Overcoming Barriers to Performance and Scalability Test Automation

blazemeter logoGuest author Ophir Prusak is chief evangelist at BlazeMeter. To learn more about load and performance testing automation, he invites readers to attend a meetup this Wednesday, June 24, at New Relic’s San Francisco offices.

Performance and load testing are kind of like flossing your teeth. You know you need to do it, but you might not be doing it as much as you should. When your site goes down because it couldn’t handle the load, you look back and realize you might have easily prevented it with a little more testing in advance. That’s why companies are automating their application testing in an effort to lower costs, increase efficiency, and reduce the time needed to release new features.

The importance of automated testing in a continuous delivery era

Continuous Delivery (CD) is rapidly emerging as the “new normal” in software development, as Perforce discovered in an independent survey, with an estimated 80% of SaaS companies and 51% of non-SaaS companies adopting this practice. Companies that provide Software-as-a-Service know they need to be continuously creating new features, updating their websites, and optimizing their backend. But while software development has adapted nicely in terms of automation, the testing side has moved more slowly.

developer writing code: Blazemeter guest postFor a fully Continuous Delivery and Integration process to be realized, performance testing must be automated. As the need for testing increases, doing it manually can dramatically increase your time to release. Automating testing throughout the CD process can help detect errors instantly and deliver software faster.

Making it work

JMeter is the de facto standard in open source load testing. It’s the most widely used open source tool for performance testing for a good reason. There’s virtually nothing it can’t test (websites, native mobile applications, APIs, and Web applications) and it’s extremely powerful and fully featured.

Yet there are challenges. JMeter poses a steep learning curve in terms of integration and ease of use. Additionally, it doesn’t integrate easily with APM and Continuous Integration (CI) tools. Many developers have been looking for a way to conduct performance testing with less time and effort—and fewer hiccups along the way.

Taurus: An effort to simplify test automation

A new open source project called Taurus (Test AUtomation Running Smoothly) is designed to provide exactly that—a way to remove most of the pain of using JMeter on its own.

Taurus can give you the ability to

  • Create and define a load test even without using JMeter.
  • Override existing JMeter files or tests configurations.
  • Create human-readable configuration files and testing scripts that are easily added to source control systems like GitHub.
  • Integrate into CI tools like Jenkins.
  • Run multiple tests in parallel.
  • Provide pass/fail criteria back into the CI tool for easier automation of test-results analysis.
  • Make analysis of test results easier and more intuitive.

Taurus still uses JMeter under the hood, but is designed to have a much easier learning curve, especially for simple tests. Taurus also offers a built-in result analysis engine that provides both console-based reporting features and result analysis.

Performance testing and optimizing your applications is not simple, yet there are solutions available that make the process easier and more successful. I’m looking forward to seeing how the technology evolves even further in the near future.

If you want to learn more about Taurus, check out the project on GitHub.

Better yet, you are invited to come to a meetup this Wednesday, June 24, at New Relic’s San Francisco offices. You can learn a lot more about Taurus and how you can use it to help scale load and performance testing automation.

Ophir Prusak is VP of Marketing at Rollout. He has more than 20 years of professional experience in software development and digital marketing. View posts by .

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