A Beginner’s Guide to Volume Testing

Timothy Joseph
Timothy Joseph | June 1, 2021
A Beginner’s Guide to Volume Testing

Volume testing is non-functional testing that is performed to test the software’s capacity to handle large volumes of data.

The database is pushed to its limits by adding huge volumes of data and then checked for response. 

Skipping on volume testing can lead to disastrous results, like data processing and storage issues, security risks, and shutdowns.

Volume testing is designed to prevent these scenarios. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover all the basics of volume testing, including: 

  • What is volume testing in software testing?
  • What’s the difference between load testing, stress testing, and volume testing?
  • What tests does volume testing involve? Which tools are best for volume testing?

What Is Volume Testing in Software Testing?

Volume testing is a type of testing that validates the performance of your software application when processing large volumes of data. Also known as flood testing, volume testing is performed based on the current data volume. When testing big data, QA teams create test cases that achieve the following goals:

  • Identify the system’s capacity
  • Detect errors activated by pressure on the system components
  • Test response time of the system
  • Confirm no loss in data
  • Reduce operating costs by identifying load issues on time
  • Measure the scalability of the system
  • Receive insights on system behavior under various levels of data loads

Load Testing vs Stress Testing vs Volume Testing

Understanding what is volume testing in software testing can be confusing, especially when stress, load, and volume testing share so many similarities. All three test your application’s ability to handle larger than normal volumes, be it data or users. Yet all three are essential to the testing process based on the goals of each type of testing.

  • Volume testing makes sure your system behaves correctly when exposed to large data volumes.
  • Load testing checks your system’s performance by increasing the load gradually until reaching its threshold limit, often leveraging cloud testing.
  • Stress testing checks the system’s performance by increasing the load beyond its threshold limit.

This chart breaks down the differences between stress, load, and volume testing.

Validates the system’s capacity
Validates the stability of the software under normal conditions
Validates the stability of the software under abnormal conditions
Tests data volumes under normal and abnormal conditions
Tests system under normal conditions
Tests system under abnormal conditions
Focuses on data storage and data loss
Focuses on system security
Focuses on system performance

How To Do Volume Testing

Once you understand the difference between the three types of tests, your QA team can create a strong strategy for load and volume testing. That way, you can establish a long-term goal for your system’s future capacity. 

Your QA testers should develop test cases that:

  • Check for any data loss
  • Check the system's response time
  • Confirm whether or not the data is stored correctly
  • Verify if any data is overwritten without notification
  • Check for warning and error messages
  • Check if high volumes of data affect processing speed
  • Validate that the system has sufficient memory resources
  • Identify any risk when data volume is greater than specified

When To Conduct Volume Testing in Real Life

The need for data isn’t restricted to certain domains. In fact, volume testing is applicable for testing websites, apps, and web applications across industries.

Volume testing plays a pivotal role in the following situations.

  • Increasing the product count on your database: If you are about to load a number of items into an eCommerce website’s database, then volume testing confirms that your established infrastructure can handle an extra data load.
  • Estimating your infrastructure’s capacity for supporting forecasted data volumes: Volume testing is designed to help plan the processor and disc capacity, network bandwidth and the amount of system memory needed to process large volumes of data securely.
  • Building contingency plans: Your team should know how to recognize the red flags of system failure before it happens. With volume testing, your team can define system behavior patterns when increasing data volume during testing. Knowing the warning signs can help your team create an action plan to prevent system failure in production.

Volume Testing Tools

It’s hard to execute volume testing successfully without the assistance of testing tools. While it can be done manually, there are so many tedious steps involved that it can take your QA testers too much time to complete without a guarantee of test accuracy.

There are several tools designed specifically to support the demand of volume testing. Our experts at QASource recommend checking out these testing tools for load and volume testing.

  • HammerDB: This load and volume testing software supports varieties of databases, including SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle Database, MariaDB, Redis and PostgreSQL. HammerDB is a free, open source tool that’s hosted by TPC on GitHub and supports both Linux and Windows operating systems.
  • JdbcSlim: As a free, open source tool supporting databases with JDBC driver, JdbcSlim is the framework to integrate database queries and commands into Slim FitNesse testing. Available for download on GitHub, this framework keeps configuration data, test data and SQL code separate so that business users can understand requirements which are written independently of the implementation.
  • DbFit: This open source tool is designed for automating database testing. Created by Gojko Adzic, DbFit is based on the FitNesse framework and supports SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle Database, IBM Db2, PostgreSQL and Derby.

Benefits of Volume Testing

It’s easy to see the ROI for volume testing, especially when your team follows best practices. Volume testing can offer several advantages for software application, consumers, development cycle and the QA team.

Here are some of the advantages: 

  • Results in Customer Satisfaction: No customer wants to be locked out of the application. Exposing your system to a large volume of data may result in crashes or system failure, which results in a negative customer experience. Volume testing finds these issues before deployment so that customers remain happy with your product.
  • Reduces Maintenance Time: Since volume testing identifies failures that arise due to data volume, your development team can essentially perform maintenance on your applications during the development process and, fix these issues before market launch.
  • Increase Response Time: Volume testing identifies issues with system response time when exposed to high volumes of data so that users can always enjoy a fast, convenient experience without delays.
  • Ensures Accurate Storage of Data: With volume testing, your QA team verifies that your data is stored in the correct tables and that no data is lost, even when multiple tables are updated with large volumes of data.

Could your team use more help in carrying out these best practices for volume testing? Team up with a QA services provider like QASource. Our team of QA experts specializes in a variety of testing services with years of experience performing volume testing across domains. Let us guide your team through the process of volume testing so that your system can always process large volumes of data accurately, quickly and securely. Get a free quote today.


This publication is for informational purposes only, and nothing contained in it should be considered legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out of this information and encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.