Stress Testing Meaning and How it is Performed

Stress testing in technology is the deliberate intense testing of a computer’s hardware or software performance to evaluate the impact of adverse and extreme or unfavorable conditions on its performance and determine the stability of the system under such abnormal operational capacities. Being that most systems are build with the assumption of normal operational conditions, stress testing is conducted thoroughly with an intensity that overrides normal operations which may lead a system to its breaking point just to observe the behavior of the system under such intense conditions. The objectives of stress testing include:

  • To ensure a system’s intended performances are met.
  • To determine stability of operations of a part or a system beyond
    normal operational standard usage
  • To determine the user limits of a system and obtain its breaking
    points

How stress testing is performed

Stress testing is mostly performed by reliability engineers who conduct the tests under expected stress conditions as well as extreme stress conditions to prepare users on the operating life of a hardware or software and to record the causes of hardware or software failure for future reference. The process of stress testing can be performed as quantitative tests conducted in the lab like measurement of frequency of system crashes or frequency of errors during the testing process.

Stress testing in software is performed through breaking transactions of software by loading concurrent users beyond normal levels to determine the system’s weakest link even where the database does not have any load. This determines the ability of the software to handle errors that might occur under extremely heavy traffic loads to prevent it from crashing due to insufficient
resources. In CPU, stress testing is performed by establishing heavy system loads and testing for any hangs or crashes on theCPU to determine whether the CPU can withstand the heavy loads.

Hardware stress testing is performed by establishing abnormal environmental changes to ensure the stability of the hardware under adverse conditions. Website stress testing is performed through establishing abnormally heavy traffic or abnormal data to determine any limitations to any of the website functionalities.