Scale Testing Your Product: A Guide for Startup Tech Businesses

Oct 19, 2022

Scaling Up Your New Solution

Congratulations! You’ve designed your new tech product! It’s intuitive to use, functions without errors and solves all your future customers’ problems.

You’re now ready to launch into the marketplace, but before you get started, can your solution handle the number of projected new customers over the next year? How many concurrent users can it serve, and how many devices can it support without compromising performance or, worse, crashing?

If you don’t know the answer to those questions, it may be time to scale test.

What is Scale Testing?

A man is standing, seemingly reviewing data in a high tech, data storage facility.

Scalability testing is an essential part of scaling up your network solution. You can use scale testing to identify your system’s performance or network when the number of users, data points or transactions on the platform increases. The goal is to ensure your platform has reliable performance when scaled and make the necessary configuration changes to get to that point if the tests reveal areas for improvement.

When is it Time to Scale Test?

The ideal time to scale test is after you’ve created a complete product and anticipate increases in users, data, and devices. Alternatively, it’s time to scale test when you want to start commercializing to a bigger audience. Your commercialization efforts will be fruitless if your product itself can’t support growth.

What are the Advantages of Scale Testing?

Scale testing supports company growth in 4 main ways:

  1. Companies can make informed business decisions.

    Scale testing tests a platform’s ability to meet the growing needs of its user base and support projected growth. Through scale testing, companies evaluate the viability of their growth plan and business goals and readjust if necessary.

  2. Companies determine the resources they will require moving forward.

    There are costs associated with growth, whether a company chooses to use on-prem infrastructure or store their platform on a public cloud. The costs of growth vary from buying physical infrastructure to purchasing additional storage on the cloud. Companies can plan and save on these costs in the long run by scale testing.

  3. Small businesses minimize risks moving forward.

    By scale testing, companies can identify any errors or issues that appear when increasing their users, requests or devices. Scale testing is the only way companies can determine whether their product can support projected growth before mass deployment to customers, unlocking the risk of crashes or a detracted user experience.

  4. Scale testing provides stakeholders with concrete proof of a tech product’s ability to scale up.

    Knowing this information helps businesses commercialize their products for customers and investors. Clients don’t want to purchase a product or subscribe to a service without proof that there won’t be issues. Similarly, investors don’t want to invest in companies that don’t demonstrate an ability to grow and generate significant ROI.

What Types of Network Technologies can be Scalability Tested?

Software stored on-prem, private, and public cloud-based software can all be scale tested. Hardware can also be scale tested to see whether scaling devices affects product usability/efficiency.

What Kind of Network Resources are Used for Scalability Testing?

Organizations generally require access to CPUs, GPUs, and data storage to scale test. Storage needs to be increased to avoid your application reaching its limit and returning an error code.

How Do I Determine My Scale Testing Goals?

It’s essential to establish specific criteria to determine whether your test was successful or not. This makes it easier to track progress and facilitates the process of making business decisions.

Before testing begins, identify what metrics you are testing for and specific criteria for knowing whether your testing was successful.

There are typically two types of metrics used to determine scalability.

  1. Number of users (total or concurrent)

  2. Requests per unit of time (per second, minute, hour, etc.)

By incrementally scaling these metrics, you can measure the effects on different product attributes, including response time, throughput, latency, load-bearing performance, screen transitions, network usage, memory usage, and frequency of errors.

The metrics you choose to use for your scalability tests will depend on the type of platform and your goals.

A lot of the time, a company’s goals regarding scalability testing are informed by time considerations. Usually, scalability testing uses a business’s projected performance for the next 18-24 months.

Designing Scale Tests

It’s vital to scale test your platform in a logical progression that matches realistic business growth. By establishing a structured process before starting, you’ll be able to finish testing with well-defined answers on your product’s scaling results.

Scale tests need to be designed based on the specific product and their goals short-term and long-term goals.

Generally, proper scale testing processes use the following steps:

  • Determine the short and long-term market goals of the product/service being tested
  • Estimate the potential of the system – both current and future
  • Determine what is required for the product to meet the market goals (number of users, devices, etc.) and make these your scale testing goals
  • Execute tests that incrementally increase the load on the product up to the testing goals
  • Document test results, including data points and metric changes that could affect performance
  • Create a plan for moving forward, whether it’s finding ways to improve your product/service to reach your missed goal or using the test results as the parameters for scaling your product in the market with confidence

What are the Barriers to Scale Testing?

Small businesses are typically experts in their specific product/service and related technologies, not scale testing, which makes it difficult to establish a scale testing procedure catered to their projected growth and company goals. Additionally, due to the nature of scale testing, companies cannot anticipate exactly how many resources their tests will require.

Think of it this way; you don’t know how many resources you’ll need until you conduct tests. After all, the point of testing is to determine the impact of increasing users, transactions, and/or devices on your platform.

Imagine scale testing on the public cloud and then being stuck with a giant bill because you didn’t anticipate how much it would cost to run your platform at a large scale.

Scale Testing Your Solution with CENGN

Most tech companies are experts in their specific platform, not scalability testing. However, scalability testing is a necessary part of planning for your company’s future.

With a pan-Canadian presence, CENGN offers the cutting-edge commercial-grade infrastructure and expertise needed to scale test your solution.

Their team leverages the experience gained from 220+ commercialization projects to help small to medium-sized Canadian businesses determine their testing goals, identify appropriate metrics, design a unique testing process, and recognize what equipment is needed.

These services are available to Canadian small or medium-tech enterprises looking for commercial growth.

Looking to scale test your organization’s solution?

Discover how to jump the commercialization barrier and get your solution into the marketplace with a scalability project at CENGN

Author:  Charline Osborne is a Content Writer Marketing Student at CENGN (Winter 2022). She is an English major at the University of Ottawa, focusing on professional writing and professional editing.

Charline believes in the importance of clear, accessible writing, which she puts into practice through her experience as a content writer and student writing mentor.

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