Quotium Inc.s latest Web load-testing tool, QuotiumPro 3.5, provides easy test scripting, flexible monitoring and strong data analysis. Enterprise IT managers looking for a way to rigorously test Web applications and back-end databases should consider QuotiumPro. QuotiumPro 3.5, which shipped last month, provides impressive flexibility, enabling quality assurance engineers and Web developers to generate test loads from many virtual users. Testers can specify the number of virtual users theyll need to put Web applications and databases through their paces. The software can be installed on a low-end workstation, and many virtual users can reside on multiple load generators governed by a single machine.Like other application load-testing tools, QuotiumPro is licensed based on the number of virtual users the software employs to generate load. Companies can purchase a package with the base product and a set number of virtual users priced annually, or they can "rent" the package on a weekly or monthly basis. This scheme enables IT administrators to power up tests by purchasing temporary virtual user licenses to increase test capacity.Although QuotiumPros flexible capacity and on-demand pricing are useful for sites that need extra capacity for short-term projects, the entry package is expensive, especially for smaller companies. QuotiumPros base price is $14,000 with 100 virtual-user licenses. The price for 100 weekly virtual-user licenses is $1,750. This pricing is comparable to that of other testers on the market, such as Compuware Corp.s QACenter and Radview Software Ltd.s WebLoad 6.0. QuotiumPro 3.5 requires a Windows 2000 machine with a minimal hardware configuration of a Pentium III processor from Intel Corp., 128MB of RAM and 50MB of hard drive space. The software can be used to stress-test a wide range of Web applications and databases. QuotiumPro supports monitoring modules for Windows NT and Unix operating systems, SNMP systems, and IIS (Internet Information Services) and Apache Web pages. Modules that support Oracle Corp., Sybase Inc. and Microsoft Corp. SQL Server databases are also available. Using the modules, IT managers can collect test data and monitor application performance. QuotiumPros user interface was easy to use in tests; the script editor made short work of setting up load-test scripts (see screen, left). The editors embedded Web-parsing engine automatically records client actions at a Web page using Microsofts Internet Explorer. The editor let us quickly set up test scripts that would normally take much longer to prepare, especially for dynamic content. The editors scripting language is easy to understand, and editing tools enabled us to quickly find dynamic user parameters that require modifications. The UI enables users to manage testing scenarios in an organized manner. After the script is compiled, the editor runs the script and performs a validity check on syntax and user data. If errors are found, the editor highlights the corresponding problematic statement. QuotiumPro 3.5 provides useful logs and monitoring tools for tracking performance statistics during a test, and it has strong reporting capabilities. The UI displays a global HTTP statistic view during testing, and individual parameters can be shown in graph formats on the fly. We liked the products ability to generate custom graphs that show only the parameters that interested us. The results analysis is easy to configure using built-in graphing tools, and performance reports can easily be exported as HTML Web pages.We could also use the HTML editor to customize our reports. QuotiumPro uses only Windows-based machines as load generators. In future editions, wed like to see support for Linux machines as load generators. Technical Analyst Francis Chu can be reached at email@example.com.