Welcome!

Recurring Revenue Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Maria C. Horton, Xenia von Wedel, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Post

Virtual Users, Parallel Testing & More By @Neotys | @DevOpsSummit [#DevOps]

Q&A with Performance Expert Brad Stoner

This week's post is taken from a collection of stories and a Q&A session based around the experiences of Brad Stoner, an expert in testing, performance and Virtual Users. Brad is a senior performance engineer at Neotys and was the manager of the Load and Performance Team at H&R Block. In his tenure there, he managed five people and successfully improved application performance and quality for the company. In a given year, it wasn't uncommon for Brad's team to be tasked with more than fifty projects around the performance testing process. This experience led Brad to found his own venture in Sandbreak Digital Solutions, a consulting company with a focus in web application performance testing, web page optimization, front end optimization, capacity testing, infrastructure validation and cloud testing. With twelve years of experience in IT, Brad has held multiple roles that range from systems engineering to operations management and we can certainly learn a lot from him.

The Neighbor's Cookies
In this webcast, Brad recounts multiple examples from his experience in which his classic performance testing methods came up short in some fashion. He explains what he did to correct course in each situation and how he learned from it. In a story called "Keeping An Eye On Your Neighbors," Brad explains how he was able to narrow down a client's problem to neighboring servers with too many connections, leading to spikes in CPU. In another story called "Outside The Firewall," he learned that testing from both inside and outside the firewall (not in isolation) is important as some defects can only be found at full load.

In another example called "All About The Cookies," Brad explains how a client had called him with a catastrophe in production. Everything had been tested and should have been completely fine. There were no large media or marketing occurrences at that time, so this performance spike was an odd thing to see. Brad looked at the servers and saw some were handling a much higher load than others - not the same as when the tests had occurred. His client was using cookie persistence to spread the load evenly during the test, but since load generators were sticking to web servers, the entire test they ran was bad. After looking at the data, Brad could see that large numbers of users were logging into one particular application at the same time and it was causing CPU to spike. As a result, users were getting kicked off right when they logged on! The ultimate culprit: incorrect cookie usage.

If you would like to hear more stories and lessons from Brad about application performance testing, here's the complete webcast recording.

Q&A With Brad Stoner

1. What is the impact of having performance testing tools installed on a virtual machine instead of a physical machine to generate load?

Brad: Honestly, to generate the load, I like to have a controller on a physical box. But, if I'm running a test from the cloud, it's all virtual anyways. It's hard to tell in reality if it's virtual or physical box so unless it's a perfect storm conditions (like in the "Neighbors" story), you're not going to notice a difference. I'm just as confident running a test from a physical box - both from my controller and my load generators - as I am from a VM. I'm not phased anymore. Five years ago had you asked me, I would have said, "I'm not doing anything on a VM". That's come a long way.

2. You told a story of a tester who ran a report during a long-running load test because he suspected it might cause problems and wanted to see if that was the case. If the tester knew this report would cause errors, why didn't he bring it up beforehand?

Brad: If you are familiar with a system and have an idea of where there might be a weakness, setting up and saying you are going to push that weakness causes the tester to look much closer at the system. If you do a test without really telling anyone, and it's in plain view, it's a lot easier to tell that this will be a significant problem by seeing what results. It's great because the team will perform these activities, a surprise problem occurs and I can pinpoint it right then and there. Then we repeat it to stabilize the system and begin to isolate the one-offs very quickly.

3. How do you calculate the number of virtual users to test with?

Brad: That's a good question. When looking at load testing profiles, we look at two things. The first is the amount of work being done on a system at a transactional rate. Second is the number of virtual users. If you mess with those two things, you can really have problems with your performance results. You need to identify how long the use case takes in real life, how many times a use case needs to be executed, do the simple math to get your total concurrency and get your number of virtual users online.

4. When generating load tests, is it not possible to have functional or integration testing run (for example, with Selenium testing)?

Brad: It's possible. If you have an internet facing app, you can do what you want. You can have regression testing, functional testing, manual or by hand. It's on the right path to get all of these activities to occur at the same time. In performance, if looking at the 80/20 rule, you're not treating a lot of pieces of the application. So, the more pieces you can get in there to better emulate what going on in production, the more defects you will find and the more success you are going to have when the application launches. You might have to use other tools, but what's important is how you're exercising the application, that's the main focus.

5. What do you think would be a good remedy for database connection or session timeouts?

Brad: Don't kill persistent connections (with firewall issues). It's done as a protective measure. Applications aren't that resilient. When performance testing, you're not focused on resilience. Negative testing is a great way to see what can happen from these activities. If you can do it, kill connections, bring down a server or database and pass the data to Operations or Development Operations and say if this is what you see, here's the problem. Use the data to define the incident quickly. Always look at database connection pooling. I will never write a test report again and say everything's good without looking at trends in connections, threads, open cursors and 10-12 other areas of an application that may come back to bite you if you tested longer. Look at response time and CPU, but really dig down to other things that interact with the user, to ensure that those don't have some kind of wobble or negative performance trend in them.

Key Takeaways
Hopefully you were able to pick up a few knowledge points and lessons from Brad's follies and experience in performance testing. After hearing quite a few examples of how things went wrong, we were able to learn how to make our tests better. Things such as connecting with agile and development teams more often, altering penetrations and performance testing among many other tidbits can completely change the outcome of your test and the end user experience. Hopefully these and the many other lessons in this webcast will guide you to better testing.

More Stories By Tim Hinds

Tim Hinds is the Product Marketing Manager for NeoLoad at Neotys. He has a background in Agile software development, Scrum, Kanban, Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and Continuous Testing practices.

Previously, Tim was Product Marketing Manager at AccuRev, a company acquired by Micro Focus, where he worked with software configuration management, issue tracking, Agile project management, continuous integration, workflow automation, and distributed version control systems.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that the upcoming DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO New York event will feature 10 companies from Poland to participate at the "Poland Digital Transformation Pavilion" on November 12-13, 2018.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smart...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
Michael Maximilien, better known as max or Dr. Max, is a computer scientist with IBM. At IBM Research Triangle Park, he was a principal engineer for the worldwide industry point-of-sale standard: JavaPOS. At IBM Research, some highlights include pioneering research on semantic Web services, mashups, and cloud computing, and platform-as-a-service. He joined the IBM Cloud Labs in 2014 and works closely with Pivotal Inc., to help make the Cloud Found the best PaaS.