Avoiding the Grinch this Holiday Season: Load Testing
Test and Monitor | Posted November 08, 2012

Scalability testing is a critical part of pre-holiday preparation for online retailers. This is by no means surprising to anyone. A logical starting point is to understand your peak traffic from last holiday season and work with the business to determine what this year's expectations are. Judging by the Q3 growth stats of 15.9% and the Q2 results of 15%, it's going to be a blockbuster season for many.

While it might be useful to my own ego to wax a little about my own thoughts on load testing, it's probably best if I just share recent posts from the trenches. Here's what our own guru, Mike Punsky, has offered on the SmartBear blog this year about his load testing practice experiences.

One thing to add is that if your organization hasn't already run tests in preparation for this year’s holiday traffic, time is running out. Remember, testing is only the first step, and often the easiest. Once testing has completed, it is time to analyze the results and perform any necessary remediation. Some of these fixes are quick (database indexing, code refactoring, etc.), while others take time – things like ordering new hardware that will require software installation and configuration, integration into your existing infrastructure, and additional testing to ensure that everything has been done correctly. The clock is ticking!

Finally, I'd like to mention a little capacity planning bonus that companies can get for free just by having a good Web performance monitoring and Web analytics strategy in place. Real life actually load tests your website during the course of normal business, right? By finding the peak hours from your Web analytics data, probably in terms of page views, you can easily map the Web performance metrics for those periods against peak usage to see if site performance degrades and, if so, by now much. In fact, AlertSite's service provides integration with Google Analytics to view many of those metrics integrated in our dashboard with web performance data.

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Photo credit: Turner Broadcasting System

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