Here’s a good interview question for a tester: how do you define performance/load/stress testing? Many times people use these terms interchangeably, but they have in fact quite different meanings. This post is a quick review of these concepts, based on my own experience, but also using definitions from testing literature — in particular: “Testing computer software” by Kaner et al, “Software testing techniques” by Loveland et al, and “Testing applications on the Web” by Nguyen et al.
Update July 7th, 2005
From the referrer logs I see that this post comes up fairly often in Google searches. I’m updating it with a link to a later post I wrote called ‘More on performance vs. load testing’.
The goal of performance testing is not to find bugs, but to eliminate bottlenecks and establish a baseline for future regression testing. To conduct performance testing is to engage in a carefully controlled process of measurement and analysis. Ideally, the software under