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In this blog, we will explore the unique challenges and solutions of enterprise cloud deployment and usage. And in so doing, help you on your way to design, build and manage enterprise-grade infrastructure, platform and application services for the Cloud. Come join us now on this journey….

IT X-Games: Spike Load Testing

"It scared me to death. It just doesn't make sense. You're still on your motorcycle at the height of the jump going 'this thing's not going to rotate around.' I knew it was possible. It just doesn't seem logical."


- Travis Pastrana, motocross rider quoted after trying his first back flip


If an IT executive or QA manager were asked if  a member of their load testing team do a midair back flip on a motorcycle, judging solely by their views on load testing, I’m pretty sure their response would be something like:



“Sure. They can start out on a leisure ride, and then they can gas it up the ramp and when they hit the apex, they’ll execute the back flip, then land safely, and then be on their way.”



Why do IT execs and QA managers believe that they can execute a successful spike load test by simply starting a traditional load test, and then ramping up the number of virtual users until they have a large spike load test? Very often, much to their disappointment, it’s not that simple. Spike load puts the extreme in load testing.


Like extreme sports, spike load testing raises the stakes of successful outcomes. The great news though is that when those outcomes are met, the results are amazing. Let’s review the attributes of a spike load test:




  • Uses tens and maybe even hundreds of thousands of virtual users (puts the rapid acceleration into the leisure ride)

  • Requires the orchestration of an extra-large, on-demand test bed with the compute power to generate the spike load (puts the ramp into the leisure ride)

  • Requires robust data planning and data refresh strategy (puts the airborne into the leisure ride)

  • Is bounded by a non-negotiable deadline because large load testing prepares for  the peak load of a specific event (puts the back flip into the leisure ride)

  • May involve Web 2.0 / RIA front ends, which invalidates previous benchmarking and adds complexity to the technical preparation (puts a flaming hoop into the leisure ride)

  • May involve load testing during a maintenance window, which means you must have a successful spikeload test without the possibility of a second chance (puts the Grand Canyon into the leisure ride)


The stakes rise with each added challenge that spike load testing brings to the table. Because the scale of a company’s business and reputation are directly tied to the scale of their websites, the extreme stakes must be dealt with for extreme business results.



There are three things that you absolutely need in order to successfully perform spike load testing and protect your business and reputation:




  1. An elastic test framework which can expand in an on-demand fashion to generate large loads

  2. An easy way to create virtual users for both traditional websites and for today’s rich-internet-application technology such as AJAX, Flex and Flash

  3. The experience, knowledge and best practices to streamline the large load testing processes to ensure your outcomes are met


Note that all three focus on not just ensuring outcomes, but also expediting the time-to-value.


Now, you may be thinking that I’m overusing the terms, ‘best practices’ and ‘experience’.  Quite frankly, I feel they are often overused, especially in the IT world. But when it comes to spike load testing, experience cannot be over-valued. Here is a list of questions that an experienced spike load tester should be able to answer with confidence:




  • How are virtual user scripts created so that they are ultra-scalable?



  • How are virtual users ramped up during a large load test?



  • What run-time settings should be set during a large load test?



  • What are the special data handling considerations for large load testing?



If you don’t know the answers to those questions, then your chances of successfully pulling off a large load test are greatly diminished.


Check out the new solution from HP SaaS called, HP Elastic Test. It’s architected and priced in a cloud compute, elastic fashion:



e-las-tic
- adj
A common expression used to describe the ability to expand and contract compute resources in an on-demand fashion. The purchasing of elastic compute power is utility-based or otherwise known as ‘pay-as-you-go.



Example: Validating the performance of internet, global-class applications requires an elastic load testing solution.



It’s also backed by 9 years of spike load testing experience. HP SaaS performs the scripting and spike load test orchestration, using all of their experience and best practices.


Validating the scale of your website represents business stakes at extreme levels. If you think about it, load testing is all about risk mitigation and protecting your business and reputation. Why not extend your risk-mitigation strategy by going with a proven vendor with industry leading technology?



Or put in another way…



This is load testing…


 


This is load testing with HP Elastic Test….


 


 Any questions?

Another One Bites The Dust

Compuware said Wednesday it has agreed to acquire Web application management vendor Gomez for US$295 million. The transaction is expected to close in November. I read this piece of news with mixed feelings. Despite false statements of Compuware about HP's lack of capabilities in SaaS space, HP SaaS is one of the pioneers in providing application management solutions as SaaS. We have been in business for 10 years, but... we haven't always been part of HP. In the past HP SaaS has been known as Mercury Interactive ActiveTest and ActiveWatch, and we came to HP as part of Mercury acquisition in 2006. We have 600+ customers and about 50% of our revenue comes from our application management solutions - HP Business Availability Center and HP SiteSeer.


I have to tip my hat to Gomez - it was a worthy competitor. This small company was very focused and their technology is very different from ours. I love the idea of test and monitoring agents running from "ordinary people" desktops. I love the business model of paying a small sum via PayPal if one's computer is chosen for monitoring or load testing. I definitely don't love the legal issues involved or possible security breaches in this solution. In any case, Gomez definitely had a good run... while it lasted. Now, it's part of a much larger company. I had a bet with a few of my coworkers as to who will buy Gomez, because it is clear to us at HP that SaaS business worldwide is expected to grow, and a lot of our competitors want to be where we are today. They want to have a strong SaaS offering with significant customer base and recurring revenue stream. I admit that Compuware was not on my list of candidates. The company has just sold its testing business to buy another testing business? It just doesn't compute unless Gomez testing line is pretty much doomed. Well, I won't be complaining as it opens a lot of opportunities of HP Software SaaS solutions in quality management.


As someone who has been through acquisition, I want to tell my Gomez colleagues and former competitors - fasten your seat belts. I know that I am supposed to be positive on the company blog, but acquisition is not easy, especially in the case of a smaller company being consumed by a much larger company. You know as well as I do - what we need for our success is focus. Now during acquisition period there are changes in management, in "go to market" strategy, in cash-to-flow process. I won't even mention integrating of software offerings, which takes time even with the most flawless execution. It's been painful for us, former Mercury ActiveWatch, and sometimes it felt like we have been reduced to ashes in the process. But like Phoenix, we are rising now, and we have more opportunities than ever, especially with you guys going through the same joys that we went through three years ago. Your customers will know that they have other options even though your new employer tries to sound like there are none. And if you want to join the business that is serious about growing its own SaaS - come work for HP!

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About the Author(s)
  • Archie delivers strategic solutions focused on today’s critical and evolving business needs, linked to the growing list of Strategic Enterprise Services including Hybrid Cloud, IM&A including Social Media, Security and Mobility from BYOD to mobile applications. Archie is the author of 4 books so far, and a founding director of the Australian Cloud Security Alliance chapter.
  • Lending 20 years of IT market expertise across 5 continents, for defining moments as an innovation adoption change agent.
  • Global Marketing Manager at HP in the Converged Application Systems organization, ESSN for Cloud Maps Solution which is a key part of HP’s Converged Cloud and CloudSystem strategy. Responsible for leading marketing for Cloud Maps with a focus on creating internal & external awareness, sales & partner enablement, and demand generation. You can follow me on Twitter @BelaniDeepak
  • HP Software Cloud and Automation solution architect serving largest customers in Europe, now leading the Community team for HP Operations Orchestration.
  • I've devoted more than a decade to writing about technology products, solutions and services.
  • This account is for guest bloggers. The blog post will identify the blogger.
  • I am on the WW Cloud and Big Data Solutions Team. I help our customers adopt HP advanced solutions that are made up of products and services from across HP. I have over 30 years experience in the technology business including 17 years of business ownership.
  • Matt is a Master Engineer leading the development of CLIs and SDKs for HP Cloud. Prior to this Matt led the development of the HP public cloud marketplace and developed the HP public cloud websites. He is a regular open source contributor having contributed to wide variety of projects in numerous languages including PHP, JavaScript, and Go. Matt is a published author and conference speaker.
  • Mike has been with HP for 30 years. Half of that time was in R&D, mainly as an architect. The other 15 years has been spent in product management, product marketing, and now, solution marketing. .
  • Nimish Shelat is currently focused on Datacenter Automation and IT Process Automation solutions. Shelat strives to help customers, traditional IT and Cloud based IT, transform to Service Centric model. The scope of these solutions spans across server, database and middleware infrastructure. The solutions are optimized for tasks like provisioning, patching, compliance, remediation and processes like Self-healing Incidence Remediation and Rapid Service Fulfilment, Change Management and Disaster Recovery. Shelat has 21 years of experience in IT, 18 of these have been at HP spanning across networking, printing , storage and enterprise software businesses. Prior to his current role as a World-Wide Product Marketing Manager, Shelat has held positions as Software Sales Specialist, Product Manager, Business Strategist, Project Manager and Programmer Analyst. Shelat has a B.S in Computer Science. He has earned his MBA from University of California, Davis with a focus on Marketing and Finance.
  • Ortega has been working for HP for 7 years across their Global Marketing organization. "Tega" is an HP Cloud Senior Marketing leader accelerating messaging around HP Cloud Solutions. Her professional passions range from but are not limited to: globalized messaging on cloud solutions, learning from, interacting with, & influencing enterprise executives in their IT & business model investment strategies. Tega enjoys sharing her social media voice, global network experience, and innovative thoughts. In addition, she keeps her followers connected on world events, industry trends, & global demands that impact the need for technology solutions. Her professional passion stems in outreach to decision makers from startups to enterprise who want to change the world. Tega offers inspiration to her followers that they embrace becoming or comtinue to expand as "forward thinkers". Let's do this! Your enterprise is counting on you.
  • René J. Aerdts is chief technologist and leader of the Strategic Pursuits and Cloud Enablement organization within the Chief Technology Office for HP Enterprise Services. René is responsible for creating and delivering direction and content for consultative driven thematic pursuits, where leading edge technologies and offerings are part of the solution.
  • Roger has been trying to get out of Information Technology since programming COBOL on mainframes in the late '80's. But no matter in which continent he awoke, or whom employed him, his passion to enable people with technology was constant. So now he enables businesses to determine their strategy using the latest technologies like cloud computing, mobility, and big data. HP calls these Strategic Enterprise Services, Roger calls them "another day in the office."
  • Stephen Spector is a HP Cloud Evangelist promoting the OpenStack based clouds at HP for hybrid, public, and private clouds . He was previously at Dell promoting their Cloud solutions and was the open source community manager for OpenStack and Xen.org at Rackspace and Citrix Systems. While at Citrix Systems, he founded the Citrix Developer Network, developed global alliance and licensing programs, and even once added audio to the DOS ICA client with assembler. Follow Stephen at @SpectorTX
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