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Thread: "Hammer-test" suggestions

  1. #1
    Volunteer Moderator Steve Wood's Avatar
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    Default "Hammer-test" suggestions

    I'm looking for suggestions on how or what to test on an A5 Web app to test performance under stress.

    Background: I recently tested out an Alpha web app by sending it 1000 requests for a 1.5MG PDF file to be emailed back to me. The requests went sequentially, once every 2.5 seconds using HTTP_POST(). The server worked flawlessly and delivered almost all 1000 back in 40 minutes (hence the '2.5 seconds each'). A random five of the emails came back without the PDF, so some timing issue there. It was an exciting 40 minutes for my email client!

    I have a client that needs to know what will happen if X number of users pound on the web app for a particular process (data lookups really).

    Does anyone have experience in this "Hammer technology" and can suggest an appropriate test and what to measure?
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  2. #2
    Alpha Software Employee Lenny Forziati's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Hammer-test" suggestions

    The best way to test your specific application is to simulate actual usage of it. Because every app is different, every app needs to be tested a bit differently. This is of why we haven't said anything like "application x requires a server configured as y" even though many people have requested that type of information.

    There are a number of products available that will let you "record" a web session and then play it back many times over and simulate several users. These range in price from free to many thousands of dollars. Microsoft's Web Application Stress Tool is free and pretty simple to use, but there are better tools available.

    You can also examine your server logs to see exactly how your application is being used in practice. For testing some apps, I have built one-off scripts that use an actual server log as input to generate traffic to a server, even duplicating users' delay between page requests, the exact data submitted, etc.

    Lenny Forziati
    Vice President, Internet Products and Technical Services
    Alpha Software Corporation

  3. #3
    Volunteer Moderator Steve Wood's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Hammer-test" suggestions

    That's good stuff, thanks Lenny. I have a log analysis tool and that is a perfect way to mimic, never thought that the log really was an actual set of instructions. Secretly I just want to do this so I can say "Hammer Time" and go in to a crazy dance fever.

    One of the tasks I have here is also to test performance with native DBF versus with an SQL back end. I suspect they will come back with the same results, unless my database tables are huge. I don't suspect that SQL performs better just because there are more concurrent users (if anyone knows, please advise me). I would want to test 10, 25 and 100 concurrent users. I suspect here that, regardless of DBF or SQL, the response time will increase to the point of server lockup at some number.

    Shameless plug - I will be using my new A5-based Internet Task Manager to schedule these runs. iTaskMan - coming soon at www.itaskman.com.
    Steve Wood
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