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Ensuring high software performance in challenging times

With the global economic and social processes changing really fast before our eyes, it is almost a must to transfer a business to online mode in such a situation.

How to ensure the high performance of developed software products? How should those companies already presenting in the digital space adapt successfully to the conditions? Read on to find out.

Watching the global context change at the speed of light

Business representatives from many sectors of the economy were hit unexpectedly this year.

At the beginning of March, the world kept an eye on the largest sale of shares of the largest world companies since the economic crisis of 2008. Many experts have called this day “Black Monday”. In just one day, the shares price of USА and European companies decreased by 6-10%. In the new circumstances, the main goal of many large investors is not to increase profits but to mitigate the risks.

Before these events, the global economy was expected to grow by 3%. Now, experts speak about the recession, and companies are shifting to the “digital-first” paradigm to survive in the market.

Such a “path” has a flip side. On March 19, the European Commission proposed the largest streaming platforms to reduce the quality of visual content. YouTube worsened the default setting to a resolution of 480p. Amazon, Apple, and Netflix have changed the bitrate of the video stream for Europe. Facebook announced that it would cut the quality of their social networks. Even Disney+ decided to lower the bitrate.

Why so? Because high user interest increases the load caused on the servers, which can slow down or even pause the web service operations.

Even the largest global platforms were unprepared for such a sharp increase in the number of users. We can say that now we are witnessing the formation of new standards for the performance of web products.

Today, to maintain and increase the number of regular users, the platforms have to demonstrate stable operation under high and even stressful loads. But you can realize the capabilities of your software product after it has fallen or after accurate performance testing was conducted.

How to benefit from unstable conditions?

In the current situation, you can and should see the place for potential opportunities. For example, online delivery services, platforms for distance learning, and organization of remote work are already gaining momentum.

Now, it is important to prepare the product to smoothly functioning under peak loads, which can bring benefits to the business. According to Cloudflare, the current traffic growth is comparable to the period of the Olympic Games. After all, too slow or incorrect operation of the service will push away new users and force former ones to look for alternatives among the competitors.

This is why it is necessary to take into account long-term prospects. The rapid growth at the very moment may be followed by a recession process.

Ensuring software stability under risky conditions

Are you at risk? We suggest you draw attention to the following factors that may arise in case of no performance testing in place.

Providing software stability

  • Product release

Preparing to introduce a new software product on the market? Then you could have already conducted a series of tests. It is also a right decision to revise the performance requirements taking into account changes in the current potential load indicators on mobile and web applications.

Do not miss the opportunity to test your product before release, even under unexpectedly high loads.

  • Unadapted mobile app to work on different platforms

Given the limited functioning of the software product, one should not expect a sharp increase in user load. But could have, actually! With the growing interest in the service use, business benefits are expected to grow as well.

Therefore, with no preparedness of the resource for several platforms, it will most likely to become an obstacle for business development rather than a constraint.

  • New features

Software product upgrades help maintain user interest and meet current market needs. But when updating the current characteristics, one has to face difficulties. It is important to carry out not only fragmented checks of the performance of new sites, but also evaluate the capabilities of an already holistic system to function in the previous model and study the effect of changes on product performance.

Ignoring bugs when introducing new functionality can result in long-term malfunctions and huge losses because of untimely fixing.

Need professional assistance in ensuring software stability? The a1qa performance testing team is here to help.

  • Ignorance of peak load points

Understanding the “boundary” capabilities of a software product allows you to analyze the behavior of the system now and build viable forecasts more accurately.

Performance testing can help you realize the critical load points on the system, thus, getting unambiguous answers to the following questions:

  1. What are the peak load points?
  2. How does the behavior of the system at these points differ?
  3. For how long is the system able to work with a sharp increase in load?
  • Switching to new software

Software amendments present risks for the product stability. For instance, to make sure that the system is operating as required after migrating to a new database management system (DBMS), it is worthwhile to conduct a series of load tests.

This approach will help identify differences in the behavior of the system in familiar and new conditions.

To mitigate the influence of these factors on the health of the software product, take some emergency measures to stabilize the system’s performance.

Supporting software product stability: three emergency measures

To speed up the stabilization of a software product while increasing user load, you can take the first steps by yourself and ensure:

  • Download optimization

By temporarily reducing the amount of visual content or turning to file compression, you can reduce the loading time of each page. The scenario of minimizing the size of CSS and JavaScript files can also help the pages load faster.

  • Server capabilities changes

You also need to make sure that the system has no limits on the permissible number of connections or other restrictions. At the moment of moving to the peak load, it is worth developing the site’s throughput capabilities.

  • Resource scaling

Even if you are now handling the user load, tomorrow, you may need a room to maneuver. We advise to get some more software or hardware systems for processing requests.

Ensuring software stability

In this situation, there are even more effective measures that can be taken.

  • Set up system monitoring to determine the most loaded components.
  • Increase the capacity of the infrastructure on which the application is deployed using cloud solutions.
  • Configure the profiling of the DB and servers to identify the slowest queries, analyze them in order to optimize the query processing time.

The next active action to be undertaken is to conduct performance testing. The a1qa performance team is here to ascertain that your software product is ready for significant loads, to find system bottlenecks, and give recommendations of quality improvement:

  • With the traffic increase, we see the number of users and the amount of information stored in DB growing. To ensure the ability of the system to cope with this growth, volume testing is carried out.
  • Testing the software configuration helps determine the best combination of the server components, which reduces the cost of resources needed to maintain the environment.
  • Stability testing helps determine the optimal scalability options with a sharp load increase or decrease. Automating the behavior of the system in such conditions helps save resources multifold.

In this article, we described in more detail the approach to performance testing and the main stages of this process.

Summarizing

Current global challenges that arise due to urgent transformation are a great opportunity to provide a new incentive for business development. The quarantine measures made people spend more time online, and such a rapid increase in interest to online products allow businesses to diversify risks.

Increased traffic leads to unstable application functioning, which can be solved by applying performance testing helping identify peak load points as well as determine the behavior of the system during prolonged use.

Does your product need a piece of a QA expert advice on quality assurance issues? Contact us to get a personal consultation.

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