The Performance Beacon

The web performance, analytics, and optimization blog

NOC, NOC? Who’s there? SOASTA, and CloudTest!

Many of SOASTA’s CloudTest customers have extensive investments in various Application Performance Monitoring (APM) solutions. That said, our customers that fit this profile see the value of having visibility into all types of metrics around their production operations.

SOASTA hears you! NOC, NOC? Who’s there? SOASTA CloudTest enters the NOC with our available integration with DynaTrace’s APM solution.

Let’s look at how a Top 5 retailer, and a long-time SOASTA customer, Office Depot, is using this integration to benefit their performance operations team.

“SOASTA makes it simple to tag web requests to better follow the requests through the application,” states Erick Leon, Lead Performance Engineer at Office Depot.

With SOASTA CloudTest, testing in production no longer contains the “fear factor” that legacy solutions cause because they had no visibility into what was going on during a test, much like driving a car with no gauges, or worst yet, flying a plane in IFR conditions with no instruments (written by this pilot for any other pilots reading this blog).

And here is what the CloudTest traffic looks like in the DynaTrace dashboard:

Dynatrace Blog Post Image


“This capability gives us the visibility we need when used in conjunction with Dynatrace to see areas of concern from the application tier, the backend and services as well. We are able to isolate the calls and analyze performance during and post test executions,” Erick continued, “…tool integration is very valuable to us to give us the advantage we need to better understand how our application works.”

For those “devil is in the details” operations and performance engineers, here is an example DynaTrace header that can be placed in each request. The example provides the location name, server name, a page name/transaction name via ISSEs and the unique number via JS.

dynaTrace: VU=1234;PC=Chicago – Savvis;ID=99999;NA=Keyword Search

  • ID is a unique identifier for each request (NOTE: this has to be a unique number. Timestamp works best but it could also be a complex serial number) 
  • PC is used to identify the test location (NOTE: PC is actually Page Context. Typically, the page name, frame name, doc id, etc.) 
  • You can use VU to identify the test machine (NOTE: VU should be the virtual user id. Ideally, you want this to be as specific as possible because it’ll help in grouping/parsing your data. Test machine might be too high up in some cases)
  • NA is the transaction name

dynaTrace: VU={%% expr: $context.serverName %%};PC={%% expr: $context.locationName %%} – SOASTA;ID={%% prop : clip : userNum %%};NA={%% expr: $ %%}

Another Unique Number option via an ISSE:
{%%Sys-Prop:Composition:StartTimeMillis%%}-{%%Sys-Prop:Track:VUNumber%%}-{%% expr: $context.currentTrackIndex %%}

JavaScript File for Unique Number:

var startTimeMilis = new Date().getTime();
var uniqueNumber = new String(startTimeMilis);
$context.result.postMessage($context.result.LEVEL_INFO, “uniqueNumber = “+uniqueNumber);

* Generates a random integer (whole number) contained within the
* two extremes (inclusive on lower extreme, exclusive on upper).
* Example usage:
* var num = generateRandomNumber(0,5);
* This will generate a random number, either 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4
* var num = generateRandomNumber(5,8);
* This will generate a random number either 5, 6 or 7
function generateRandomNumber(lowerExtreme, upperExtreme) {
return Math.floor((Math.random() * (upperExtreme – lowerExtreme)) + lowerExtreme);

// End Function

$prop.set(“MessageClip”, “userNum”, uniqueNumber)

So for SOASTA customers running CloudTest and DynaTrace APM in their NOC, go ahead and grab another 4K TV for your NOC—there’s some REAL data coming your way.

NOC, NOC? Come on in SOASTA! We’re glad you’re here.

SOASTA. Performance is everything.

Dan Boutin

About the Author

Dan Boutin

Dan is the Vice President of Digital Strategy for SOASTA. In this role, Dan is responsible taking the world's first Digital Performance Management (DPM) solution to market as a trusted advisor for SOASTA's strategic customers, and changing the way ecommerce organizations approach the marketplace.

Follow @DanBoutinGNV