Despite having a great team of engineers, IT organizations are struggling to meet businesses application performance goals. These difficulties are encountered especially in meeting application quality, scalability, and speed performance.
Meaning of Performance Engineering
Performance engineering is a broad set of processes and techniques which are applied during a software development life cycle.
The concept of performance engineering has expanded to the point where the term is used to describe the processes, people, and technologies that have an impact on the optimization of application performance prior to product deployment.
The term Performance Engineering is used to describe the procedures that people and technologies required to effectively plan and execute the performance testing strategy.
Performance-related results have caused apps and websites to fail, therefore the need for a robust and well planned, and executed performance testing strategy needs to be involved as a core component.
According to Gartner, the essential cause for many performance issues points to the flaws in the architecture, which it’s very difficult to fix and it comes at a high cost.
If we make a bold estimation, mobile, web, cloud, social media channels and the computing activities run backstage, for which many of us aren’t aware that they exist, has raised the expectations of users having a quality application/product that delivers a qualitative and satisfactory experience to the end-user.
It’s worth to be mentioned that the term Quality is broadened because of the connectivity possibilities that applications have to interact with each other, the different place and forms of data storage, their accessibility, and other reasons.
When we say Quality product the term encompasses the user experience, quality of service, performance, and availability.
Despite being a necessity for incorporating performance engineering in the life cycle of the products for fulfilling the needs and ensuring a qualitative product to be delivered as the end-product, many organizations still aren’t aware of this comprehensive meaning of quality.
On the other hand, the organizations that passed the awareness level, aren’t sure if they are able to implement successfully the right approach that might create circumstances for achieving the best engineering performance.
Performance Engineering Approach
We aforementioned one of the main reasons what causes the failure of products, and that is the weak structure design or architecture of the projects.
Every project in its conceptual phase, based upon the cost of investment, revenue expectation, and other indicators, should identify the main critical business processes, what and who to include in the team of testing and monitoring the performances.
Fortunately, there are best practices that help optimization of application performance and the behavior of production systems which increases the possibility of a product becoming successful.
According to Gartner, the key points of a thorough performance engineering approach that contribute to increasing application development constitute the following:
Defining performance requirements
Performance optimized design
Coding with performance in mind
Continuous performance testing as part of the CI (Continuous Integration) process
Testing in production
Performance monitoring, including real-user monitoring (RUM)
Being cautious in not skipping these steps will help improve the application performance and the effectiveness of the production system.
These best practices will contribute to better understanding the end-user experience which is crucial for tuning load-testing possibilities and performance engineering parameters overall.
Business runners should study and utilize these and other best practices of performance engineering in order to reduce technical debt and thus accelerate the delivery of products.
Good vs Bad Performance Engineering requirements
Oftentimes (unfortunately) the applications are designed to be built fast and delivered to the user not wondering too much about the pains it can cause later.
Having in mind the primary goal of delivering the product with the desired functionality, engineers are forced to skip the performance behaviors.
The “scary” part of low-performance applications and flaws starts when the volume of code, the number of users, and the overall complexity of transitions increases, this way technical debt is collected.
An exact and precise guide with performance requirements needs to be defined before starting the application development. On the contrary, poorly defined performance requirements is an unwanted “door” open for different interpretation which leads to ambiguity and other misinterpretations.
Below we can see one example of Good vs Bad Performance requirements;
The performance itself must be treated as a separate and important goal from the goal of delivering the product fast and complete.
If the performance isn’t included as a requirement to be followed from the beginning by engineers, most probably you are setting up yourself for failure.
Performance engineering objectives
Business requirements are what drive performance engineering, hence, the aim is to provide better business value for the organization by testing and monitoring potential issues early in the development cycle of the product.
Main objectives that Performance Engineering brings to the organizations;
Increase business revenue by ensuring the system can process transactions within the requisite timeframe
Eliminate system failure requiring scrapping and writing off the system development effort due to performance objective failure
Eliminate late system deployment due to performance issues
Eliminate avoidable system rework due to performance issues
Eliminate avoidable system tuning efforts
Avoid additional and unnecessary hardware acquisition costs
Reduce increased software maintenance costs due to software impacted by ad hoc performance fixes
Reduce additional operational overhead for handling system issues due to performance problems
Identify future bottlenecks by simulation over a prototype
Increase server capability
Tools that can assist in performance testing practices:
IBM — Rational Performance Tester
Neotys — Neoland
CA Technologies — BlazeMeter
Eggplant — Eggplant Performance, etc.
Tools that can assist in application performance monitoring:
Cisco — AppDynamics
How Adservio can help
At Adservio, we believe that continuous and early monitoring performance primary leads to better decision-making and secondly to a more secure and long-lasting project.
Therefore, we pay close attention to the following three-step performance development phases for securing a scalable development, better optimization, and a high level of performing maintenance.
These three phases are focused on following the best practices in the Business and in its Technical perspectives, as well as the Establishment of resources.
Adservio’s Performance Engineering Approach
We highly recommend implementing a shift-left (meaning, the early testing in the product lifecycle and often) and shift-right (meaning, testing in production, preparing for undefined and unexpected issues) approach, which in return enables early detection of bottlenecks and this automatically contributes in avoiding technical debt.
Try to define meaningful performance requirements before the beginning of application development.
Remember that performance is not just the responsibility of the developer, either the tester or the operations team. Key stakeholders from business, the users, and the IT team should be engaged in this process.
Functional requirements and Performance criteria should be optimized and thus, performance needs to be defined as an explicit requirement.
We should always try to state precise and measurable performance targets (as seen in the table above). This way you are able to ask for tests to run against those predictions.
If you need assistance in evaluating, setting clear goals, and /or implementing needed requirements for monitoring and testing your performance engineering processes, feel free to reach us!
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