I vividly remember my first foray into application performance testing. While working as a reviewer at PC Week Labs, I needed a tool that I could use to test the performance capabilities of the then emerging web and application server market. Back then I used a simple web load simulation tool that ran on an SGI Indy system.
This was a basic application that would flood a server with requests and that needed to run for several hours to complete its tests. Still, it was useful for finding out how web sites and applications would handle under load.
From there I progressed to dedicated application performance testing tools that provided more detailed and fine grained controls to record and simulate user actions and test very specific elements of applications. Many of these tools still exist today, though the original companies have all been acquired over the years.
For a while this kind of testing was considered core capability of application performance management. But, as new technologies and capabilities, like network monitoring and control and end-user experience monitoring, gained in popularity, it almost seemed as if testing had started to take a back seat.
But the importance of good performance and usability testing is arguably more important now than ever before, especially given the growth of mobile devices. When your company’s applications are as likely to be viewed on tablets or smartphones as on traditional PC browsers, the need for good testing to ensure your apps will run well, however they are accessed, is extremely important.
And testing clearly pays off. Based on data collected in the Aberdeen survey "The Challenge of Application Performance in a Mobile Application World", businesses that make testing a core piece of their performance management infrastructure gain significant benefits and have high levels of application performance and usability.
Conversely, if a company isn’t invested in testing application performance in development and deployment stages, odds are they aren’t doing much to manage application performance in other ways either.
Jim Rapoza is Senior Research Analyst at Aberdeen Group.