Blackbaud CRM™ Application Performance: Part 1, Measurement

One critical question that Performance Testing should help answer is: “How will the application perform under a workload that simulates expected user volume and representative operations?” That question should also inform the way you carry out the performance testing process. This post will discuss the process of performance testing, from planning to what tools and methods should be used. After this post, we will share a series of posts discussing each part of the process further.

Blackbaud CRM™ Performance Testing: Planning

At a minimum, the two questions below must be considered in order to plan for application Performance Testing:

  • What is the organization’s realistic expected user volume for the system? This is an important point, because designing Performance Tests that simulate 500 simultaneous active users will require more resources and coordination than designing tests for 50 simultaneous users

  • What are the most critical application operations or processes? Also, what are the most common operations / processes?

Knowing your organization’s critical and also most common application workload items is a key starting point for building a performance test plan. In order to find these answers, get feedback and participation from your organization’s Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and users of current systems.

Blackbaud CRM™ Performance Testing: Tools and Methods

If you’re going to do performance testing, you’re going to want to do it as efficiently as possible. Having the capability of re-using and repeating tests adds significant value to the testing process. It is most likely that you will want to take advantage of a performance testing tool that can automate your testing efforts and capture results for quick analysis. While there is no substitute for having actual users simultaneously running through test scenarios in order to measure system performance, it is probably not going to be the most cost-effective and practical way to conduct your testing.

There are many software tools that can be used to create and execute performance tests for web-based applications. The choices range from hand-coded programs using Windows Powershell, Python, or other scripting languages to full-featured commercial Load Testing software packages. Two examples of commercial performance testing applications are NeoLoad and WAPT Pro. NeoLoad has a free version and WAPT Pro offers a free trial.

The answer to the question “Which testing tool is right for our organization?” is the carefully qualified “It depends.” Each organization must make their selection of a testing software tool based on required functionality, usability of the tool, price range, and other considerations. Since Brightvine Consulting has experience using NeoLoad, subsequent posts in this series will make references to our experience using that particular tool.

In this post, I’ve tried to provide some answers to the question “Why Do I Need Performance Testing?” and we’ve also looked at planning for performance testing. Next week, in the second part of this series, we will look at some technical details involved in creating Performance Tests­­ for Blackbaud CRM™ using the application’s SOAP Web Services API.

If you'd like more information about this topic or to learn more about measuring Blackbaud CRM™ performance, please contact us at info@brightvinesolutions.com

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