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Top load- and performance-testing tools for 2019

For a long time, load and performance testing was only a minor business priority. With users now in the driver’s seat though, that’s all changed. They will abandon a slow website very quickly when they know that competitors can give them a faster service. Companies and other organizations are quickly realizing that while availability and accuracy are crucial, the speed of their applications has become a burning issue. Major players have shown that a push in performance can lead to a 10 percent increase in sales, which pays for their performance investments several times over. Don’t miss the boat in 2019—go ahead and make performance part of your development chain!

In this post, I’ll show you how to compare load-testing suites and we’ll take a look at the top 5 load- and performance-testing tools.

What makes a good load-testing suite?

Many companies are finding that their load-testing solution is inadequate. ROI and usability are bad, maintenance efforts are high and the re-use of automated testing scripts is extremely limited. On the other hand, an outstanding performance-testing platform fulfills several key requirements such as:

  • Ease of use: creates a script and runs a load test within minutes
  • Technology support: support capture and replay of the top browser, mobile devices, Web 2.0 techniques, Java, Citrix, SAP and .Net-based applications
  • Realistic user simulation: provides protocol, and headless and full browser-based user-simulation techniques
  • Re-usability: uses automated user interactions for performance test and application monitoring on production stages
  • Support community: knowledge base and professional support that provides guidance on fixing automation or tooling issues
  • Maintainability: NoOps, close to zero tool-maintenance effort
  • Costs: simple and flexible pricing model such as pay-as-you-go
  • Self-monitoring: distributes load across injection machines and built-in features to prevent overloaded machines from falsifying load-test results

 

See my top 5 list below for a better insight into the leading load- and performance-engineering suites.

The Top 5

#1 LoadView

LoadView is a fully SaaS-based load- and performance-testing solution hosted on cloud. You won’t need to deploy your own load-injection machines—just create your account and you can start with test automation and execution immediately.

LoadView offers a lot without any complications. Its fully web-based UI and intuitive design lets you create test scripts and execute tests within minutes. You don’t need any coding skills to automate your complex user interactions.

LoadView addresses the challenge of realistic user-simulation techniques, and offers both API level and real browser-based testing. Furthermore, LoadView calibrates your automated scripts, distributes them across load-generation machines, and automatically prevents an overloaded injection machine from falsifying your response times.

Online reporting features give engineers insights into the actual response times during a test execution. Once the test execution has completed, it will collect all the results, and key performance metrics will be highlighted through pre-configured dashboards.

LoadView provides a high degree of flexibility and comes up with a closed-loop testing approach that enables you to re-use testing scripts for production monitoring.

No matter how much load you put on your system, LoadView will allow you to simulate tens of thousands of concurrent users. Last but not least, the pay-as-you-go charging model means the pricing is attractive.

Trial account link: Link

# SilkPerformer

SilkPerformer from Microfocus makes a good solution for  performance-engineering teams that deploy this suite on their own data center. As a powerful Windows desktop application, it supports a broad range of different technologies.

Microfocus provides both on-premises and on-demand editions of SilkPerformer that can also  be combined in a single load-test execution. As there’s no web-based user interface available, however; engineers have to use their personal machines for test implementation and execution.

The load-pattern simulation in SilkPerformer is very accurate, due to its goal-based testing approach. There’s real-time monitoring of response times and load injector health during your test execution.

SilkPerformer comes with a simple license model that’s linked to your application stack. For web-based applications, you can go with their entry-level package. The premium package includes all supported technologies.

Deep integrations to all kinds of monitoring tools, the re-use of unit-level tests and the recycling of load-testing scripts for SLA monitoring all make SilkPerformer a sound platform. The flip side is the effort involved in maintaining your own load-injector suite, as well as some fairly complex features and the cost of the platform.

Trial account link: Link

# WebLOAD

Radview are pushing  their load-testing solution primarily as a replacement for LoadRunner, offering both on-demand and on-premises platforms. WebLOAD provides a broad technology support for Oracle Forms, SAP, API testing and real browser-based user simulation. Open-minded business can utilize the SaaS-based WebLOAD solution. Those not yet ready for cloud-based testing  can go for the  on-premise platform.

WebLOAD lets you collect metrics across a broad range of monitoring tools, functional testing solutions or open-source tools. Reporting features are flexible and let you share performance metrics across your teams. You’ll have more than 80 reports at your fingertips.

The license model is quite complex but there’s also a free version for up to 50 concurrent user simulations.

Trial account link: Link

# LoadRunner

Since acquiring HPE, Micro Focus has now also acquired LoadRunner, which was one of their competitors. As one of the first players in the load- and performance-testing market,  LoadRunner dominated this field for years—with all major organizations using this solution. Those days are gone, and LoadRunner now lags behind for various reasons.

Despite it’s slightly waning popularity, however, LoadRunner is definitely a powerful scripting and load-simulation tool that supports a broad range of simple as well as complex technologies. Historically speaking, LoadRunner is the result of different products mixed together. This setup means that a performance engineer needs to deal with VUGen for script implementation, Controller for scenario generation, Load Generator for load-agent configuration and Analysis for test reporting. LoadRunner is not only a complex solution, but it can also be very error prone.

Script recording and customization are sometimes time consuming because their default C-based scripting language is extremely outdated and not as handy as modern scripting languages.

The pricing of LoadRunner is on the top-level segment. Many small license packages and add-ons make this solution quite expensive.

Trial account link: Link

# NeoLoad

NeoLoad, from the French firm Neotys,  has been on the market for several years now. It’s a commercial product that customers can either leverage fully on cloud or deploy in their own data centers.

The user-simulation support is a bit limited because there’s no real browser-based testing option. Instead, NeoLoad has a script recorder that captures clicks of a tester and converts the client-server communication into a virtual user-testing script. Parametrization of dynamic data is supported by wizards. However, complex Web 2.0 applications can mean a big scripting effort because parametrization gets too difficult.

Organizations can benefit from the good NeoLoad  integration plugins for Jenkins, Bamboo and TeamCity, which help  make performance part of the development chain. A limiting factor though is that stability issues can occur in high-load situations, and test results are not always reliable.

Trial account: https://www.neotys.com/download

Load-testing tool hit list

I’ve rated these tools according to the  factors that make load and performance testing a success and accordingly. 4 is the highest rating while 1 means that the solution has left behind the other players in this category.

The table below shows the ratings for my top 5 load-testing solutions for 2019. LoadView is one of the rising stars that leaves on-premise based solutions such as SilkPerformer trailing behind.

Comp

Based on this comparison the hit list of our top tools is:

  1. LoadView
  2. SilkPerformer
  3. WebLoad
  4. LoadRunner
  5. NeoLoad

LoadView stands at the top of our load- and performance-testing hit list.

 

Call to action!

Unrealistic load patterns or user interactions will result in assumptions that are completely wrong. An over-dimensioned pattern will point out bottlenecks that would never actually occur, and the under-sized user volume will give you the false impression that all the performance requirements are fulfilled.

Executing load and performance tests during the development and QA stages is strongly recommended—it gives you confidence that your new application can handle production-user and transaction volumes. Nevertheless, user, content and data volumes do change over time and this can lead to serious reliability issues.

Performance is more of a journey than a destination, and businesses should permanently monitor end-to-end response times on production stages. Ideally, you should select a platform that is flexible and lets you re-use load-testing assets for application monitoring at production.

Continue doing the good things and integrate performance into your development chain.

1 Comment »

  1. What about open source tools? I believe that JMeter became the most popular tool – and some others (like Gatling) deserve to be mentioned too.

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