Manual Testing or Automated Testing

Once it is clear that load testing is absolutely necessary for the project, the project will then have to decide on the methodology for executing the load tests. The options before a project are, typically:

  • Manual Testing
  • Automated Testing

There could be other options as well where the project can decide a combination of manual and automated tests. There are advantages and disadvantages of manual testing and automated testing. The following table summarizes the merits and demerits of the 2 options:

Pros and Cons of Manual Testing or Automated Testing

Manual Testing

Pros:

  • Provides a Better control on the test plan.

Cons:

  • Difficult to alter the load on the system without increasing the number of people involved in the testing
  • Requires significant logistics to arrange the required number of personnel for the testing
  • Opportunity cost of the required number of resources for this exercise make it very expensive. For eg. At a rate of x$ per resource and with 50 users to do the testing the cost of manual testing can be atleast 50x per hour.

Automated Testing

Pros:

  • Better control on the number of iterations to perform and on the load to be exerted on the system

Cons:

  • Requires lead time to configure once the test plan has been frozen.
  • Once the test plan has been configured, it requires significant effort to reconfigure the system if the test plan changes
  • Requires purchase of an automated testing tool, purchase of licenses for say 50 concurrent users and engaging the consulting services of an expert tool user for executing the automated testing.

If the implementing organization already owns licenses of an automated testing tool such as Load Runner or WinRunner along with the license for the required number of concurrent users, the incremental cost of an automated testing will only be that of the consulting charges of the automated testing tool expert.

If the project team decides to go for an automated testing, the tool and version to be used for testing will depend a lot on the tool that is currently being used within the client’s organization. If the client does not have any tool for automated testing, the selection of the tool will depend a lot on cost constraints and the scope of load testing. Also, Tool selection will involve a very elaborate analysis of different tool functionality.

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