SAN MATEO (03/06/2000) - This year a significant number of applications will be created or modified for the Web as part of major e-business initiatives. Being able to accurately measure the expected load prior to deployment is a critical part of any e-business strategy. RadView Software Inc.'s WebLoad Resource Manager and Workstation meet this challenge and definitely belong on your short list of potential load-testing solutions. The RadView tools have incredibly easy-to-use interfaces, and I found them to be very easy to insert during the early stages of the development cycle. The product earned a score of Very Good in our evaluation.
WebLoad compares favorably to competitors, such as Mercury Interactive and Segue Software. With this release, RadView has upped the ante by offering dynamic testing and analysis capabilities across the enterprise. In addition to its straightforward approach to load testing, RadView makes it possible to maximize your current investment in testing hardware and software with its capability of defining and using multiple load machines, netting lower development costs via reuse of current infrastructure. Moreover, the tools should help you realize code quality improvements, because throughput can be verified at any point in the application development process.
RadView's WebLoad Workstation can be used as a client of the Resource Manager or as a stand-alone tool -- enabling users to generate load from virtual clients, monitor performance, and output real-time test results to the WebLoad console. If desired, reports can also be exported to either Microsoft's Excel or into a tab file.
Among WebLoad Workstation's many interesting features is the capability of working with SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), dynamic content, cookies, and certificates. I was able to test applications that made use of certificates.
Furthermore, tests with SSL and certificates enabled me to insert error-handling routines when my test clients lacked 128-bit encryption support.
I was also impressed that I was able to define load testing at the client, transaction, or instance level. I could even define my virtual clients to reflect varied connection speeds, browser types, and HTTP Version 1.0 or 1.1.
In addition, as the tool offered full access to the DOM (Document Object Model), each virtual client had the ability to access and verify all objects and attributes of tables, forms, and even images.
The Resource Manager Console allowed me to define the machines that would be used for load generation using a simple, tabbed interface. I only needed to supply a host name or IP address, the type of platform being used, and the operating system. However, I did find it a little odd that I was able to define a Unix machine running Windows 95. Aside from that, I was extremely pleased with the tool's capability of growing and scaling my workload across multiple Windows systems.
Once my load machines were defined, I began to define which Workstation clients would take part in my testing environment. As before, I needed only to define a host name or IP address for each Workstation along with the maximum number of virtual clients and probing clients (probing clients measure response time for any operation on the server). To impose control over which machines my Workstations could connect to and use, I needed only to select the restricted machines from directly inside the Resource Manager Console.
With the general setup complete, I fired up the WebLoad Console and used the wizards to begin building my testing scripts for either a WebLoad or Cruise Control session. I chose to create a standard WebLoad session, and the wizard prompted me through each requisite step. All that was left was to define which machines would be used for load and the type of generator I wanted to use.
The wizard for Cruise Control enables you to create testing scripts that allow for the definition of one or more performance parameters such as load size and transactions per second. These scripts can then be run while the load is increased until the Web application meets the required goals: a very nice feature.
IT sites that intend to roll out key e-business initiatives this year should definitely consider WebLoad Resource Manager and its sidekick, the Workstation, from RadView Software to help ensure a smooth integration. These tools' excellent scalability, ease of use, and ability to extend testing to all areas of your development cycle make them a nice addition to your toolbox.
Tim Fielden (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a senior analyst for the InfoWorld Test Center.
THE BOTTOM LINE: VERY GOOD
WebLoad Resource Manager and WorkstationBusiness Case: Using the WebLoad Workstation either singularly or in combination with the WebLoad Resource Manager offers thorough Web application load testing at a reasonable price.
Technology Case: This latest release of WebLoad from RadView enables detailed load testing during all stages of the development cycle.
- Minor bugs
- SSL testing limited to Internet Explorer- Limited platform supportCost: $55,000 for Resource Manager; $1,500 per seat for WorkstationPlatform(s): Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000RadView Software Inc.; Lexington, Mass. (888) 723-8439; www.radview.com.