Integrating Performance Testing into the Agile Development Process

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“we need more CPU” seems correct due to the CPU usage hitting 100% (red line) - but is actually misleading. The CPU exhaustion is a symptom as opposed to the underlying problem. StressTester™ has identified the correct problem; a high number of Java garbage collections (dark green line) caused the JVM to use excessive CPU (light blue line) and hence the application server’s CPU hit 100% usage. So, the problem is actually a code problem and the solution is application refactoring – not buying more hardware!

Quick ROI. The cost of an application performance defect discovered late in a project depends on the effort and time required to identify the cause, correct the problem and retest to ensure the software now performs and scales. The effort and time associated with such problems is often significant and it has even been known for projects to have been completely cancelled, as they had a fixed delivery date and it was obvious the required refactoring meant the date was unachievable.

Being able to adopt tools, with starting prices of a few thousand dollars, into the Agile development process provides an organization with the assurance that never again will a system performance test at the end of a project identify application code problems and require significant rework, cost and delay to implement the required solutions.

About the Author A recognised expert in the field of web application performance and load testing, Graham Parsons is co-founder and CEO at Reflective Solutions, responsible for business strategy and growth. Reflective Solutions has worked with global brands, including Barclays, EDS, Harrods department store, JP Morgan, Nissan Motors, TNT, UBS and Vodafone, to ensure their applications are scalable and deliver the response times required by website users.

Graham has played a key role in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of performance testing tools, through the advancements of Reflective Solutions’ industry-leading product StressTester™ – an enterprise class performance testing tool used by global organisations to verify the performance of their mission critical systems. He is regularly invited to share his expertise and insight into the future of the performance testing landscape at industry conferences globally.

Trained as a specialist in Java architecture, Graham co-founded Reflective Solutions in 1998 to offer high level strategic consultancy to adopters of the programming language and computing platform. In subsequent years, the company developed specialist knowledge in performance testing and tuning of enterprise systems before focusing on developing an innovative approach to the design of performance testing tools - totally removing the need for writing test scripts.

Prior to Reflective Solutions, Graham was employed by major financial organisations including Prudential and Barclays Funds. Graham has an Honours degree in Computer Studies from Sheffield University.

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