Performance Testing vs Performance Engineering

Software Performance Testing and Software Performance Engineering are the two different sides of the same coin. Similarly, the roles and responsibilities of a performance engineer are different from a performance tester. Hence PTLC and PELC are defined to streamline the activities of Performance Testing and Performance Engineering respectively. Let’s try to understand the difference between Performance Testing and Performance Engineering first:

  • Performance Testing is a quality check of the application in terms of the application’s responsiveness and load-handling capacity. Performance Testing verifies how a system will perform under production load and anticipates issues that might arise during heavy load conditions. On the other hand, Performance engineering aims to design the application by keeping the performance metrics in mind and also to discover potential issues early in the development cycle.
  • Performance Testing is a distinctive QA process that occurs once a round of development is completed whereas performance engineering is an ongoing process that occurs through all phases of the development cycle i.e. from the design phase to development, to QA.
  • A dedicated performance tester or team conduct the Performance Testing who has sound knowledge of performance testing concept, tool operation, result analysis etc. A Performance Engineer is a person who has enough knowledge of application design, architecture, development, tuning, performance optimization and bottleneck root cause investigation and fixing.
  • When a bottleneck is identified during performance testing then the role of the performance tester is to analyse the test result and raise a defect. On the other hand, the job of a performance engineer is to investigate the root cause and propose the solution to resolve the bottleneck.
  • Performance Tester does not much care about the design and architecture of the application. He just focused on the application behaviour under load whereas Performance Engineer cares about how efficient each component of the application is performing under load.
  • The bottleneck identified during performance testing phase needs additional money than a well-tuned application design reviewed and certified by a performance engineer.
  • Performance Testing Life Cycle (PTLC) covers all phases of Performance Testing whereas Performance Engineering Life Cycle (PELC) covers all the engineering activities and deliverables.

These are some of the points which will help to understand the difference between PT and PE. If you think there are some more points to add, please write in the comment section. 

At last, I would say a performance tester with good performance testing skill become a good performance engineer if he has an interest in bottleneck identification, root cause analysis and application tuning. But to suit this role, he must have good knowledge of the application design and architecture.

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