Friday, August 3, 2007

Classify Performance Tests: IVECTRAS

This is the second installment of a currently unknown number of posts about heuristics and mnemonics I find valuable when teaching and conducting performance testing.
Other posts about performance testing heuristics and mnemonics are:
I have struggled for over 7 years now with first figuring out and then trying to explain all the different "types" of performance tests. You know the ones:
  • Performance Test
  • Load Test
  • Stress Test
  • Spike Test
  • Endurance Test
  • Reliability Test
  • Component Test
  • Configuration Test
  • {insert your favorite word} Test
Well, I finally have an alternative.
IVECTRAS is valuable for classifying performance tests (or test cases if you like that term better) and performance test objectives. Better still, it is easy to map to Criteria, Requirements, Goals, Targets, Thresholds, Milestones, Phases, Project Goals, Risks, Business Requirements, Scripts, Suites, Test Data, etc. Yet even better, you can use it as a heuristic to assist with determining performance testing objectives and performance test design. So what is it?
To determine, design or classify a performance test objective or test, ask is this an:
response TIMES and/or RESOURCE consumption
under ANTICIPATED or STRESSFUL conditions
For me (and my clients since I came up with this) there is a lot less confusion when one says "We need to INVESTIGATE COMPONENT level RESOURCE consumption for the application server under STRESSFUL conditions" than it is to say "We need to do a unit stress test against the application server." Even if there are still questions to be answered after applying IVECTRAS, at least the questions should be more obvious -- and if nothing else, *that* adds value for me.
Scott Barber
Chief Technologist, PerfTestPlus, Inc.

Co-Author, Performance Testing Guidance for Web Applications
Author, Web Load Testing for Dummies
Contributing Author, Beautiful Testing, and How To Reduce the Cost of Testing

"If you can see it in your mind...
     you will find it in your life."
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