Reliability Testing...

The purpose of reliability testing is to discover potential problems with the design and, ultimately, provide confidence that the system meets its reliability requirements.

Reliability testing may be performed at several levels, component, circuit board, unit, assembly, sub system and system levels. For example, performing environmental stress screening tests at lower levels, such as component level. Testing proceeds during each level of integration through system testing, developmental testing, and operational testing, thereby reducing program risk.

Reliability growth techniques and failure reporting, analysis and corrective active systems are often employed to improve reliability as testing progresses. Customers may choose to accept more risk by eliminating some or all lower levels of testing.

Technically, reliability shows the extent to which test scores are free from errors of measurement. Reliability measures are concerned with determining the degree of inconsistency in scores due to random error.

A system's reliability is a measure of stability and overall performance of a system collated during an extended period of time under various specific sets of test conditions.  This type of testing incorporates the results from non-functional testing such as stress testing, security testing, network testing, along with functional testing.  It is a combined metric to define a system's overall reliability.  A measure of reliability should be defined by business requirements in the form of service levels.  These requirements should then be used to measure test results and the overall reliability metric of a system under test.

Reliability refers to a condition where a measurement process yields consistent scores (given an unchanged measured phenomenon) over repeat measurements.

Two of the primary criteria of evaluation in any measurement or observation are:

  1. Whether the same measurement process yields the same results.
  2. Whether we are measuring what we intend to measure.

Reliability is concerned with questions of stability and consistency - does the same measurement tool yield stable and consistent results when repeated over time. Think about measurement processes in other contexts - in construction or woodworking, a tape measure is a highly reliable measuring instrument.


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