Whether you’re new to DevOps or an experienced hand, sometimes it’s a challenge to explain the difference between performance testing and performance tuning. It happens to us, too. Here’s how we describe understanding performance testing and performance tuning.
We believe load tests are your performance guardians. If the minimum performance levels you’ve set aren’t met, a build should fail. Load testing is as important as unit and functional testing, and we run our load tests with every nightly build. No matter how small our code changes are, we use load tests as safety mechanisms to make sure we didn’t accidentally torpedo our performance with a small change. (Nowadays systems, apps and dependencies can be so complex it’s difficult to predict how any change will affect the rest of the system.)
Performance testing is often mistaken for performance tuning. The two are related, but they are certainly not the same thing. To see what these differences are, let’s look at a quick analogy.
Most governments mandate that you bring your vehicles to the workshop for an inspection once a year. This is to ensure that your car meets the minimum safety standards that have been set to ensure it is safe for road use.
A website performance test can be likened to a yearly inspection — It ensures that your website isn’t performing terribly and should perform reasonably well under most circumstances.