When building a web-site or application, it is best practice to load-test it to ensure it can handle the production load (with tools like HP LoadRunner, RadView's WebLOAD).

What do I do if the application is hosted externally? Can I load-test it? Should I? How?

Accepted Answer

The short answer: Yes, you should load test.

The longer answer: You should attempt to replicate the production environment in test. It doesn't need to be exactly the same but you should try to get as close as possible, particularly in terms of software environment and physical memory. CPU speed is less important to replicate (as long as it's reasonably similar) but you probably want to keep the number of CPUs right. Try to keep disk speed as close to the production environment as possible because this can be a significant bottleneck. Disk space is not nearly as important unless you're doing lots of writes (temporary or permanent).

You can then do your load testing on your test environment before putting it into production. This will give you an idea of how much load your application will handle. The more similar your test environment is to the production environment the more meaningful your results will be.

Written by Cameron Skinner
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