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Performance Testing - University of Leicester

The University was implementing a new version of a room booking system, to allow students to book accommodation once A Level results were released. The project team wanted to ensure the system would be able to cope with the load, after problems were encountered in the previous academic year.

Prolifics Testing worked with the University to develop a test plan via a workshop session with all project stakeholders.  
Once consensus was reached on user journeys, volumes and transactions, the plan was approved and detailed test preparation was carried out.  Work was carried out remotely, using the JMeter performance test framework, in conjunction with cloud injectors, via Amazon Web Services.  A number of tests were profiled and agreed with UoL to represent both normal and peak scenarios, as well as Soak and Stress tests.

Once the plan was agreed, a set of performance scripts were developed against the user journeys within scope, to accuratley simulate all frontend activity on the application on results day.  The scripts were collated together to form scenarios, to represent each of the agreed tests to be executed on the system.

Our consultants used structured methods and experience to deliver a JMeter performance framework to test the Room Booking system and quickly identify bottlenecks before a critical period, so that fixes could be implemented.

There were issues identified immediately with the number of sessions being created for each concurrent user – 3 web server sessions were being created for each user, limiting the number of concurrent users that could simultaneously access the system to 1/3 of the number that should have been possible. There was also a problem with session timeouts being set too long, so that completed sessions were not being released quickly enough, further  limiting the concurrent users that could access the system.

Once these issues were resolved, the number of users accessing the system was increased, but even so, problems were still identified.  In particular, during the soak test, an exploratory manual test was carried out while the test was running, which caused database locking issues.  The problem alone would have caused significant problems for the University if it had not been identified in this test, proving, without doubt, the value of conducting these tests.

As a result of the issues found, the vendor developed and released a patch for the system. Once functional testing had been completed by the University successfully, the changes were implemented into the test environment and the performance tests were re-run.

 A further soak test was then run on the system, taking the number of concurrent users up to the anticipated peak levels. The tests proved that the patch had successfully remedied the problems found. The final results of the tests provided the University with the confidence that the patched system would be able to cope with the anticipated load for the August peak.

Read more about our Performance Testing Services.
Read our Guide - Performance Testing of Student Record Systems.

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