Network testing is not about gaining assurance that the Cloud based network will perform well during peak loads. There is an element of “acceptance” that is at the core of the testing effort—the network must perform well at every given load.
Remember, your performance requirements are unique. Make sure the network meets your requirements. The test is not a competition for evaluating speed. The test is to ensure that the basic performance requirements are met.
Here are a few tips to ensure that you gain that “acceptance” when you test your network—Cloud based or otherwise.
“Actual usage data” matters. Cloud vendors may promise you a certain level of performance. The level may or may not be actually delivered. Real world performance is dependent upon a number of factors. The hardware and software may have performance issues or glitches that may impact the overall performance metrics. So, you need to be aware that vendor promises are subject to “a number of other things being as per specifications”. You must make allowances for performance degradations due to a variety of factors and evaluate actual performances before you ‘accept’ a metric that you can use for your daily performance evaluations.
An analysis of the type of traffic and the volume of traffic on your Cloud based network will give you a realistic picture of what kind of performance you can expect. Ideally, you should test a traffic mix to understand how your network performs under varying flows and loads.
Key traffic related issues you must examine are:
- Direction of traffic flow—inbound or outbound?
- Do you have SMTP, HTTP, DNS, FTP or SSH flow?
- Do you have remote employees and B2B connections that must be serviced?
- Are voice and video transmissions frequent?
In other words, the data patterns will affect the traffic metrics and you need to verify whether the configurations offered by the vendor and the hardware/software will meet your needs.
Finally, understand that Application monitoring systems (APM) are not the same as testing solutions. The APM system will only monitor your network and give you the input that the system is working as per defined specifications, and whether the system remains available over a period of time. What you need from the system and metrics, for which you want to monitor the system, will only be available after you implement a testing solution. The testing system will chart system response and evaluate system performance under different workloads.