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Load Testing tips for Database Administrators

Nearly every useful web application is backed by some sort of database – usually a relational database. Many database administrators (DBAs) have never participated in a load-testing campaign and are sometimes even considered tangential to the load testing process.

However, your DBA is a crucial part of the load-testing team. In addition to the obvious skills of database performance analysis and tuning, the DBA brings other advantages to the project:

There is one disadvantage: If your DBA is involved in the testing, it is a lot harder to blame them when things go wrong! (and we never pass on a chance to give our DBAs a hard time wink)

This quote from Why IBM DB2 DBAs Love Load Testing illustrates one reason we love working with customers who get their DBAs involved with the load testing process:

“DBAs prefer to be proactive and deal with potential issues before they become production nightmares.”

What should a DBA be looking for during a load test? Here are the key issues to be watching for:

The article I referenced above has a DB2-specific title, but actually applies equally well to most web-based systems. I recommend passing it on to your DBAs when you invite them to your next load testing project.

Chris Merrill, Chief Engineer

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