1.1.0 produces the result that, it does not crash under the stress and that it handle the situation gracefully, which make sure that application is working correctly even under rigorous stress conditions.
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