HP Unfurls Load Testing Service in the Cloud

Hewlett-Packard has a history of offering load testing software that goes all the way back to its acquisition of Mercury Interactive in 2006. Now HP is extending the reach of those offerings into the cloud via its HP StormRunner Load testing service, which was launched this week.

Genefa Murphy, senior director of go-to-market strategy for application delivery management at HP Software, says that with the rise of agile development methodologies and mobile computing, demand for more flexible approaches to application load testing has increased dramatically. Most organizations simply don’t have the physical IT infrastructure resources required to test applications at any kind of real scale. HP StormRunner makes use of Amazon Web Services and, in the future, the HP Helion cloud based on the OpenStack cloud management framework to give developers access to infrastructure resources on demand, says Murphy.

Developed using a Node.js framework, HP StormRunner leverages the HP TruClient browser-based scripting engine to expose load testing-as-a-service using open APIs, Murphy says. The goal, she says, is to allow developers to better understand the performance implications associated with deploying applications under a wide variety of conditions before putting those applications into production.

Murphy notes that adoption of mobile applications in particular is highly sensitive to performance-related issues. If the initial user experience isn’t satisfactory, most end users won’t give mobile applications a second chance. They may not ever delete that mobile application, but use is likely to be severely limited. The challenge from a performance perspective is that many of those mobile applications are dependent on a complex mix of back-end services, any one of which could wind up compromising the quality of the end-user experience.

Although HP has been in the load testing business for years, it is comparatively late in terms of delivering a load testing service in the cloud. Nevertheless, HP has a significant installed base of LoadRunner customers in the enterprise that are just beginning to develop mobile and cloud applications for use by external customers and internal employees.

The degree to which HP can effectively compete with established load testing services in the cloud remains to be seen. But given the demand for such services, HP is clearly betting there will be plenty of business to go around for some time to come.

Michael Vizard

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