Baseline & Benchmark Testing: Exploring The Dynamics Of Performance Testing


By Sharad Yadav

Baseline & Benchmark Testing: Exploring The Dynamics Of Performance Testing

The criteria for the development of software and applications have evolved with time. And this evolution is not just limited to coding practices, but the introduction of software testing practices. To make the development process adaptive and effective, these software testing practices were categorized into functional and non-functional test goals that were oriented to measure business requirements and performance standards.  

Functional testing is usually done with the purpose of measuring the functionalities for their performance and is usually done following practices like black-box testing, integration testing, regression testing, smoke testing, system testing, etc. On the other hand, non-functional testing is usually fostered by checking on performance, speed, stability, reliability, load and scalability benchmarks of the software. The non-functional testing could also be considered as a practice to check the software performance metrics under different stress conditions. 

Since we are done exploring the basics of software testing, let us dig into a bit more detail on understanding the performance testing component of the software testing process. Performance testing has two broad divisions which include ‘baseline’ and ‘benchmark’ testing.  

The testing of these metrics is done with the purpose of meeting quality standards and ensure that all service level agreements are met by the DevOps and QA-Ops teams. Let us quickly jump on the exploring performance testing metrics in detail exploring benchmark and baseline testing.   

Baseline Testing 

Baseline testing could be defined as the process of recording performance metrics of the software. This data is then used to compare the performance testing data retrieved from the application after any updates to code, hardware, network, or software are made. This data is then documented to ensure that the end product delivered to the users is completely stable and offers the desired quality. 

Significance of Baseline Testing 

Baseline testing is done with the purpose of measuring any performance degraded with time as the application or software goes through changes. In case, the results show no change in the performance, the data is then used to define measures that can help yield the baseline performance of the application in the future.  

In other words, baseline testing helps to ensure that the software or application under test offers an intact user experience in any test conditions or in case of any updates are made. Some of the key benefits of baseline testing could be highlighted as: 

  1. It can help testers to define baseline for performance goals. 
  2. Baseline testing allows detecting any possible bottlenecks that might affect the end performance 
  3. Baseline testing is a great practice for rapid performance tracking 
  4. It is an easy-to-follow process that helps add more efficiency to the end product 
  5. Baseline testing can also help to identify any errors with the configuration. 

Benchmark Testing 

On the other hand, Benchmark testing is the practice of checking performance metrics for the performance testing results that are achieved by your software testing service provider. This data is usually measures on industry standards in order to determine quality of the software. Besides, Benchmark testing helps testers to take an account of software, hardware, and network for its performance capabilities with the purpose to foster quality standards for existing as well as future versions of the software or application. 

Significance of Benchmark Testing  

Benchmark testing is a practice to meet quality standards along with SLAs. This is why the process is usually repetitive and quantifiable since the end goals are about creating a product that meets the business standards and could yield a perfect user experience. Some of the key benefits of benchmark testing could be listed as: 

  1. Benchmark testing can help in comparing performance of the product with those of competitors. 
  2. It helps to create a perfect user experience and system availability.  
  3. It can help achieve the compliance goals.  
  4. Benchmark testing can help evaluating the achieved results with those of the vendors. 
  5. Benchmark testing helps to create development best practice to achieve desired and measurable results.   

Also Read: A Comprehensive Guide on SharePoint Testing

Baseline & Benchmark Testing: The Differences 

Since most people, when informed about Baseline and Benchmark testing, tend to see no difference between the two, some of the major differences include: 

Baseline Testing 

Benchmark Testing 

Baseline testing is a practice of recording the metrics post the performance tests. 

Benchmark testing is a practice of evaluating an application against pre-defined metrics. 

Baseline testing is limited to individual software or application. 

Benchmark testing is a set of standards that are consistent for all applications. 

Baseline testing helps to test for user experience and application functionalities. 

Benchmark testing is a practice to ensure compliance while maintaining business standards and meeting SLAs.  


Rolling Deep Into Performance Testing Phases For Baseline and Benchmark Testing  

Since most modern-day application development and software, testing service providers stick with agile practices, there are certain standard testing phases of benchmark testing that could help achieve optimum performance: 

  • Planning 

This stage usually involves identification of pre-defined standards and project requirements for both benchmark and baseline testing. This phase helps the testers to identify most critical factors of the application that can affect the performance and user experience. 

  • Analysis  

This is the second stage of the testing process, where end goals and objectives related to a test process are established to ensure early error identification and offer a perfect end solution. 

  • Integration   

The integration phase needs testers to amalgamate functional and non-functional requirements of the process with approval from the stakeholders.  

  • Action  

 Last but not least, action phase is all about creating test cases, execution, and measuring the results for comparison with defined metrics.  

Metrics and Components For Performance Tests 

Performance testing emphasizes on checking the various metrics and components of the application development process. This data is checked and reviewed for every change made to the application in order to ensure that the final product is developed to meet the end user’s requirements.  

  1. Loading time 
  2. Response time 
  3. Wait time 
  4. Peak response time 
  5. Error rate 
  6. Requests per second 
  7. Transaction response 
  8. Web server throughput 
  9. CPU Utilization 
  10. Memory utilization 
  11. Disk I/O 
  12. Concurrent users 

Components of Baseline & Benchmark Testing 

Achieving the right results through baseline and benchmark testing needs you to work on three major components. These include: 

  • Workload specification (Request types and operable frequencies) 

  • Metric specification (Checking the metrics for performance measurement) 

  • Measurement specification (Checking the correctness of achieved test values) 

However, when it comes to precision with performance testing results, make sure the performance testing services should maintain consistency and control on the process. This would help understand the app architecture for critical testing. Besides, the tests should always be performed using real-browsers to test for actual load conditions while simulating different geo-locations. Such practices allow testers to finetune the test process from time to time making the most of baseline and benchmark testing. 

The Crux 

Performance testing is a process that should be initiated at the earliest stages of application development, especially when you need your product to behave in a specific manner under desired load conditions. Baseline and Benchmark testing allows you to achieve consistency in the testing process as you take assistance of tools like LoadView to meet performance goals.  

Moreover, aligning with the above defined criteria and components allows you to work on different load curves and create reports with some strict actionable insights. Above all, benchmark and baseline testing help you to create applications that can ensure desired market response while meeting the intentions of end-users. Besides, it can help you cut-off any downtime and identify any errors that might disturb the business objectives.  

[ Suggested Read: Case Study on Driving App Testing to enhance Performance ]

Good luck! 

When you and your teams are investing your time and effort in developing applications that are responsive to defined thresholds, consider taking the expert assistance on performance testing services. 

Get Pro Advice On Baseline and Benchmark Testing! Reach our experts at BugRaptors today... 


Sharad Yadav

Sharad works as a Consultant QA at Bugraptors. He is having multidimensional skills with respect to Manual testing, Mobile application testing, Game testing, Compatibility testing, Smoke testing, Responsive Testing, Sanity testing and Regression testing. He is also having expertise in preparation, development and execution of Test cases, Test procedure specifications and Test summary reports etc.

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