The Performance Beacon

The web performance, analytics, and optimization blog

We are a society obsessed with speed.

The fastest car on the planet, the Thrust SSC, broke the sound barrier and holds the land speed record at 763 mph. Last week, the biggest rocket fired in the UK in 20 years was a test for the one that will propel the Bloodhound SSC, the car that hopes to crush the record and cross the 1000 mph threshold … on wheels.



Fast or faster isn’t good enough. Fastest is the goal.

As technology consumers, our expectations for the apps we use – from shopping or viewing videos to trading stocks and updating inventories – are similar to the pursuit of land speed records. What was once fast is redefined with each new generation in technology. And each new generation of technology arrives quicker than the last. For organizations tasked with testing the performance of web and mobile systems at the scale of modern consumer web and mobile usage, keeping up can be a constant pursuit.

At SOASTA, we’ve found that our customers have redefined speed – and apply it to every area of their test process to keep up with the pace of technology. To achieve speed in testing requires process compression before, during and after testing.

Applying Process Compression

Test creation: Traditionally, test creation requires deliberation about what to test, then a lengthy period of test development using code-based approaches and complex test debugging and editing. Process compression in this phase can eliminate 10-90% of the pre-test prep and get teams to the act of testing more quickly.

Test Hardware Preparation: Once tests are prepared, to run a performance test at scale requires servers. A large test – e.g. one for thousands or millions of expected users – requires a lot of servers, more than most have on hand. Procuring (buying – begging – borrowing – asking IT) takes time. So does set up and administration. Tests must be run at full scale to test full scale so looking for ways to eliminate the delays in test hardware provisioning will cut out delays (and costs) in this phase.

Analysis: We test to make determinations about pass, fail, go and no-go. It is that simple. The faster we can get to the answers, the better. What’s surprising is how long we sometimes take after tests to determine if the result was good or bad, and what to do in the case of bad. There are even companies that help other companies analyze the results of the tests that took too long to run in the first place! The goal of testing needs to be an eternal pursuit of actionable results, faster. Applying techniques that enable analysis and even issue resolution during tests is proving to be the best way to cut these cycle times.

At SOASTA, process compression is a strategy. The result is a set of solutions dependent on a visual approach to testing that eliminates complexity but delivers power; is cloud-based to eliminate server provisioning at unlimited scale; and is propelled by a big-data analysis engine that runs faster than the Bloodhound SSC to deliver test results instantaneously.

In a society obsessed with speed, technologists don’t have a choice about keeping up. We do have a choice to pilot the rocket car or try to catch it as it screams by at 1000 mph.

Brad Johnson

About the Author

Brad Johnson

Brad is a cloud-testing pioneer who joined SOASTA in December 2008. His former roles as head of test and monitoring products at Compuware, Mercury Interactive and Borland prepared him well to disrupt the skeptical and established software quality market with updated approaches and technologies for continuous web and mobile testing.