By Francis Chu  |  Posted 2004-06-07 Print this article Print

Segue Software Inc.s SilkPerformer 6.5 Enterprise Edition gains support for new application environments, as well as improved reporting and visual scripting capabilities.

eWEEK Labs tests showed that SilkPerformer 6.5 Enterprise Edition is a powerful and intuitive package that will meet virtually any enterprise Web load- and stress-testing need.

This release of SilkPerformer maintains a strong portfolio of supported applications and services with the base license. Add-ons are available for some enterprise applications not supported with the base license, including Citrix and Oracle Forms.

SilkPerformer runs on Microsoft Corp.s Windows XP, 2000, 2003 and NT 4.0.

In SilkPerformer 6.5, Segue has introduced visual script editing and recording for testing applications that are hosted in server environments running Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server. This will ease application testing in Citrix environments and will be a welcome addition for sites seeking a way to test applications running on large Citrix server farms.

SilkPerformers improved Citrix support allows IT managers to deal deftly with synchronization issues between client on-screen events and the recording of test scripts.

Segue also offers separately Component Test Editions of SilkPerformer for Java and Microsofts .Net.

SilkPerformer 6.5, released in March, starts at $30,000 for 50 virtual users; prices increase as components are added. (For smaller organizations, SilkPerformer Lite starts at $7,995 for 50 virtual users.)

Using SilkPerformers intuitive user interface, we could quickly customize and record scripts to test a wide range of applications. The built-in workflow wizards were a timesaver, guiding us step by step through various workload configurations.

The products many customizable settings allowed us to create realistic workloads. For example, we could dictate virtual user behavior such as connection speed, browser emulation (Internet Explorer and Netscape) and workload behavior.

Improvements in SilkPerformers reporting capabilities make data analysis much easier, and the new results-correlation capability will help test engineers pinpoint problems for root-cause analysis. During tests, for example, we could configure settings so different client measures would be statistically correlated with server measures. This allowed us to find bottlenecks and response-time drop-offs. Using predefined metrics, SilkPerformer will automatically map statistical correlation of results, which allowed us to see if our servers were experiencing problems.

The latest SilkPerformer also supports testing of applications based on Oracle Corp.s Oracle Forms technology, providing visual scripting, data analysis and monitoring of Oracle Forms application servers, including Oracle Forms 10g.

During tests, SilkPerformer was more difficult to set up than the other products we tested. For one thing, we had to install and configure a SilkMeter license server on the local system or on a separate server on the network. Although SilkMeter will be useful for managing license files in large test networks, installation can add significant time to initial deployment.

Technical Analyst Francis Chu can be reached at francis_chu@ziffdavis.com.

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