Monday, April 18, 2011

Spike test

Spike testing is an interesting form of performance testing. According to WIkipedia:
"Spike testing, as the name suggests is done by spiking the number of users and understanding the behaviour of the application; whether performance will suffer, the application will fail, or it will be able to handle dramatic changes in load."
I know you shouldn't use the term you are defining as part of the defintion (in this case spiking in the defintion of spike testing) but if Wikipedia is doing it, who would dare suggest this! The reason that spike testing is interesting is not to do with this defintion though. It is now commonplace for a huge number of people to visit a website when it receives media coverage or is part of a viral exercise on the web. And these huge volumes can take out a website because nobody expected such volumes and therefore didn't plan or test what would happen if they came.

Given the amount invested in web applications it is surprising that the website owners don't conduct what can be a relatively straight-forward type of load test. Maybe this is an area where a little more education on the costs of conducting high volume spike tests against the risks of not doing these performance tests would be really beneficial.

Labels: ,