SOASTA's DOC Makes Tests Matter - InformationWeek

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6/1/2015
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SOASTA's DOC Makes Tests Matter

A new Digital Operating Center uses micro-tests to help organizations understand their Web application performance.

Big Data: 6 Real-Life Business Cases
Big Data: 6 Real-Life Business Cases
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There are inevitably some mysteries that come with an online business. How your application is performing shouldn't be one of those. The SOASTA DOC (Digital Operations Center), released on May 28, is an attempt to remove mystery from Web operations.

SOASTA is a cloud testing company with products that deliver both ongoing infrastructure "health" updates and specific load-testing prior to application go-live dates.

In a telephone interview, founder and CEO Tom Lounibos said, "The problem we started to solve with this company was performance. How do you deliver performance for some of the largest digital organizations in the world?" He pointed out that Nordstrom, Huawei, Hallmark, and the International Olympic Committee are among the company's customers.

Each has a strong interest in just how their Websites and infrastructure will perform.

Lounibos said that the idea for the DOC came from a surprising source: the crowd around some of their large system tests.

"It was amazing how many people were watching our large tests," Lounibos said. "We started asking who the people were on the line. They were ops folks and dev folks and executives -- even the CEO at one point." All of the people watching the tests left their company with a missed opportunity, though -- a missed opportunity that Lounibos saw as a real opportunity for SOASTA.

"When you see all these people on the test you begin to see how they analyze the data. Each group keeps their data in silos," he explained. "There's no relationship of one type of analytics to another. What we began to see was that they were using 1997 type technology to run a 21st century business," said Lounibos. And the opportunity? "We're a vast correlation engine and are able to do it in real-time."

(Image: geralt via Pixabay)

(Image: geralt via Pixabay)

Correlating the different aspects of performance is the key to making the information more useful, Lounibos said.

"The ability to correlate the different types of data gave us a much better high-level view of what the performance meant. It gives you a real-time view that allows you to run your business more effectively," he explained. In essence, the DOC provides a single screen with data from several test-runs and output types so that each stakeholder in the application chain can see what the performance of the application is, the factors that have an impact on that performance, and what the performance means to the application's users, whether they're on traditional desktop computers or mobile devices.

[Want to see other possibilities for performance monitoring? Read Fluke's TruView Live Monitors Cloud, SaaS Apps.]

A side-effect of the DOC is that it provides a way for load tests to happen much more quickly than is possible with traditional test-management methods.

"One of the things that the DOC does is take the testing from hours to seconds," Lounibos said, explaining that, "We're running a 'pulse' of a load test. These are six-second tests that are looking at system availability under load." He said that SOASTA sees these six-second tests as a viable option for companies currently using active monitoring such as that provided by Keynote Systems.

SOASTA DOC is available to customers now. For more information on how the DOC works in an environment, an O'Reilly e-book is available on the SOASTA web site.

[Did you miss any of the InformationWeek Conference in Las Vegas last month? Don't worry: We have you covered. Check out what our speakers had to say and see tweets from the show. Let's keep the conversation going.]

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio
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Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
6/4/2015 | 2:03:05 PM
Re: Automated testing is vastly improved
@Charlie, one of the differences SOASTA points to is that they are using simulated "real" traffic while Keynote uses synthetic traffic. I've looked at Keynote over the years, and at various times the folks that are now SOASTA and the lab I ran were running the largest Mercury Interactive tests ever conducted.

It's easy to sail off into the weeds on the discussion, and there are purposes for which each kind of traffic excels, but in general I prefer "real" traffic if you're doing anything above layer 3 in the ISO stack. Synthetic traffic ("bit blasting") is fine if you're just checking on wire speed or basic switching, but if you're looking at real application delivery, you should be using some sort of real transaction traffic.

And now you know how I spent a lot of my time on the phone with SOASTA...
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
6/1/2015 | 2:51:45 PM
Automated testing is vastly improved
SOASTA's Digital Operations Center with the 6-sec. pulse test is a great idea, and borrows, I think, from similar efforts by Keynote and HP with its automated Mercury Quality Center. Any one see any similarities? Differences?
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