Benchmark is a specific standard of measurement used to measure a product or service. In short, it is a metric or point of reference to access the quality of a particular product or service. Likewise, benchmark testing is a process where testers compare the software and hardware aspect of an application or system against a stipulated standard. Besides testing the performance, benchmark testing can also test the security feature of a system or application.
Benchmark testing is a part of the software development life cycle (SDLC), where both developers and database administrators (DBAs) determine the security and performance of software and take proper measures to improve it if necessary.
Some characteristics of Benchmark Testing includes −
Every company or industry has set its performance metrics standard for benchmark testing. Any software application or website built by the organization must pass through these standards.
Each benchmark testing process is conducted by a team of developers, DBAs, and quality assurance testers (QAs).
It is used to determine and amplify the performance of an application.
Benchmark tests are repeatable.
Each test iterations starts with the same system state.
The hardware and software for benchmarking must match the production environment.
All other functions and applications remain inactive while running the test unless the scenario demands it.
The goal and objectives of Benchmark Testing are as follows −
To confirm the system's performance doesn't falter after implementing specific changes.
To ensure the system meets the performance requirements or service level agreement (SLA). It is evaluated by performing a series of tests along with running iterative cycles of performance testing.
To check the application performance after hardware upgrades.
To determine the point where a software application will exhaust completely if a new load is added.
The application covers the minimum specifications based on response time and user load, including several other performance requirements as stated in the SLA.
There is a tremendous demand for Benchmark testing in the software industry for its diverse area of application. It is used for −
Determining browser compatibility
Analyzing broken links
Checking browser compatibility
Evaluating link popularity
Checking load time and application's overall accessibility
The steps to conducting an ideal benchmark test plan are as follows −
Scale and invoke the workload
Accumulate and store the measurements for the test
Determine the test's timeframe
Prepare a backup plan in case of a test case failure
Establish proper authority to handle the start and termination of the entire process
There is a total of four phases of benchmark testing, with each phase playing an essential role. Throughout these phases, a tester is allowed to plan and organize the process and make sure the results live up to the client's expectations.
The four phases of benchmark testing as follows −
Planning −It includes the steps required for deciding the benchmark criteria. The testing team identifies and determines the best standards and requirements. Overall, it is the initial stage that defines the benchmark criteria.
Analysis −It involves the process of setting the goals as decided by the company. This is the phase where the team identifies the underlying cause behind an error and finds ways to improve the quality.
Integration −Once the analysis is done, the team shares the outcome with the development and database team. Once the suggestions are approved, the team then establishes the functional goals for the next phase.
Action −This procedure involves developing the test plan and documentation for the benchmark testing. All actions decided in the integration phase are executed, and the concerned authority monitors the progress. Then the entire process is run continuously until all set goals are achieved.
Benchmark testing helps testers and developers detect any possible application errors after it is released in the market. It is a testing process where test suites are repeated until they met the SLA.
Some critical components of benchmark testing are −
Workload specifications − It involves identifying the type and repetition of a request submitted to the system under test or SUT.
Specifications of metrics −In this process, testers and developers draft the essential elements needed to be measured.
Specifications of measurements −This is the step where the testing team decides the ways to measure the specified elements using appropriate values.
It's important for testers and developers to arrange all the requirements necessary to conduct successful benchmark testing.
Testers and developers must ensure −
All the software components are in the precise condition
The test cases are consistent and proper control are availed
The team is fully aware of the system architecture, design test criteria, and test data
The system architecture and design has been considered before performing the test
The test is run under the same environmental condition
All software and hardware components have been met as per the production environment
The initial static data are thoroughly inspected and updated as per the number of users
The operating system is updated and properly configured with the test
All system elements are classified based on their functionalities
Benchmark testing serves as an essential part of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). It provides a repeatable array of quantifiable metrics, allowing testers and developers to compare software or hardware system performance.
Benchmarking testing tools are classified by specific categories. You can use tools like prime95, nova bench, 3DMark, and SiSoftware Sandra for testing Windows PCs. For testing CPU performance, cinebench and geek bench is excellent. For mobile devices and system speed, you can go for Phoronix (Linux), vellamo (web browsing performance), and CPU-M (CPU benchmark test). Likewise, if you are upto the comparative benchmark test, then Everest ultimate edition is the best.
Benchmark testing helps database managers and developers understand how the software or system will react under different conditions.
A successful benchmark testing can help with creating crucial test scenarios for −
Finding methods for coding data
Checking the change in transaction rate under heavy load
Change in application behavior during a new release