The softwares easy-to-configure capabilities proved the perfect fit with the corps engineers programming skills level, said Donald Doane, president of OpenDemand, based in Newark, N.J. "They wanted test tools they could quickly implement and not have to spend a lot of time scriptinghaving to become testing experts. They just wanted something that could get it done very quickly. Thats really where IBM and OpenLoad came in," said Doane. "The reality is [the corps] can spend all that time on data integration, but if users come in and they cant get a response, thats a major problem. They wanted to make sure it was meeting users expectations."Click here to read about an enterprise resource planning implementation used by the U.S. Army. The IBM and OpenLoad software was used to simulate hundreds of users hammering the corps system and accessing different parts of River Gages at different times. OpenLoad can be installed on a central workstation and accessed anywhere from a browser. The software creates scenarios or business processes emulating how a user navigates through an application, simulating different browsers, platforms and transaction speeds to determine if service levels are met for a myriad of possibilities. Following the OpenLoad implementation, it was soon discovered that a number of areas in the Oracle system required changes. For instance, servers monitored during OpenLoad testing revealed that a CPU on a server running the Oracle database was getting maxed out too quickly. "Its kind of funny. In this case, they used [IBMs] WebSphere and DB2 to find out how to run their Oracle system more efficiently," said Doane. Doane said that a greater number of customers, including the Army, are finding that by testing their systems, they can save projected costs by reducing unnecessary hardware purchases. In terms of future development, OpenDemand will extend its monitoring capabilities to provide information across database, application and Web servers to offer drill-down diagnostics. The features will be part of the softwares Version 5.0 release in February. River Gages is setting a high bar for integrated data access and is drawing praise from other corps districts that are interested in using the technology. "They see our division Web site, and they say, How can we get involved with this?" noted Stiman. "Who knows, down the road this might be a model for standardized Web pages for the entire Corps of Engineers for the nation. There is some interest out there." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Oracle environment runs on Solaris servers and is Unix-based. OpenLoad is featured on a separate Windows box.