Soak Testing

Sometimes, the most feasible way to test something, is to let it soak in an active test environment for several weeks.  Examples:

  • No repro steps but general product usage causes data corruption.  We think we fixed it.  Release the fix to an active test environment, let it soak, and periodically check for data corruption.
  • A scheduled job runs every hour to perform some updates on our product.  We tested the hourly job, now let’s let it run for two weeks in an active test environment.   We expect each hourly run to be successful.

Per Google, soak testing involves observing behavior whilst under load for an extended period of time.  In my case, load is normally a handful of human testers, as opposed to a large programmatic load of thousands.  Nevertheless, the term is finally catching on within my product teams.

Who cares about the term?  I like it because it honestly describes the tester effort, which is very little.  It does not mislead the team into thinking testers are spending much time investigating something.  It’s almost like not testing.  But yet, we still plan to observe from time to time and eventually make an assessment of success or failure.

Be sure to over-annunciate the “k” in “soak”.  People on my team thought I was saying “soap” test.  I’m not sure what a soap test is…but I’m sure it exists too!


  1. Darren McMillan said...

    I can only assume they meant testing SOAP calls, and not a technique itself :-)

  2. Anonymous said...

    Soak testing is running a system at high levels of load for prolonged periods of time

  3. Paul said...

    Soak testing is very important, seeing how an application behaves over a long period of time, but it is not very feasible in a fast paced release schedule.
    Anyway, soak testing differs from a project to another, so for one it can last a few weeks, but for another project it can last a few hours.
    It can be done, however when testing a feature that is not changed over a long period of time in future releases.

Copyright 2006| Blogger Templates by GeckoandFly modified and converted to Blogger Beta by Blogcrowds.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.