How to Conduct a Load Test

Wednesday, August 02, 2023

Load testing is an essential part of ensuring the performance and reliability of software applications. In our previous article, we discussed how to prepare and plan for a load test, including identifying requirements, creating scripts, and setting up a testing environment. In this article, we will dive deeper into the actual process of conducting a load test, exploring the steps involved in executing the test and analyzing the results.

What are scaling tests? 

Scaling is an essential part of load testing that involves increasing the number of virtual users, transactions, or data volume to measure the system’s performance under stress. It helps identify potential bottlenecks in the system, such as hardware limitations or software bugs and allows teams to adjust the system’s configuration or hardware to improve performance.

Conducting scaling tests before running full-scale tests is a good idea because it helps teams determine the system’s capacity and ensure it can support the required load before running expensive and time-consuming tests. By doing so, teams can avoid the risk of system failures, minimize downtime, and ultimately provide a better user experience.

How to run scaling tests

Scaling tests are then run on the main test environment to establish that a single script and the expected mix of scripts can run on the available tool hardware and that the server can support the necessary loads. Bottlenecks are usually discovered and fixed during scaling tests. Baseline information about response times and the capacity of hardware is also collected to predict the results of larger tests so that you can plan and acquire the right hardware.

Scaling tests are also practiced for the definition, execution, monitoring, analysis, reports, and reset. During the scaling tests, you learn if the hardware can support the workload, otherwise, the hardware, configuration, application, or goals can be adjusted.

Full-scale testing is the formal demonstration of that capacity. In some cases, soak testing is also performed, where it is seen if the application and hardware can run for an extended period. A full-scale test should always be run at least twice, in case one of the results is a fluke.

Looking at the collected data

After a test, the collected data is analyzed to determine if the goals have been met, identify any issues or trouble spots, and how they can be fixed. Changes are then planned, such as hardware, software, or configuration adjustments, and a list of changes that can be made would form. Starting at the top of the list, changes will be applied according to which would be the quickest, cheapest, and lowest risk to implement. After each change, the test is rerun to verify that the executed solutions worked. This is also often a continuous process that is repeated until either time or money runs out.

The final report compares the results from full-scale tests to the goals and adjustments made. The final report will also communicate if the current configuration met the goals set earlier and how long this will last. Sometimes, this solution will last for some time or maybe delicate and needs further work, or sometimes the goals simply cannot be met. In most cases, testing stops before all possible improvements have been made, so the final report identifies opportunities that may improve stability or performance.

Plan Resources

In order to successfully plan and execute a project, it is important to have the right resources in place at the right time. The design process and elements provide the overall plan outline and sequence. The table below shows the various project phases and the required resource teams.

During the “gather requirements” step, everyone involved in the project will typically be needed in order to collect the necessary information. As the project moves into the create scripting environment step, the infrastructure team will provide the required test tool machines, database, and small test environment. Meanwhile, the test team will build the test tool environment.

As the project progresses into the “create scripts” step, the test team will work closely with the functional team to create the necessary scripts for the project. At the same time, the database team will start to create the reset plan.

Moving into the “create main test environment” step, the infrastructure team might be responsible for building the main test environment, depending on the client’s decision. Additionally, during this phase, the monitoring plan will be created.

During the “scaling tests and baselines” phase, the test team will run tests while the development, infrastructure, and database teams monitor the progress. The database team will also run resets as needed.

As the project reaches the “full-scale tests” phase, the same resources as in the scaling phase will be utilized. All teams will coordinate with one another to evaluate, analyze, adjust, and repeat as needed.

The final report will be led by the test team, with support from the other teams involved in the project. This report will provide an overview of the project and its results, as well as identify any opportunities for improvement. By having the right resources in place throughout the project, it is more likely that the project will be completed on time, on budget, and with the desired results.


In conclusion, load testing is a crucial process that requires preparation and design in order to ensure success. It involves a series of steps, including planning, creating scripts, scaling tests, and analyzing results. Proper load testing can prevent downtime, improve user experience, and ultimately lead to greater customer satisfaction.

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