How to Mitigate Business Risks with Oracle EBS Continuous Performance Testing?

January 17, 2023

How organizations mitigate business risks with Oracle EBS using performance & load tests? Why is there a renewed focus on load testing when it comes to Oracle EBS upgrades? Know about the proven solutions that can de-risk performance issues with Oracle EBS

You might be using Oracle EBS for Order management, financial, supply chain, payments, or all of these which, usually running your high value transactions which affect your organizations revenue flow. Any change / modification in any one of the modules will surely have a chance to disrupt the normal flow for the business users. This might have significant revenue and operational loss unless tackled with appropriate preventive measures / tests to avoid any untoward disruption.

Performance Testing / Load Tests checks the behaviors of the system when it is under significant load. These tests are nonfunctional and can have various forms to evaluate the reliability, stability and availability of the platform. It can also serve to investigate, measure, validate or verify other quality attributes of the system, such as scalability, reliability and resource usage. Performance testing determines the:

  • Speed – Determines whether the Oracle EBS responds quickly
  • Scalability – Determines the maximum user load the Oracle EBS can handle.
  • Stability – Determines if the Oracle EBS is stable under varying loads

It can also serve different purposes, and demonstrate that the system meets performance criteria, can compare two systems to find which performs better for the application, and also measure which parts of the system or workload cause the system to perform badly. Hence it is highly advisable to undertake Oracle EBS Continuous Testing

Reasons for Undertaking Performance Testing

  1. Upgrades of Oracle, change in EBS Application, patches and fixes, changes on the infrastructure, migration to cloud, changes in firewall settings, changes in cyber security infrastructure architecture changes, changes in global network load balancer settings, load balancer policy changes, front end middle or back end. These have potential impact on critical high-volume sessions. When do you realize the change has an impact on on Month end, quarter end, year-end also puts excessive load on systems.
  2. Another important use case to apply functional and load tests is during Mergers and Acquisitions. Change in additional user or infrastructure scenarios. Best practice is to add another 20% of load to the current systems to run the tests.
  3. Before you move to a cloud environment a performance test will help establish base lines for the new environment. This information is very important to the migration team before the move has been applied.

There is never a constant scenario hence performance testing becomes imperative for the organization.

Questions to Ask While Planning Oracle EBS Performance Tests

It is important to ask relevant questions in planning your Performance Testing. Few of them are:

  1. Scope of Work: What is the scope of the performance test, and which modules of Oracle EBS should  it cover? Additionally, subsystems, interfaces, and components are in scope for the test, and which ones are out of scope?
  2. User Interface: For the user interfaces involved in the test, how many concurrent users are expected for each (specify peak vs. nominal)?
  3. Target System: What does the target system (hardware) look like, including all server and network appliance configurations?
  4. Application Workload Mix: What is the application workload mix meant for each system component, broken down by percentage?
  5. System Workload Mix: What is the system workload mix, and how will multiple workloads be simulated in a single performance test? 
  6. Back-End Batch Processes: What are the time requirements for any and all back-end batch processes, including peak and nominal times?

Elements of a Performance Testing Project

Tasks to perform such a test would include:

  • Resource Management: Determine whether to utilize internal or external resources to carry out the performance tests, based on in-house expertise. Engage with Oracle Expert partners who offer script-less, low-code, or no-code solutions.
  • Performance Requirements: Collect performance requirements or specifications from business analysts or end-users.
  • Project Charter: Develop a high-level project charter that outlines the requirements, resources, timelines, and milestones.
  • Detailed Test Plan: Create a detailed performance test plan that encompasses detailed scenarios, test cases, workloads, environment information, and more.
  • Test Tool Selection: Select test tool(s) that cater to maximum use cases and cover different applications with the same tool.
  • Test Data and Effort: Specify the test data required and define the effort involved, which is often overlooked but is critical for carrying out a valid performance test.
  • Script Development: Develop proof-of-concept scripts for each application under test, using the chosen test tools and strategies.
  • Project Planning: Develop a detailed performance test project plan that includes all dependencies and associated timelines.
  • Configuration: Install and configure injectors/controllers, set up the test environment (ideally identical hardware to the production platform), router configuration, deployment of server instrumentation, database test sets developed, and more.
  • Dry Run: Conduct a dry run of the tests before executing the load test with predefined users to check the correctness of the script.
  • Test Execution: Execute tests, repeat them, to identify any unaccounted-for factors that may affect the results.
  • Results Analysis: Analyze the results, either pass/fail, or investigate the critical path and provide recommendations for corrective action.

Cost of running a performance test is marginal than risking it out on your critical applications.

Importance of Performance Testing for Decision Makers
For a leading US Building Materials, Construction & Industrial Supply company, the CIO was directly involved, even on a weekend, while ensuring key decisions are taken and executed with regards to the Performance test. He wanted to ensure that all key tests went as per planned for Oracle EBS which was running critical business processes.

Tools and Licenses
Unlike functional testing, load testing is not script-less. Some form of scripting will be required. The number of correlations that you do will run into 100s for the Load Runner. Neoload minimizes it to a certain extent.

Most of the customers have been running these Onprem. The new trend is now moving towards cloud licenses. However, a cloud application will most likely support a cloud application like Oracle Fusion.

Various Types of Performance Tests

  • Load testing is a basic performance test that measures the Oracle EBS system’s behavior under specific loads
  • Stress testing determines upper limits of EBS system’s capacity
  • Endurance testing (Also known as Soak testing) checks if the system on which Oracle EBS runs can sustain expected loads. All tests involve monitoring relevant components and identifying bottlenecks.

Best Practices for Performance Testing

1 Ensure you have an infra-architecture diagram ready, along with a Test Environment where you want to run these. Which is the closest replica to your production environment. If not, it is highly advisable for you to engage an expert to help you create one. Inputs from all relevant teams such as application, database, network, security will need to be given inputs.

2 Workload modeling – A snapshot on the volume of transactions that use the system during a 1-year period. If historical 1 year is not available with the database administrators? Then a 3-month period should be the bare minimum to look at. When you look at the max peaks in the workload model, this becomes inputs to take key decisions for a performance test solutioning.

3 Next steps will be to reach out to the business users for advice on changes that they expect to happen in the next 3, 6, 12 months that should be taken into account while building a performance testing solution. Are you onboarding new customers, geographies etc. e.g ERP upgrade, infrastructure changes, merger or acquisition, expansion plans etc.

Performance testing as a part of Oracle EBS Continuous testing? Is it advisable? Packaged solutions like Oracle eBS may not be advisable, until you anticipate an upcoming change as stated above. Get it done on demand.

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