Beyond testing conventional superficial performance metrics

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Business Challenge:

The business challenge was to conduct a high-priority performance testing effort, on behalf of the stakeholders and end users to

1 Determine the likelihood of expensive or embarrassing failures

2 Assess the performance characteristics of a suite of web applications

3 Provide an anticipated degree of user satisfaction

The client needed a set of metrics to evaluate baseline performance of the system so that improvements could be made with the goal of increasing the end user’s confidence in system reliability. The client also wanted to identify and resolve problematic bottleneck issues to improve system performance. Specific desired system evaluations included risk and performance estimation post upgradation of weblogic software, and in situations involving unmanageable loads.

Solution:

Expertise in performance testing best practices was provided to the client intending to ensure that most relevant and realistic set of load tests possible were conducted. The following measures were adapted while providing the necessary solution

1 Objectives of testing were clearly derived from the customer and defined

2 Software/hardware environments needed were setup, checked and thoroughly analyzed

3 Number of users, their categories, and likely user activities were analyzed and defined

4 Acceptable/unacceptable performance thresholds were defined and set

5 Relevant test scripts, data, and variable data sets were created and executed

6 Test results were analyzed, relating them to the initial objectives, deriving valid conclusions Mercury Load Runner, an industry-leading tool, was used extensively to emulate heavy user load by creating and launching hundreds of virtual users concurrently.

Benefit / Return on Investment:

The solution integration process led to optimal resource utilization drastically cutting down the resource costs on the following

  1. Software licenses
  2. Hardware – number of boxes and load balancers
  3. Reduced data-center space
  4. Reduced support calls

Other returns on investment included enhanced performance such as better throughput and transaction times leading to increased customer satisfaction. The process also provided a baseline snapshot of critical system metrics such as reliability, scalability etc.

Innovation:

This entry innovates by moving beyond testing conventional superficial performance metrics to analysis of potential risks and underlying issues. By providing a solid set of baseline metrics it helps ensure that system performance does not deteriorate post a firm’s compliance to industry standards.

Given the high premium firms now place on maintaining industry standards, this entry has great future potential in terms of scalability and access to large new customer bases. The more immediate benefits such as reduced costs and improved productivity only serve to make it even more attractive to potential future users.