Keynote: Flying KITE in the Cloud

Keynote Systems launches a new version of its Keynote Internet Testing Environment to test Web application performance from the desktop and the Internet cloud.

As application developers move from building applications to run on their organization's own servers to writing applications for the cloud, there is more need for the services of a company like Keynote Systems and a tool like the Keynote Internet Testing Environment, or KITE.

Keynote officials say their new tool makes performance testing of Web 2.0 applications across the Internet cloud as easy as flying a kite. The maker of on-demand mobile and Internet test and measurement solutions announced KITE 2.0 at the O'Reilly Velocity Web performance and operations conference June 23 in Burlingame, Calif.

Vik Chaudhary, vice president of product management and corporate development at Keynote, described KITE 2.0 as a new desktop-based test-and-measurement environment for recording, editing and analyzing the performance of Web applications from the desktop and Internet cloud that will bridge the gap between Web application developers, quality assurance teams, performance analysts and Web operations by providing them with a common, easy to use test script language and repository.

Chaudhary said that unlike the initial version of Keynote's KITE technology, which only allowed users to test performance from the desktop, KITE 2.0 enables users to test from the desktop and from several different geographic locations across the Internet cloud. KITE 2.0 enables users to upload test scripts from the desktop to the Keynote global test and measurement network and get performance data from five Keynote Transaction Perspective (TxP) and DSL last mile locations. The TxP locations are: San Francisco, New York, London, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, and a last-mile DSL location also in San Francisco, the company said.

"You should test locally and monitor globally," Chaudhary said.

In a blog post on KITE 2.0, Steve Souders, co-chair of the Velocity conference and a member of the Google Web performance team, said he's "worked with Keynote for years. They have a strong platform of services for measuring web site availability and performance."

Chaudhary said KITE 2.0 allows for advanced scripting, detailed network performance and Document Object Model (DOM) analysis along with the ability to gather data from hundreds of locations worldwide. KITE 2.0 users also can run instant multi and single-page transactions both manually from the desktop and Internet cloud with no limits and in automated burst mode that runs a single test script back to back up to 10 times, he said.

Moreover, KITE 2.0 enables users to test the performance of Web 2.0 applications, including AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) applications, Chaudhary said.

Souder listed new features that caught his eye, including:

""Test scripts can include taking actions based on DOM events, such as the creation of a DOM element or even the contents of a DOM element matching a specified pattern.An intuitive HTTP profile is displayed in the client app.Tests can be executed at five cites worldwide on the Keynote backbone.It's free! You don't need to be a Keynote customer to use it.""

According to Chaudhary, "It's typically IT operations that gets a tool like this and they have to go bang on the door of the developers" to fix any issues in application performance.

Yet with KITE, Web application developers can find and fix problems in applications before they even reach the QA and Web operations teams, Chaudhary said. Meanwhile, IT operations staff can use KITE to run test scripts as if they were end users, and the scripts can be recorded and saved to be shared with the QA and development teams. QA teams also can use KITE to test Web application from inside the corporate network as well as from the cloud.

Abelardo Gonzalez, product manager for web performance testing and management products at Keynote, gave eWEEK a demonstration of the technology, illustrating how KITE works and showing how scripts can be recorded and saved to a script repository. Also, KITE's burst mode automates back-to-back runs of test scripts, he said. In addition, KITE enables developers to analyze Web 2.0 code and put calls inside the JavaScript.

Chaudhary said Keynote has been around since 1996 and employs about 300 people.

"We help people test and monitor their infrastructure," Chaudhary said. "We have 2,400 machines -- either Windows XP machines or mobile handsets" in more than 240 locations around the world, he said. "And we do what real users do -- go to different websites and visit them to see what kind of response there is. Anybody who touches the Internet is potentially one of our customers," he added talking of e-commerce organizations, including Google, Yahoo, eBay and others -- all of which are or have been Keynote customers.

Moreover, Chaudhary said trends such as the move toward RIAs (rich Internet applications), the use of AJAX, video and Flash across the network has had an impact on the Internet and its use.

"The rapid Web applications lifecycle needs a testing solution that can keep up," Chaudhary said.

"Assuring and optimizing the performance of Web and Web 2.0 applications can no longer be accomplished through a siloed set of tools designed to support individual technology professionals in isolation," said Dennis Drogseth, vice president of Enterprise Management Associates. "Keynote's KITE 2.0 initiative provides multi-dimensional insights into QoE [Quality of Experience] issues that can easily be shared and accessed by different roles within and beyond IT, from application developers, to application support teams, to network managers, to performance analysts and engineers, to line of business executives, among others. KITE 2.0's global reach and inherently extensible design as a service makes it well suited to support next-generation Web application management requirements."

KITE 2.0 will be available for free download to Keynote customers in August.