We can gain a lot of insight into how applications or websites perform thanks to load testing. If you’re serious about testing, running tests inside your local environment will only take you so far. Eventually you will need some kind of solution that allows you to scale. This is where cloud load testing comes into play.
Before the cloud, testing was very expensive to run. The costs associated with running & maintaining the hardware needed for performance tests were very high. As cloud services began to manifest, this no longer became the case and cloud load testing solutions would eventually bring down the costs associated with testing, making it even more accessible to all.
The (High) Costs of Testing before The Cloud
Let’s take a trip back-in-time in time before any cloud infrastructure existed. With the dotcom boom of the 90’s, it soon became evident that we needed a way to test, measure, and gauge the performance of all these new pieces of technology. Pioneers in the emerging industry of testing figured they would need ways to simulate scenarios where hundred and thousands of users were hitting a website or an API over a period of time. And they were right, that’s more or less what load testing is all about and it still holds true today. What’s changed is the cost.
There were a lot of restrictions in technology back then that made testing difficult & costly. In order to perform tests, a company would need powerful systems to simulate large loads of users. That meant that you needed to buy and set up a network of servers that could generate thousands of virtual users which was very expensive.
So people gravitated to solutions like HP LoadRunner, which would allow you to create and run scalable tests on HP’s internal network of servers. You could now rely on a larger company to take care of the infrastructure needs. While this was more affordable than purchasing your own servers, costs were still high. For example, take a look at LoadRunner’s current pricing. To run a load test with 20,000 user’s, you’re looking at $19,600 dollars. Similar pricing models set the standard for testing, however this is simply not viable anymore given what we have today.
Enter The Cloud
As cloud solutions grew in popularity they opened up the door for load testing. No longer did testers have to depend on using internal systems to generate load. Instead they used the cloud. The cloud proved to be an extremely affordable solution to the “old methods” of performance testing, in addition to being much more viable as well. Solutions like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure started to offer cloud hosting solutions that can be used for a range of different applications. They’re large enough where they can handle maintaining infrastructure on this scale, allowing users to temporarily access them for a small cost.
Costs of Testing With The Cloud
Now that cloud load testing has become one of the most popular and practical methods of load testing, costs for testing have come down. There are now multiple solutions existing that offer cheap access to load testing, as is seen with the rise of SaaS’s that offer these services.
Just examine Amazon’s or Microsoft’s pricing for their cloud servers; we’re talking about cents on the dollar for every hour that you have a server running. It’s simply more practical and affordable for users to depend on these solutions, as again, they cannot afford to run their own server farm, for example. Coupled with a solution like RedLine13 and some open source testing tools like Apache JMeter and Selenium, and you can run affordable performance tests.
Bring It All Together
Cloud-based load testing solutions are providing the testing industry with an easy and affordable solution for load tests. In the past, it would cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars to run strenuous load tests. Today, with services like AWS or Azure, load testing via the cloud has brought down the cost of testing. Couple AWS with RedLine13, and you have a powerful and cheap way to continuously run load tests.