What is Soak Testing?

To ensure the quality as well as the effectiveness of the software product, software engineers perform multiple tests. Moreover, to ensure that the system behaves accurately and delivers expected performance during operating hours, software testers perform various performance tests like stress testing, load testing, etc. that verify the system’s stability and load. One such performance testing executed by the team is soak testing. To understand its importance, let us delve into a discussion on soak testing.

What is Soak Testing?

Performed among the various performance tests, soak testing, is a type of software testing that is executed by the team to verify the system’s stability and performance characteristics.

Soak tests are primarily used by organizations to test the reaction of the software under test (SUT) by putting it under a simulated environment for a given periods of time.

This type of testing usually falls under load tests and includes the ability to simulate peak loads as opposed to average ones. Soak testing is used to verify whether a system may behave abnormally after being used continuously for long durations.

Features of Soak Testing:

Done to determine if the system under test (SUT) can sustain the continuous load, soak testing plays a crucial role in the software testing life cycle (STLC). It is conducted by the team at the system level to verify the behavior of the software outside its expectations. Other features that help us get a better understanding of this testing are as follows:

  1. Soak testing is a type of non-functional testing which is also known as endurance testing.
  2. It tests the system under load (SUL) and verifies the volume of the load that it can withstand, for an extended period of time.
  3. It identifies issues related to the system’s memory leaks and allocation, log file handles, & database resource utilization.
  4. The observations made during soak testing are used by the team to improve the product under further tests.
  5. While conducting soak testing, the user needs to run the system/application continuously for a long period of time, without any halt to ensure its response time, privacy policy, and more.
soak testing infographics

Why Should You Perform a Soak Test?

Soak testing has garnered a great significance in recent years, and it is among the most vital requirements that any team needs to comply with for the successful software development and deployment. The reasons that make implementing soak testing important are:

  • It helps to identify and optimize potential problems in the software, which enables the team to avoid impaired performance or system errors.
  • With its assistance, the team can test the system to its limit over a sustained period of use.
  • Enables the team to mimic the real world usage, wherein the users continuously access the system.
  • Soak testing helps monitor how the system runs for a continuous availability period.
  • Validates whether the system can withstand a high volume of usage.
  • It helps detect issues like:
    • Memory leaks that could result in application or OS crash.
    • The gradual degradation of the system’s response time.
    • Failure to close database connections and connections between layers.

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Soak Testing Strategies:

Before executing the process of soak testing, the team of testers prepares a strategy that helps them to create a software that delivers expected performance under various load conditions. This strategy includes four stages, which are:

  1. Test Environment: The team figures out which hardware, software, database, or OS will be used to perform the soak testing.
  2. Test Scenarios: Once test environment is finalized, the testing team moves on to designing, reviewing and finalizing the test scenarios. Moreover, the development team determines the density of load under which the software will be tested.
  3. Test Estimation: During this stage the team defines the duration of the soak test, which is another essential aspect of this type of testing.
  4. Risk Analysis: Finally, the possible risks and issues are discussed and analyzed, based on which appropriate mitigation plan is prepared by the team.

Things to Consider During Soak Testing:

While conducting soak testing, it is vital for the team to consider a few critical points, which can help them improve the accuracy of testing and get accurate and expected results. Furthermore, by adopting these points, the team can track whenever the system fail or behave in an unexpected manner. These key points are:

  • Before executing the process of soak testing, the team should monitor the database resource consumptions.
  • The team ought to keep a track of the server resource consumption such as the CPU usage and more.
  • Soak testing should run with realistic user concurrency.
  • Before conducting soak testing, it should be ensured that the system works accurately under normal conditions.

Advantages of Soak Testing:

Nowadays, when ensuring the performance of a software product has become crucial, it is important that the team performs the soak test on the software to further validate its performance under severe load conditions. This testing offers not only the testing team, but the users various advantages, such as:

  • Detects, bugs, and discrepancies in the system, which were not detected by other performance tests.
  • It ensures the fitness and quality of the software and helps it withstand a high volume of load.
  • With the assistance of this testing, one can ensure the performance and usage of various system resources.
  • Shows how sustainably the software system runs over time.
  • Detects deterioration in the system’s performance.
  • The results of the soak test can be used to improve the customer’s infrastructure requirements.

Soak Testing Disadvantages:

There are several advantages associated with soak testing, yet there are few limitations that come along with this type of testing. These limitations, though, don’t impact the result of testing, should be considered before executing the test. These limitations are:

  • Soak testing is a time consuming process and can lead to the delay of product delivery.
  • The team requires testing tools to execute soak testing as it runs for a long duration and consumed excessive data.
  • If the test environment is not detached from the live environment during soak testing, then it can impact the workings of the software and lead to data loss or corruption.

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An integral part of the software testing life cycle (STLC), soak testing, is performed to identify and rectify potential problems in the system. It helps to verify the performance of the software during its operating hours and prevents system failures and crashes. Therefore, with the assistance of soak testing one can not only ensure the performance of the software but also verify its stability, reliability and quality.

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