Web Testing Services Reduce Finger Pointing

Keynote Systems launches five services that move it into promising new testing areas.

Web performance testing heavyweight Keynote Systems Inc. will bulk up even more this week, launching five services that move it into promising new testing areas, including content- and user-experience analysis.

The enhancements are designed to help enterprises keep their Web sites healthy and focused on business needs, as well as reduce the finger pointing that crops up when sites slow down or fail, according to officials in San Mateo, Calif.

The services rollout, part of Keynotes Total Performance Management initiative, will be unveiled at the companys Global Internet Performance Conference in New York. Keynote is also set to officially announce its acquisition of Enviz Inc.

The company provides subscription-based performance benchmarking services for Internet users and serves more than 2,400 corporate IT departments and 19,000 subscribers. More than half of Fortune 100 companies, including American Express Co., AT&T Corp., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Sears, Roebuck and Co. are among its customers. Some 62 percent of the Media Metrix top 50 Web sites use Keynote.

One key announcement will be the rollout of Keynotes WebEffective service, which is based on Enviz technology and tests the quality of a sites user experience. Other services to be announced include Enterprise HTML Toolbox for self-service content testing; a more robust version of Keynoteís Test Perspective load testing service; and new benchmarking and performance management services, such as Traffic Perspective and Keynote Diagnostic Services.

WebEffective works by intercepting user sessions and recording actions. It can also query users about choices they are making. The tool is intended to help ensure business goals are met, Keynote officials said.

One Keynote customer, also a former Enviz user, said Keynote will have to add more horsepower to WebEffective if it is to be commercially viable.

"My hope is that Keynote will put enough server power behind it. If they dont, well drop it," said Joe Romello, CIO at GSI Commerce Inc., in King of Prussia, Pa.

Enterprise HTML Toolbox, a quality testing service for large Web sites, can determine whether code is HTML-compliant and repair code that isnt.

The tool overcame skepticism and proved valuable in testing to determine which pages work on which browsers, according to beta tester Rod Ketchum, system architect at Recreational Equipment Inc., in Kent, Wash. "It tells you what you need to change," Ketchum said.

In addition to the new offerings, Keynote will bolster some of its stalwart technologies next week.

The Test Perspective service will use an arrival-rate methodology, intended to make performance benchmarking more comparable to actual load patterns. Version 5.0 of the service also adds Hong Kong, Washington and London to the list of locations from which synthetic tests can be generated. The enhancements will come with new flexible pricing options, including the ability to buy testing in blocks of hours or as a metered usage service, officials said.

The updated Traffic Perspective service will combine passive monitoring of real-time, end-user traffic with data collected by Keynotes benchmarking services to diagnose and resolve performance issues.

Keynote Diagnostic Services provides interpretive services, diagnostic tools, monitoring of alerts and problem remediation as well as customer advocacy with service providers. Having a third-party mediator is a promising development, said Joe Fuller, chief technology officer at Trader Electronic Media, a division of Trader Publishing Co., in Virginia Beach, Va.

"There were times when we suspected there were peering problems between ISPs, and I had a hard time getting anyones attention. It would have been nice to have Keynote step in for me to help get those problems fixed," Fuller said.

All Keynotes new tools and services will be available before the end of the year, officials said.

Keynote will also preview at its conference MyKeynote Inside, which will give operators in a network operations center a direct, real-time view into Keynote benchmarking data as it is being generated.

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