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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Overview of Reporting on response time at various levels of load, Fail-over Tests, Fail-back Testing

Expected output from a load test often includes a series of response time measures at various levels of load. It is important when determining the response time at any particular level of load, that the system has run in a stable manner for a significant amount of time before taking measurements.
For example, a ramp-up to 500 users may take ten minutes, but another ten minutes may be required to let the system activity stabilize. Taking measurements over the next ten minutes would then give a meaningful result. The next measurement can be taken after ramping up to the next level and waiting a further ten minutes for stabilization and ten minutes for the measurement period and so on for each level of load requiring detailed response time measures.

Failover tests verify of redundancy mechanisms while the system is under load. This is in contrast to load tests which are conducted under anticipated load with no component failure during the course of a test. For example, in a web environment, failover testing determines what will happen if multiple web servers are being used under peak anticipated load, and one of them dies.
Failover testing allows technicians to address problems in advance, in the comfort of a testing situation, rather than in the heat of a production outrage. It also provides a baseline of failover capability so that a sick server can be shutdown with confidence, in the knowledge that the remaining infrastructure will cope with the surge of failover load.

After verifying that a system can sustain a component outage, it is also important to verify that when the component is back up, that it is available to take load again, and that it can sustain the influx of activity when it comes back online.

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