|By Hervé Servy||
|May 3, 2013 01:00 PM EDT||
I started my career as a Telecom Engineer for Rational Software in the load testing space back in the late '90s, and when I look back on the last decade, there were enormous advances in the broader IT world including development methodologies, processing speeds, network speeds, mobile devices (it's hard to believe the first iPhone was only released 6 years ago). But the question is: Has the world of load and performance testing really changed all that much? Are the missions the same? Are the challenges different? And how can we be prepared for the future of load and performance testing?
Let's start with what hasn't changed:
Crashes are a reality today just as much as they were 10 years ago. While many companies have become aware of big events (e.g., Cyber Monday, big ad campaigns) that cause traffic spikes, exact traffic levels are still difficult to predict. One big difference between now and then is the sheer number of websites on the Internet. According to Netcraft, the number of active sites on the Internet has increased by almost 1000% over the past ten years. More websites = more crashes.
Developers still think their code is bug-free.
Being a load tester can sometimes come with the occasional power trip that results from crashing an application written by developers who think their code is perfect. While I'm sure their code is very good, load testing can still quickly uncover any flaws in the code or architecture that can cause performance issues.
Load testing is still pushed off until late in the development cycle.
This is a reality most testers just have to deal with. Testing in general, but particularly load and performance testing, are held off until the end of the development cycle, which can be particularly frustrating for testers who can be blamed for holding up a release.
HTTP is still a connectionless protocol.
Furthermore, it's being used to drive a world that is becoming increasingly connected. In fact, the vast majority of advances in web technologies (cookies, sessions, AJAX, WebSockets, SPDY, etc.) have been created in order to overcome the HTTP connectionless limitations. For load testers, this means it still causes complications.
What Has Changed?
Load testing is becoming a mandatory step in the development process.
I've been talking to more and more companies these days that are requiring that all applications go through load and performance testing before they're deployed to production. This is especially true for new online services that know that they only have one chance to show their best or likely lose that customer forever.
The performance of applications is becoming more important than the breadth of functionality.
For some companies like insurance and banks, the importance of application performance is much higher than the pure number of functions their apps can perform. This means that load and performance testers are playing more prominent roles within these development organizations.
The number of technologies built over HTTP is growing each month.
More and more technologies are being developed to make the web faster, more secure and more reactive, and more and more development organizations are adopting them at faster rates. This means load testers are required to test apps containing complex technologies they've never seen before, and it's no easy task to test apps utilizing AJAX, SPDY, WebSockets, video streaming, etc.
App developers have to consider the performance of their apps on mobile devices and networks.
Morgan Stanley has predicted that mobile Internet users will surpass desktop Internet users by the end of the year. With this in mind, performance testers need to be able to re-create the use cases and network conditions actual users will experience with several different network types and several different devices.
What can you do to handle the realities of today and be prepared for load testing world of tomorrow?
1. Don't avoid load and performance testing.
If you're one of those people who think your apps will be fine and users will do the testing in production, I hope for your sake that your developers actually do write bug-free code. Remember, your end-users will not be as forgiving or as patient as virtual users are when your application is under high load if you recall the old Amazon.com statistic about losing 1% of sales for every 100 ms delay in response times.
2. Make your tests as realistic as possible.
Load testing is much easier these days with the tools available, but don't think it's a "point & click" operation. I see too many companies running "load tests" that do not simulate the number of users observed in production nor the conditions under which the apps will be used.
3. Make sure your load testing tool can match the rhythm of the technical "dance".
Developers and architects are going to want to take advantage of the latest technologies, even some that are still in beta. As a tester, you and your tool shouldn't be the bottleneck for the product launch. Make sure your tool supports your needs as well as the needs of your development organization.
With all of the advances in web and mobile application technologies and the instant response times end-users expect these days, the performance of applications is only going to grow in importance. My advice to load testers is to stay on top of these trends because they move quickly. It's certainly an exciting time to be a load tester.
Big Data is amazing, it's life changing and yes it is changing how we see our world. Big Data, however, can sometimes be too big. Organizations that are not amassing massive amounts of information and feeding into their decision buckets, smaller data that feeds in from customer buying patterns, buying decisions and buying influences can be more useful when used in the right way. In their session at Big Data Expo, Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, and Ian Khan, Global Strategic Positi...
Feb. 27, 2015 08:00 AM EST Reads: 949
SYS-CON Media announced today that XebiaLabs launched a popular blog feed on DevOps Journal with close to 2,000 story reads in less than a day. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. DevOps Journal brings valuable information to DevOps professionals who are transforming the way enterprise IT is done.
Feb. 27, 2015 05:00 AM EST Reads: 2,194
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use c...
Feb. 27, 2015 04:00 AM EST Reads: 2,789
Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, today announced availability of Cloudian HyperStore 5.1 software. HyperStore 5.1 is an enhanced Amazon S3-compliant, plug-and-play hybrid cloud software solution that now features full Apache Hadoop integration. Enterprises can now transform big data into smart data by running Hadoop analytics on HyperStore software and appliances. This in-place analytics, with no need to offload data to other systems for Hadoop analyses, en...
Feb. 27, 2015 04:00 AM EST Reads: 2,275
XebiaLabs has announced record growth and major highlights for 2014. These milestones include: Triple-digit worldwide revenue growth. Record number of new customers including 3M, Allianz, American Express, Credit Agricole, Digital Globe, Electronic Arts, EMC, Expedia, Fandango / NBC Universal, GATX, General Electric, ING, KPMG, Liberty Mutual, Natixis, Paychex, Providence Health, Societe General, Thomson Reuters TIIA-CREF and Umpqua Bank.
Feb. 27, 2015 01:30 AM EST Reads: 1,612
CodeFutures has announced Dan Lynn as its new CEO. Lynn assumes the role from Founder Cory Isaacson, who has joined RMS and will now serve as chairman of CodeFutures. Lynn brings more than 14 years of advanced technology and business success experience, and will help CodeFutures build on its industry leadership around its Agile Big Data initiatives. His technical expertise will be invaluable in advancing CodeFutures’ AgilData platform and new processes for streamlining and gaining value from gro...
Feb. 27, 2015 12:15 AM EST Reads: 1,953
The speed of software changes in growing and large scale rapid-paced DevOps environments presents a challenge for continuous testing. Many organizations struggle to get this right. Practices that work for small scale continuous testing may not be sufficient as the requirements grow. In his session at DevOps Summit, Marc Hornbeek, Sr. Solutions Architect of DevOps continuous test solutions at Spirent Communications, will explain the best practices of continuous testing at high scale, which is r...
Feb. 26, 2015 11:15 PM EST Reads: 903
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @Things...
Feb. 26, 2015 11:00 PM EST Reads: 944
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gary Hall, Chief Technology Officer, Federal Defense at Cisco S...
Feb. 26, 2015 10:30 PM EST Reads: 933
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes ...
Feb. 26, 2015 09:45 PM EST Reads: 902
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, it is now feasible to create a rich desktop and tuned mobile experience with a single codebase, without compromising performance or usability.
Feb. 26, 2015 08:00 PM EST Reads: 820
The Internet of Things (IoT) is causing data centers to become radically decentralized and atomized within a new paradigm known as “fog computing.” To support IoT applications, such as connected cars and smart grids, data centers' core functions will be decentralized out to the network's edges and endpoints (aka “fogs”). As this trend takes hold, Big Data analytics platforms will focus on high-volume log analysis (aka “logs”) and rely heavily on cognitive-computing algorithms (aka “cogs”) to mak...
Feb. 26, 2015 07:00 PM EST Reads: 851
“We just completed the roll out of our first public and private cloud offerings, which are a combination of public, hybrid, and private cloud,” stated Erik Levitt, CEO of Open Data Centers, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the...
Feb. 26, 2015 07:00 PM EST Reads: 5,961
SYS-CON Events announced today that GENBAND, a leading developer of real time communications software solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's WebRTC Summit, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The GENBAND team will be on hand to demonstrate their newest product, Kandy. Kandy is a communications Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that enables companies to seamlessly integrate more human communications into their Web and mobile applicatio...
Feb. 26, 2015 05:00 PM EST Reads: 1,161
VictorOps is making on-call suck less with the only collaborative alert management platform on the market. With easy on-call scheduling management, a real-time incident timeline that gives you contextual relevance around your alerts and powerful reporting features that make post-mortems more effective, VictorOps helps your IT/DevOps team solve problems faster.
Feb. 26, 2015 05:00 PM EST Reads: 1,033
Skeuomorphism usually means retaining existing design cues in something new that doesn’t actually need them. However, the concept of skeuomorphism can be thought of as relating more broadly to applying existing patterns to new technologies that, in fact, cry out for new approaches. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gordon Haff, Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager at Red Hat, will discuss why containers should be paired with new architectural practices such as microservices ra...
Feb. 26, 2015 04:00 PM EST Reads: 1,210
Companies today struggle to manage the types and volume of data their customers and employees generate and use every day. With billions of requests daily, operational consistency can be elusive. In his session at Big Data Expo, Dave McCrory, CTO at Basho Technologies, will explore how a distributed systems solution, such as NoSQL, can give organizations the consistency and availability necessary to succeed with on-demand data, offering high availability at massive scale.
Feb. 26, 2015 03:45 PM EST Reads: 2,059
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, shared some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, de...
Feb. 26, 2015 03:30 PM EST Reads: 3,866
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focu...
Feb. 26, 2015 03:15 PM EST Reads: 1,073
SYS-CON Media announced that IBM, which offers the world’s deepest portfolio of technologies and expertise that are transforming the future of work, has launched ad campaigns on SYS-CON’s numerous online magazines such as Cloud Computing Journal, Virtualization Journal, SOA World Magazine, and IoT Journal. IBM’s campaigns focus on vendors in the technology marketplace, the future of testing, Big Data and analytics, and mobile platforms.
Feb. 26, 2015 03:04 PM EST Reads: 634