What is Benchmark Testing?
Benchmark testing allows the testing of an entire system or a module with respect to the load it bears. The literal meaning of the benchmark is a point of reference that helps in comparison to the quality of the product. It sets a standard which can help in getting the best quality of the product or the service which is being provided. In a similar manner, benchmark testing is defined as a type of software testing which helps in getting a high-quality product delivered. When a repeatable set of the quantifiable results is received which checks the present and future releases of the software to test the functionality in a way by which it is baselined or can get compared. It helps in comparing the performance of software or hardware of the system.
The benchmark testing must be repeatable so that the performance measurements can be captured, and the variation needs to be noted and it should be only a few percents every time the test is being run. This helps in changes to be made to the application in order to determine if the performance can be improved or degraded. This testing can also be combined with security testing. For example, we can consider benchmark testing firewalls. This needs that the system can be merged with different security violations simultaneously and executed so that the benchmark for performance can be determined. As a part of the Software Development Life Cycle, benchmark testing can have both developers and database administrators involved which helps in getting the current performance and then it helps in improving the performance.
How Benchmark Testing is Performed?
Benchmark testing must be performed in the same environment and the same conditions as expected so that a comparison factor can be obtained. It helps in setting up a benchmark and doing further operations accordingly. The pre-requisites for benchmark testing involve:
- It should be ensured that all software components are working accurately.
- Before the testing starts it should be checked that all operating system updates and configurations are taken care of.
- The test cases should be well defined and divided as elements as per their different functionalities.
- While the testing is being carried upon it should be checked for its consistency and control measures, as they are important factors to perform benchmark testing.
- Every time the tests are performed it should be done in the same environment and under the same conditions.
- The software and hardware components must always be in line with the requirements or specifications of the production environment as the benchmark should be set for the production. The testing should be done as if it is done in production.
After this, it is important to find out which kind of benchmark test you would like to carry forward. It can be either an infrastructure benchmark which helps in finding the throughput capabilities under certain specified conditions.
The second type is the application benchmark which helps in finding the throughput capabilities of the database under conditions that resemble the production.
Creating a Benchmark Test Plan
When going for benchmark testing, this is the most important step which needs to be handled properly. The steps for test plan creation are:
- Checking and scrutinizing the workload.
- To get accurate benchmarks it is important to have previous benchmarks and hence it is required that a collection of all stored measures is there at hand.
- Have a plan defined with timelines which can let the user know the time required and the terminal point of the test process.
- In case of any failures during the test planning then a backup plan must be created.
- To terminate the last process an authority should be decided.
Phases of Benchmark Testing
Benchmark testing involves four phases:
- Planning Phase
- Analysis Phase
- Integration Phase
- Action Phase
1) Planning Phase
In this phase, it is important to identify and prioritize different standards and requirements. It helps in deciding different benchmark criteria that help in setting up a standard and helps in delivering standard software in the least.
2) Analysis Phase
The analysis phase helps in getting a quality product and helps in identifying the root cause of any issues which were encountered earlier. By doing this you can easily identify some changes which are needed and set goals for the testing process. This aligns the testing process and helps in getting quality.
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3) Integration Phase
Integration helps in getting outcomes from everyone where they share it and a concerned person helps in getting approval. Once everything is integrated the functionalities can be decided and accordingly function goals can be set.
4) Action Phase
In this phase, the actual work is done. All the above steps can lead to develop a test plan and document the changes that are needed. Once a plan is generated implementation changes can be made and once the work is started then the progress can be monitored and accordingly the plan can be executed till completion. The above points can be run continuously until the testing is completed.
Also, there is a role of Benchmark Testing Framework which helps in performing some fundamental tasks. These tasks are Configuration, server-side composition, database access, and JSON serialization.
Benchmark Testing Techniques
The techniques for benchmark testing include setting up different benchmarks based on various factors. The techniques which will be used would be defined on these factors. In order to enhance the performance testing following things must be kept in mind.
- SQL Queries
- SQL Indexes
- SQL Procedures
- SQL Triggers
- Table Space Configurations
- Hardware Configurations
- Application Code
Benchmark Testing Techniques Phases
There are four phases while performing Benchmark testing. These are:
- Benchmark preparation
- Benchmark test creation
- Benchmark test execution
- Benchmark test analysis
Let us have a look at these individually.
In this phase, some pre-requisites must be checked. It is important to check the logical and physical design of the database. All tables, views, and indexes must be created in advance. This helps in efficiently performing the testing. You can normalize the tables, populate all data with real-time data and also ensure that all proper statistics for the benchmark are available. You can run the database and ensure that all system resources and data for testing is the same in production. All packages for a performance like a row blocking are enabled. The disk location, size of log files, back up images and test back up procedures are inline.
As discussed above, the SQL statements are also to be benchmarked. They should be either representative SQL or worst-case SQL.
Representative SQL: This SQL includes the statements which are to be executed in situations typical to benchmark testing. These statements are selected based on the nature of the application. This can be explained further by taking an example of an application that may need insert statements while there can be banking transactions that may require Fetch, Update and several insert statements.
Worst Case SQL: In this case, there can be statements that can be executed frequently. These can include statements that will be processing high volumes of data. The SQLs which have time constraints and a large number of joins can be considered in this case. In addition to these, there can be statements which have poor access path, and which do not support any indexes. Another example of worst-case SQL is a query that takes a long time for execution.
Benchmark Test creation
The main motive of this type of testing is to create a program which is similar to some existing program. This existing program will help in the creation of the benchmark. The entire application can be considered a benchmark that helps in having a set of SQL statements that can help in analysis. Whenever the application is large it is advisable to consider only the necessary import statements. These important statements can be included in creating the benchmark test creation. This must also have CONNECT, PREPARE OPEN, etc. statements that can help in having a benchmark related to time.
To execute and get the estimated time which a query takes to run is important. To simulate it is important to have estimates for each query. Although the performance time will not reveal any bottlenecks it surely improves the performance. Specific rows must be handled so that accurate simulation results are obtained. If the rows sent are incorrect it can severely hamper the performance of the CPU.
Benchmark Test Execution
To start with the testing a single parameter can be chosen and different values for this can be tried. This value should be varied until the benefit we get is maximum. The repetitive executions help you in getting reliable performance from the system and also get you different values that can be used for creating benchmarks. The runs that take place are the first run, which is the run which happens the first time and the normal runs which are run after the first run. After the testing is completed for multiple values the pool returns to a known state. After this, the parameter value can be changed. When changing the values the environment should be brought back to the original state. To get this done below steps should be performed.
- The statistics must be updated during testing and it should be ensured that the same values are used for every iteration.
- The test data which is being used must be consistent and a backup copy should be maintained which stores the previous state. Users can make use of utilities like restore an exported copy which can help in restoring the data.
Depending upon the results if the performance is improved then keep running the set of iterations until an average elapsed time is received. On the other hand, if performance degrades then the parameters can be changed to previous values and only one method can be used for the tuning parameter.
Benchmark Test Analysis
Once the execution is done all results should be saved. These results will contain identifier which can have iteration numbers, statement numbers and the elapsed time for all the executions. The summary should contain all runs with their standard times and the statements with different values.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Let us have a look at the advantages of Benchmarking
- Performance Improvement: This is one of the major reasons why benchmark testing is carried out. It enhances competitiveness and ensures that basic functionalities are delivered with high quality. You can also compare the performance with other applications in the market and improve the quality of your application. It also brings up loopholes or areas where the application is inefficient and gives a chance of improving it.
- The focus is on change: Benchmark testing forces to have a minimum standard quality product. The best practices and standards encourage you to analyze and meet and excel at the already set standards.
- No extra cost incurred: These efforts that are put in benchmark testing are cost-efficient and yield results very quickly. The benefits can be reaped as soon as we have a proper solution. The strategies and sharing of information are improved which as a result gets different minds on work which may lead to outstanding product and future discoveries.
- Identification of essential activities: To improve the product and profits it is important that a set of activities should be defined and performed always.
The disadvantages are as below:
- Standard stability: Whenever a benchmark is set the companies implement it and make it a standard. After this, the scope of improvement is lessened.
- Decreased results: when the standard is set people seldom look for more improvement.
- Increased dependency: The companies which create these benchmarked products make the other people dependent on their applications.
The main outcome of benchmark testing is promotion and huge sales. After all the discussion we can conclude that these different aspects provide the company with basic essentials which helps in having a decent standard product. The quality can be achieved by performing this test. The deadlock scenarios can be completely avoided and the best quality product or application can be delivered.
This is a guide to Benchmark Testing. Here we have discussed phases, testing techniques, Creating a benchmark, advantages, and disadvantages of benchmark testing. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more –