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Performance testing tool licenses: inhibiting realistic performance testing?

  • 15/07/2011
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  • Posted by EuroSTAR

I don’t voice angry opinions in public very often, but the sheer number of high profile website crashes that have occurred this year, makes my blood boil. There have been too many to recall, but the London 2012 Olympic ticketing site, Amazon (Lady GaGa album discount), the Sunday Times (Social Media list) and Camelot (Euromillions), are just a few sites which have gone down under heavy user traffic in just the past four months alone.

My frustration is not aimed at the site owners – far from it. I am more disappointed that on the face of it we, as an industry, might be letting the side down and giving clients the rough end of the stick by not making correct and realistic performance testing more accessible. Shouldn’t we be encouraging the simulation of realistic user loads and driving this towards becoming the new ‘norm’? What do we need to do as an industry to promote this?  Ultimately, in my humble opinion, tool licensing agreements which charge more and more for every simulated user seem to me…well rather greedy. As a tool provider myself, I am fully aware of the need to remain commercially minded, but I believe there has to be a better way to do good business and deliver a better end product to the client. Setting a limit on costs, by allowing an unlimited number of simulated users (no-cost) beyond a predefined level (say 5,000 concurrent users), seems to be a good idea to me (and one which I am presently exploring / getting good feedback on already).  As an increasing number of internet users places more demand on websites, and advances in technology create higher levels of end-user expectation and more complex applications, I believe that it is time for performance testing to move higher up the priority list.  As an industry, we need to challenge the way things have been done in the past and evolve with the times.  Making performance testing more accessible through flexible licensing arrangements should, in my opinion, be a key part of that.

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