Soak testing is running a system at high levels of load for prolonged periods of time. A soaktest would normally execute several times more transactions in an entire day (or night) thanwould be expected in a busy day, to identify any performance problems that appear after alarge number of transactions have been executed.Also, it is possible that a system may ‘stop’ working after a certain number of transactionshave been processed due to memory leaks or other defects. Soak tests provide an opportunityto identify such defects, whereasload testsandstress testsmay not find such problems due totheir relatively short duration.The above diagram shows activity for a certain type of site. Each login results in an averagesession of 12 minutes duration with and average eight business transactions per session.A soak test would run for as long as possible, given the limitations of the testing situation. Forexample, weekends are often an opportune time for a soak test. Soak testing for thisapplication would be at a level of 550 logins per hour, using typical activity for each login.The average number of logins per day in this example is 4,384 per day, but it would only take8 hours at 550 per hour to run an entire days activity through the system.By Starting a 60 hour soak test on Friday evening at 6 pm (to finish at 6am Monday morning),33,000 logins would be put through the system, representing 7½ days of activity. Only withsuch a test, will it be possible to observe any degradation of performance under controlledconditions.