Welcome!

DevOps Journal Authors: Trevor Parsons, Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Silverlight, Java, SOA & WOA, .NET, Virtualization, Cloud Expo, DevOps Journal

Silverlight: Article

Combining Agile with Load and Performance Testing: What Am I in For?

Load and performance testing successfully in an Agile way can save an organization a lot in costly bug fixes

Agile software development isn't really a "new" trend anymore. I mean, the Agile Manifesto turns 13 years old next month and while that might be early adolescence in human years, it's downright ancient as far as trends in IT are concerned. However, one area that has yet to fully mature is the implementation of non-functional testing practices in a Continuous Testing sort of way that can keep pace with more Agile development teams. Load and performance testing definitely fall into that category. You might be a performance tester on a team that is just starting to do more iterative development or a more experienced Agile tester looking to add load and performance testing to your workflow; either way, you'll likely want to know what you're in for.

Agile development practices can help teams achieve faster time to market, adapt to changing requirements, provide a constant feedback loop, etc. The benefits of load and performance testing include determining how much load an application can handle before it crashes in production, when to add another server, when to reconfigure the network, where code needs to be optimized, etc.  What is less well known is the fact that the combination of the two practices can lead to additional benefits that go beyond just the sum of the benefits of each practice, i.e. 1+1=3.

Some of these benefits include:

Avoiding Late Performance Problem Discovery
When load and performance testing are pushed off until the end of a development cycle, there is often little to no time for developers to make changes. This can cause teams to push back release dates and delay getting features out the door that customers need. Alternatively, if the issues are minor, teams may decide to proceed and launch the application into production while accepting the heightened risks.  If the performance problems are more fundamental, they could even require painful architectural changes that could take weeks or months to implement.

Making Changes Earlier When They Are Cheaper
By including load and performance testing in Continuous Integration testing processes, organizations can catch performance issues early before they get much more costly to fix. Developers can instantly know that the new feature in the latest build has caused the application to no longer meet Service Level Agreements (SLAs). They can fix the problem then and there before it becomes exponentially more expensive. This is especially true on Agile teams when discovering a performance problem weeks later could mean that it actually occurred several builds ago which makes the task of pinpointing the root cause a nightmare.

Guaranteeing Users Get New Features, Not New Performance Issues
In some Agile organizations, changes are happening incredibly fast. It's possible for a new feature or some new functionality to get checked into source control, run through a Continuous Integration build, pass all of the automated tests, and get deployed to the production server in a matter of minutes. But if that code wasn't optimized to handle the number of simultaneous users seen at the worst peak times, it could cause the whole system to crash. Integrating load testing into the process before these changes are deployed to production can ensure that your users get all the goodies they want without the bad user experiences. This can save your company thousand or even millions in lost revenue from users switching to competitors' apps or bashing your brand because of the problems they experienced with your app.

In the same way that combining Agile with load testing can provide unique benefits, it can also present your teams with unique challenges they may not have experienced in the past.

Shorter Development Cycles Require More Tests in Less Time
Load and performance testing are usually pushed off until the end of a development cycle. With Agile, development, cycles are much shorter, and load & performance testing can get pushed off until the last day of a sprint or sometimes it's done every other sprint. This can often result in code being released without being adequately tested or user stories slipping to the next release once they have been tested. Conceptually the solution is to do the testing earlier in the development cycle, but that's easier said than done with many teams lacking the resources and tools to make it happen.

"Working" Code Does Not Always Perform Well
So much focus for developers on Agile teams is put on delivering "working" code, but is code really "working" if it fails when the application is under load? Should user stories and tasks really be marked as "done" if the code associated with them causes the application to crash with 100 users? What about 1,000? 100,000? The pressure to get code out the door is high, but so is the cost of having an application crash in production.

Developers Need Feedback NOW
Agile developers need to know more than just the fact that their code is causing performance issues: they need to know when their code started causing problems and what story they were working on when the issue started. It's a huge pain for developers to be forced to go back and fix code for a story they worked on weeks or months ago. It also means they can't spend time working on getting new features out the door. Detecting performance issues early in the cycle so you can deliver important feedback to developers quickly is crucial to saving costs.

Automating the Handoff from Dev to Ops Can Feel Risky
While DevOps and Continuous Deployment are still fairly young practices, the fear felt by operations teams that new changes in code will slow down or even crash the application when it is deployed in production has been around forever. Automating some of the testing in the Continuous Integration process can help to ease some of this fear, but without adequate performance testing included, the risk is still real. Ops teams know well the huge impact application downtime can have on the business.

As daunting as some of these challenges seem, don't lose sight of the benefits you'll receive. Load and performance testing successfully in an Agile way can save an organization a lot in costly bug fixes and could make a tester a hero to both development and operations teams alike.

Not quite sure how to get started? Stay tuned for my next blog on best practices for Agile load and performance testing.

More Stories By Tim Hinds

Tim Hinds is the Product Marketing Manager for NeoLoad at Neotys. He has a background in Agile software development, Scrum, Kanban, Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and Continuous Testing practices.

Previously, Tim was Product Marketing Manager at AccuRev, a company acquired by Micro Focus, where he worked with software configuration management, issue tracking, Agile project management, continuous integration, workflow automation, and distributed version control systems.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@DevOpsSummit Stories
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Among the proven benefits, DevOps is correlated with 2...
Leysin American School is an exclusive, private boarding school located in Leysin, Switzerland. Leysin selected an OpenStack-powered, private cloud as a service to manage multiple applications and provide development environments for students across the institution. Seeking to meet rigid data sovereignty and data integrity requirements while offering flexible, on-demand cloud resources to users, Leysin identified OpenStack as the clear choice to round out the school's cloud strategy. Additionally, the school sought a partner to provide OpenStack infrastructure deployment and operations expert...
We are all here because we are sold on the transformative promise of The Cloud. But what good is all of this ephemeral, on-demand infrastructure if your usage doesn't actually improve the agility and speed of your business? How must Operations adapt in order to avoid stifling your Cloud initiative? In his session at DevOps Summit, Damon Edwards, co-founder and managing partner of the DTO Solutions, will highlight the successful organizational, process, and tooling patterns of high-performing companies that have reshaped their Operations to enable the business to get full value from their Clo...
Software-driven innovation is becoming a primary approach to how businesses create and deliver new value to customers. A survey of 400 business and IT executives by the IBM Institute for Business Value showed businesses that are more effective at software delivery are also more profitable than their peers nearly 70 percent of the time (1). DevOps provides a way for businesses to remain competitive, applying lean and agile principles to software development to speed the delivery of software that meets new market requirements. IBM's new DevOps Innovation Services help address the challenge of s...
Docker offers a new, lightweight approach to application portability. Applications are shipped using a common container format and managed with a high-level API. Their processes run within isolated namespaces that abstract the operating environment independently of the distribution, versions, network setup, and other details of this environment. This "containerization" has often been nicknamed "the new virtualization." But containers are more than lightweight virtual machines. Beyond their smaller footprint, shorter boot times, and higher consolidation factors, they also bring a lot of new fea...
The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps becomes essential for any ambitious enterprise today.

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

SYS-CON Media announced today that Aruna Ravichandran, VP of Marketing, Application Performance Management and DevOps at CA Technologies, has joined DevOps Journal’s authors. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. DevOps Journal brings valuable information to DevOps professionals who are transforming the way enterprise IT is done. Aruna's inaugural article "Four Essential Cultural Hacks for DevOps Newbies" discusses how to demonstrate the value of DevOps behaviors, tools and processes. She states: "DevOps is not only hot it's the approa...
"Our premise is Docker is not enough. That's not a bad thing - we actually love Docker. At ActiveState all our products are based on open source technology and Docker is an up-and-coming piece of open source technology," explained Bart Copeland, President & CEO of ActiveState Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
At first glance, it might seem that the goals of DevOps and regulatory compliance are inherently at odds. Whereas much of the buzz around DevOps advocates delivering software at dizzying rates, compliance and security are concerned with proper oversight of the change management process to ensure that the enterprise isn’t opening itself up to potential vulnerabilities. With the tedious amount of rules and regulations that enterprises are subjected to, compliance can end up being a governor on the release process, defeating the potential benefits from adopting DevOps practices.
SYS-CON Media announced today the IBM, which offers the world’s deepest portfolio of technologies and expertise that are transforming the future of work, has launched ad campaigns on SYS-CON’s numerous online magazines such as Cloud Computing Journal, DevOps Journal, Virtualization Journal, and IoT Journal. IBM's campaigns focus on application testing, improving application development processes, common challenges in testing composite applications, continuous testing as part of the DevOps lifecycle, and deploying higher quality software faster through continuous integration testing.
Considered by many as the next step beyond Agile, DevOps has proven to be effective at accelerating development cycles, improving performance, reducing bugs and overall improving the innovation and velocity of development teams. There are a couple ways to look at DevOps: first, DevOps is a development methodology based on continuous integration and continuous delivery supported by set of configuration management tools such as Chef, Puppet, Salt and Ansible. We can also think of DevOps as a simpler set of principles that guide development and deployment practices – automate everything, monitor...
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, explored the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research data, war stories, case studies, and recommendations on how to: Embrace, source, consume, and expose shared...
Software is eating the world. Companies that were not previously in the technology space now find themselves competing with Google and Amazon on speed of innovation. As the innovation cycle accelerates, companies must embrace rapid and constant change to both applications and their infrastructure, and find a way to deliver speed and agility of development without sacrificing reliability or efficiency of operations. In her Day 2 Keynote DevOps Summit, Victoria Livschitz, CEO of Qubell, discussed how IT organizations can automate just-in-time assembly of application environments - each built fo...
Our expectations for buying all sorts of consumer goods has gone through a radical transformation we now take for granted. Why should we not expect this same level of service from IT businesses? We accept the status quo for how software delivery exists today but would reject it without hesitation if it were applied to pretty much any other online consumer experience. Take pizza delivery as an example. Fifteen years ago ordering a pizza meant trying to choose an item from a grease-stained menu somebody shoved under your door. You'd make a phone call and end up speaking to somebody who sounded ...
AppDynamics is the next-generation application performance management solution that simplifies the management of complex, business-critical apps. No one can stand slow applications - not IT operations and development teams, not the Chief Information Officer, and definitely not end users. With AppDynamics, no one has to tolerate slow performing apps ever again. AppDynamics customers include TiVo, AMICA Insurance, Expedia and StubHub.
Roger: Could you explain for our audience the significance of containerization, and how it differs from virtualization? Ben: Traditional virtualization was created over a decade ago, when applications were long-lived, monolithic, and deployed to a single server. In this world, when the problem to be solved was proliferation of single purpose physical servers – e.g. one server for Microsoft exchange, one server for Mac Print, one server for a custom Unix inventory -- it made sense to turn all of those single-purpose physical servers into single purpose virtual servers. The VM was created, whi...
In his keynote at DevOps Summit, David Tesar, Microsoft Technical Evangelist on Microsoft Azure and DevOps, will discuss how Microsoft teams who have made huge progress with a DevOps transformation effectively utilize operations staff and how challenges were overcome. Regardless of whether you are a startup or a mature enterprise, whether you are using PaaS, Micro Services, or Containerization, walk away with some practical tips where Ops can make a significant impact working with the development teams. Operational teams and functions are increasingly more important as the industry delivers so...
Founded in 1997, ActiveState is a global leader providing software application development and management solutions. The Company's products include: Stackato, a commercially supported Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that harnesses open source technologies such as Cloud Foundry and Docker; dynamic language distributions ActivePerl, ActivePython and ActiveTcl; and developer tools such as the popular Komodo Edit and Komodo IDE. Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, ActiveState is trusted by customers and partners worldwide, across many industries including telecommunications, aerospace, software, fina...
In today's application economy, enterprise organizations realize that it's their applications that are the heart and soul of their business. If their application users have a bad experience, their revenue and reputation are at stake. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anand Akela, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Application Performance Management at CA Technologies, will discuss how a user-centric Application Performance Management solution can help inspire your users with every application transaction.
The impact of DevOps in the cloud era is potentially profound. DevOps helps businesses deliver new features continuously, reduce cycle time and achieve sustained innovation by applying agile and lean principles to assist all stakeholders in an organization that develop, operate, or benefit from the business’ lifecycle. In his session at DevOps Summit, Prashanth Chandrasekar, General Manager at Rackspace, will exam whether / how companies can work with external DevOps specialists to achieve "DevOps elasticity" and DevOps expertise at scale while internally focusing on writing code / developme...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Zentera Systems, an industry visionary delivering hybrid-cloud management solutions, will exhibit at DevOps Summit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Zentera Systems, Inc.™ is a Silicon Valley based private company, providing a Cloud Federation Platform (CFP) built on a virtualization architecture with patent-pending technology to address virtual network, cloud firewall, data protection and transport automation within and across cloud domains. Zentera is solving the security ...
The recent trends like cloud computing, social, mobile and Internet of Things are forcing enterprises to modernize in order to compete in the competitive globalized markets. However, enterprises are approaching newer technologies with a more silo-ed way, gaining only sub optimal benefits. The Modern Enterprise model is presented as a newer way to think of enterprise IT, which takes a more holistic approach to embracing modern technologies. This model makes use of Composable Enterprise framework put forward by Jonathan Murray of WMG.
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With “smart” appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user’s habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can’t be addressed w...