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Load testing definitions

Posted in Acceptance testing by testing in London on January 8, 2008

From Bitpipe

Load testing is the process of determining the ability of a computer, network, program or device to maintain a certain level of effectiveness under unfavorable conditions. The process can involve quantitative tests done in a lab, such as measuring the frequency of errors or system crashes. The term also refers to qualitative evaluation of factors such as availability

From PCMag

A test of a computer system and its applications by running under a full complement (full load) of transactions or users. A load test can be real or simulated by testing software.

From Glossary of software testing terms

Load testing is any test performed with normal or extreme volumes of data, or numbers of users, typically to show stress and performance characteristics and reveal load-related defects.

One Response to 'Load testing definitions'

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  1. Scott Barber said,

    Not unsurprisingly, these three definitions conflict:

    Bitpipe: “…under unfavorable conditions.”
    PCMag: “…under a full compliment (full load) of transactions or users.”
    Glossary of software testing terms: “… with normal or extreme volumes of data, or numbers of users…”

    I could argue that Bitpipe is actually defining “Stress Testing”, PCMag is defining “Load Testing” (albeit narrowly), and that the glossary is defining “Performance Testing”, but the fact is that we are years from either agreement or agreement mattering.

    At the end of the day, it’s simply not fair to assume that any two people using the phrase “Load Testing”, “Stress Testing”, and/or “Performance Testing” mean the same thing unless they happen to have spent a significant amount of time together in discussions about what *they* mean by those terms previously.

    I acknowledge that I have definitions that I use for each of these terms and that I do use the terms in conversation; HOWEVER, when working on a project, I reject the use of these terms and instead talk about the goals of the testing to be or being conducted. I’ve decided that I’d rather spend a few extra minutes discussing what we are trying to accomplish than spend time doing the wrong thing due to a miscommunication OR spending *a lot* of time debating definitions with a group that is unlikely to agree, less likely to actually care, and completely likely to “just want to develop and deploy an application of acceptable or better quality that provides the desired functionality to the target audience.”

    While I appreciate the information that this blog presents to it’s readers, that information would be significantly more valuable if you presented consistent information or provided some discussion about why you’ve chosen to present conflicting information.


    Scott Barber
    President & Chief Technologist, PerfTestPlus, Inc.
    Executive Director, Association for Software Testing
    http://www.perftestplus.com
    http://www.associationforsoftwaretesting.org
    sbarber@perftestplus.com

    “If you can see it in your mind…
    you will find it in your life.”


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