Load Testing Evolves for Web 2.0 World

By Imad Mouline  |  Posted 2009-10-19 Print this article Print

Load testing evolves for Web 2.0 world

In this context, Web 2.0 applications require a new approach to load testing known as Load Testing 2.0. Load Testing 2.0 stands apart from more traditional solutions by simultaneously creating realistic production-equivalent loads, while previewing how the Web experience really scales under various load sizes across all key markets.

Load Testing 2.0 accomplishes this by combining load generated from the cloud with load generated from real-world user desktops. Additional points of differentiation include the following three:

Point No. 1: Load Testing 2.0 covers the entire Web application delivery chain

Load Testing 2.0 covers the entire Web application delivery chain and exposes how the extremely broad range of third-party elements performs from the user's perspective under various load sizes. This helps businesses identify, isolate and fix performance problems anywhere in the chain-before users are impacted. This contrasts with Load Testing 1.0 approaches, which tend to be lab-based and focused only on internally-developed and managed applications. Simply put, Load Testing 1.0 approaches are walled off from external third-party performance variables and are incapable of delivering a realistic view of user performance.

Further along in the food chain, Load Testing 1.5 solutions generate and apply production-equivalent loads from external Internet backbone or cloud locations in order to assess application performance impact. But Load Testing 1.5 does not combine these "synthetic" loads with real-world user desktop loads, which also inhibits a true view of user performance.

Point No. 2: Load Testing 2.0 leverages an expansive worldwide testing network

Load Testing 2.0 leverages an expansive worldwide testing network (comprising hundreds of thousands of desktops and devices) to glean performance data directly from your geographically dispersed users' browsers. In addition to the third-party enabled applications and services, an extremely varied set of individual user circumstances (including geographies, ISPs, connections speeds, desktops and browsers) can impact the user experience. This is known as the "last mile" and the sheer volume of usage scenarios presents a potentially huge drain on testing resources.

Only Load Testing 2.0 tests throughout this extremely wide range of usage scenarios, leveraging an "outside-in" approach to trace performance from the user's browser all the way back to your data center. Worth noting: as applications grow richer (and by extension, heavier), technologies such as AJAX, Flash and Flex help maintain application speed by enabling browsers to perform much of the application work. With browsers emerging as a bigger part of the application delivery infrastructure, special attention must be paid to browser-related performance nuances, especially under load.

Point No. 3: Load Testing 2.0 solutions are available on-demand

Load Testing 2.0 solutions are available on-demand as self-service, user-friendly tools, making them much more accessible to more individuals within your organization. Today, any party with a stake in the performance of Web operations-not just application developers and quality assurance (QA) teams but also e-commerce managers, IT staffs and application development teams-can take advantage of Load Testing 2.0 tools to test whenever they want. They can do this as often as they want and across more last-mile scenarios, in a cost-effective, pay-per-consumption model.

Imad Mouline is CTO of Gomez. Imad is a veteran of software architecture, research and development. Imad is a recognized expert in Web application development, testing and performance management. Imad's breadth of expertise spans Web 2.0, cloud computing, Web browsers, Web application architecture and infrastructure, and software as a service. Prior to Gomez, Imad was CTO at S1 Corp. He can be reached at imouline@gomez.com.

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