For companies looking to load-test their Internet-facing applications, Micro Focus, a provider of enterprise application modernization, testing and management solutions, recently announced their SilkPerformer CloudBurst service.
Based on Micro Focus' Enterprise Cloud Services, SilkPerformer CloudBurst lets testers create and emulate Internet-based virtual users and do peak-load performance testing, without needing to buy, rent or otherwise provision and manage a complicated infrastructure of test machines.
According to Steven Dykstra, product marketing director for Micro Focus, "We already offer a load testing product, SilkPerformer, which you usually use on-premise. SilkPerformer CloudBurst extends this to provide a load testing service from the cloud. Few companies are likely to have the hardware inventory and geographical reach to do this kind of testing on their own, especially hardware they may only use sporadically."
"We can emulate users from any browsers, since the various browsers do behave differently, and other web clients," says Dykstra. However, Dykstra points out, SilkPerformer CloudBurst is not providing usability testing. "To validate whether the application works, you'd use Micro Focus' SilkCentral Test Manager, our functional testing software."
Enterprise-class uses for SilkPerformer Cloudburst might include government agencies with big web sites, retailers with period surges of online shoppers, SaaS-based tax return processors.
SilkPerformer CloudBurst is also relevant for small-to-midsized businesses, Dykstra notes, e.g., testing for tens of thousands of users, or even a thousand. "The service is very granular, and our Virtual User Protection means you only pay just for what you use." For example, according to Dykstra, if a company is prepared to test for up to 10,000 virtual users, but the test is halted at, say, 3,000 users because the application fails or starts getting errors, "You only pay for those you have used."
The goals of the load testing, says Dykstra, are to see response versus load, whether there are problems as the number of users scales, and where these problems are. Unlike end-user-only load testers, Micro Focus also monitors and analyzes activity on the other end. "You need to understand what effect the load is having on the application and on the hardware," says Dykstra. "We monitor the servers -- CPU, whether processing queues are becoming a bottleneck, and we also monitor the application, the executing code, and provide you insight into the slow points and bottlenecks in the code's processing. So if you see that the transactions are slow, you can drill down and see where. For example, if you had a load-balanced four-server farm for the application, you want to make sure that when you put the application under load, the farm will handle it. You could add hardware, or tune the application to be more efficient."
For working with Web 2.0 applications, Micro Focus SilkPerformer CloudBurst also includes Browser Driven Load Testing, which, according to the company, "cuts scripting and script maintenance time in half and more accurately emulates end user loads on Web 2.0 applications."
Available now, SilkPerformer CloudBurst is priced is based on a pay-as-you-go, consumption-based pricing model. SilkPerformer CloudBurst can also be used with the on-premise SilkPerformer, for testing internally as well as externally.