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Load vs Stress Testing: Expect the Unexpected

26 August 2021

At Cyrex, we like to break down the complexities and keep things simple.

We’ve noticed that with the rising use of load testing services, there is some confusion. What is load testing? Isn’t it just another word for stress testing? Now, we’ve talked about load testing before. When we initially announced our load testing solutions and when we released our proprietary load testing technology.

But here, we’ll go into detail about what load and stress tests are and how they differ.

An easy mistake to make

Stress testing, load testing, the two are synonymous in some circles. But they are two different services that operate in the same space. The capacity and stability of your system or application.

And to those outside of industries focused on technology, these words can be just different ways to express handling system pressure. However, we’re here to help explain these terms and help those outside the industries to understand.

So that if you have to deal with these issues, and we all might be as the world gets more and more digital, you’ll be ready.

Stress and reaching limits

A stress test is a little self-explanatory. It is the type of test you run just to see how far your system gets before it breaks down. In many ways, it is just a controlled DDoS attack.

DDoS, or distributed denial-of-service, is a malicious attack that is specifically designed to ensure the collapse of whatever service you’re offering. These attacks send huge network requests to a service, overloading it. The results of such an attack typically slow responses to a crawl or disrupt it entirely.

In a game, this could be ensuring that no one can get into the pre-game lobby. Therefore, no game would ever start. In blockchain, it could be bringing down a marketplace, stopping users trading and engaging in transactions. In banking, it would be bringing down customers’ ability to access and interact with their accounts.

These are just some examples of DOS attacks. And a stress test is in place to see how your system reacts to just such an attack. It is checking your system’s reaction to an unexpected load.

Load and expected traffic

Here’s where a lot of confusion may come into things. As load testing is also testing your system’s durability under a set load.

In the case of load testing, unlike stress testing, you are seeing how it handles an expected load. Here we see how well the system or application performs under the kind of traffic you’re expecting to see day-to-day. You’re not trying to break the system, just ensuring it can perform under the pressure you’re going to see regularly.

It’s the kind of test you deploy when initially launching a game or application. Or when deploying an update or new functionality.

Cyrex Load Testing

At Cyrex, we deploy our own tools in load testing. We call it Cyrex Swarm and you can find more details on it here. Gameplay security and stability is important to us. We’re constantly developing tools and solutions, like the Cyrex Protoceptor, to ensure the best quality from your projects.

With Cyrex Swarm, we wanted to take away the often-tedious human element of load testing games. For an effective load test, you need to have a large number of users prepared to log on. Or have a farm of computers running vast quantities of your game’s client. These are both costly on resources and require huge coordination efforts.

Instead, with Cyrex Swarm, we bypass both requirements. A headless solution, based on the cloud, we can simulate a full player connection and interaction with your game. So far, we’ve simulated half a million players all at once and performing in-game actions. And, if needs be, we can do more.

A world apart

This is where load testing stands apart from stress tests. We aren’t just looking at where your game breaks down under stress. We’re seeing exactly how your game performs under the expected load of a long-awaited launch day.

With our solution, our goal is to provide the security and stability to developers on that launch day and beyond. The certainty that their online game will launch successfully, securely, and stay up no matter the player count.

You can learn more about our load testing solutions on our website. We also offer comprehensive, manual penetration testing for games and non-gaming applications. For any other questions, please get in touch.