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Everything You Should Know about Performance Testing of Microservices

May 2, 2024
8 min read

About 85% of enterprise businesses use microservices. In this article, we will cover the primary specifics of microservices, explain why they need performance testing, and highlight how to make this process efficient.

Microservices in a Few Words

Microservices (or microservices architecture) refers to a methodology for developing and deploying applications. This approach separates an extensive application into smaller, modular components or services.

Each module has a distinct function or fulfills a specific business objective. They interact through clearly defined communication channels, often facilitated by application programming interfaces (APIs).

Microservices architecture extensively leverages virtual container and networking technologies. It is distinguished by its efficient development, deployment, and scalability processes, which make it particularly suitable for crafting applications tailored to the demands of modern public cloud environments.

What Makes Microservices Different

Unlike monolithic applications that represent single units, microservices are constructed as independently deployable components that can communicate with each other over a network. Such an architecture requires a testing approach that considers testing each service independently and within the entire application.

what makes microservices different

What Businesses Use Microservices

Various businesses widely use the microservice architecture. For instance:

  • Retail and E-commerce Platforms
    Retail and e-commerce platforms use microservices because they require scalability and flexibility to adapt to changing market trends. For instance, Etsy leverages microservices to support its rapidly evolving platform.
  • Social Media Platforms
    Social media platforms deal with a lot of data and traffic. Thus, companies like Facebook, X (Twitter), and LinkedIn use microservices to maximize scalability and withstand heavy loads.
  • Financial Services Companies
    With the help of microservices, financial services companies like Robinhood boost their flexibility, scalability, and security.
  • Energy and Utilities
    Companies in the energy and utilities sector, such as Siemens and Enel, tend to replace the monolithic approach with a microservices-based architecture.
  • Food and Beverage
    In this sector, microservices are a must to enable smooth ordering, paying, and logistics through various channels. Domino’s Pizza is a bright example of the efficiency of this approach.

Why Businesses Use Microservices

This data proves that businesses prefer microservices for several reasons: scalability, flexibility, agility, and fault isolation.

why businesses use microservices

  • Efficient scalability
    Microservices enable businesses to scale different components of their applications independently. Thus, resources are utilized more efficiently.
  • Flexibility and agility
    Microservices facilitate quicker development, testing, and deployment because one can work with each service independently. Also, this approach lets businesses adapt to the quickly changing market.
  • Fault isolation
    Microservices make problems easier to solve. Each service is independent, so faults related to them can be dealt with in an isolated way without affecting overall performance.

Microservices’ Core Challenges

Microservices prove to be efficient, but their usage is not spotless. We’ve listed the main challenges to consider:

  • Impactful overhead
    Microservices require inter-service communication that provokes additional overhead and can impact performance.
  • Complexity of a system
    Management of a microservices system is more complex than working with a monolithic application, especially considering deployment, monitoring, and debugging processes.
  • Testing approaches
    Microservices require a different approach to testing strategies that have complex peculiarities.

Why Testing Microservices is a Must?

Though testing microservices seems tricky, the process undoubtedly has impressive benefits. They include:

  • Identification of core problems
    Each microservice is independent, problems can be isolated and resolved without affecting the entire system. This ability helps pinpoint the issue and reduces the risk of the system failing.
  • Time-to-market
    Different services can be tested simultaneously, speeding up the time-to-market for new features and improvements.
  • User-based autoscaling
    Autoscaling enables optimization of cloud resource usage based on the current workload. From a testing perspective, it’s better to understand what real users experience when new instances are added or removed.
  • Accurate performance
    Identifying performance bottlenecks in a specific service can help optimize issues and deploy a project to production faster. However, performance testing of isolated microservices doesn’t always work because this isolation exists at the logical and application levels but is not often complete at the infrastructure level.

Microservices Performance Testing 

Microservices performance testing enables businesses to manage their services more efficiently, thus boosting revenues. These are the core things it helps to work on:

Scalability Assessment

Performance testing lets one identify how a system scales under different load conditions. 

Performance Assessment under Loads

Identifying the performance of each service under the set load makes it easier to allocate resources effectively. Meanwhile, individual testing is possible only if the tested service is completely isolated from others. This is rarely the case, so it’s better to test according to the actual load profile rather than synthetically load each service separately.

Response Time

This is a standard metric for any performance testing. When it comes to microservices, however, different methods should be considered, and response time should be studied with each one applied.

Failover Scenarios

Failover means “the process of switching to a backup component or system when the primary component fails.” Emulating failover scenarios involves creating situations where the system’s primary component temporarily stops responding to requests due to load or other issues. 

Then, after some time, the backup component or system automatically takes over and continues processing requests. This approach enables the evaluation of a system’s reliability.

Load Balancing

Performance testing helps to assess the load-balancing capabilities of a system. 

Customer Satisfaction

Performance testing helps businesses determine whether a system meets customer expectations. It can lead to higher customer satisfaction and, consequently, better retention and sales.

Microservices Performance Testing Guide

Performance testing of microservices can be conducted in several steps.

1. System Usage Analysis

To start the process, work on the creation of a workload profile. It should be based on statistics or forecasts. Thus, collect the data and shape some hypothesis, relying on the market research. 

2. Selection of Tools

Testing’s efficiency significantly depends on microservices’ performance testing tools. They should fit your goals and software to make the most of the process. For instance, you can choose JMeter or PFLB.

3. Test Scenarios Design

It would help if you shaped multiple test scenarios for different load conditions. For instance, you may apply those related to stress, spike, and load testing.

4. Tests Conducted

For every test, the correct data is needed. It may be hard-coded directly into the test script or added from datasets. Generate it and execute the tests.

5. Metrics Monitoring

Study metrics in real-time with monitoring tools. They will let you define whether the tested system fits the criteria set. To make the process efficient, explore deviations from expected behavior, describe patterns, and identify areas that need to be improved.

6. Optimization and Re-tests

Optimize your service. This process may include steps like code improvements, application of new configurations, optimization of database queries, etc. Next, re-run tests to check improvements. This step is vital for validating your progress.

7. CI/CD

Integrate performance tests into your Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) process to boost efficiency. Use tools that match your platform’s requirements. Check the process in real-time.

How to Make Performance/Load Testing Smooth with PFLB

PFLB can significantly enhance performance testing of microservices. We have been working with such an architecture for 15 years, applying  efficient strategies, using trustworthy tools, and optimizing the process. We can also give you efficient tips. Check out the list:

  • Conduct testing before deployment: conduct testing early in your software development life cycle. This approach will help you identify performance issues before releasing your application.
  • Test core microservices: create and run component tests on each core microservice and include these in the building process. Importantly, you can use a dashboard to track microservice performance between each build to detect potential regression.
  • Use a unit level: if microservices are isolated, realistic tests may be run at a unit level instead of the system as a whole.
  • Check dependencies: make the most of the service virtualization to address the challenge of dependencies between microservices. This allows you to test individual services without waiting to deploy other dependent services.
Want to Learn More About Our Performance Testing Services?
Find out what’s included and how to start working with us.


Microservices are gradually becoming a fundamental architectural choice for enterprise businesses that need scalability, flexibility, and fault isolation. Meanwhile, challenges related to their implementation and management also keep growing. Performance testing is the way to overcome the ones like overheads and tricky strategies implementation.

With the help of performance testing, businesses can discover all the problems early in the development lifecycle and ultimately deliver smooth services, mitigating risks, reducing costs, and ensuring a seamless user experience. To skyrocket the process, contact PFLB.

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