John McDonald spent 20 years as an executive and leader at IBM, including leading technical sales for IBM’s Rational software brand for North and South America. Over the years he built many of IBM’s technical sales processes and teams, and now is leading CloudOne through it’s startup phase into leadership in our industry. He’s been recognized as an IBM Champion in 2011, 2012 and 2013, and serves on the Industrial Advisory Board for the Department of Computer and Information Technology at Purdue University, and is a member of the steering committee for the Customer Cloud Standards Council. He is a featured blogger for the Global IBM Rational User Group, and serves on the advisory board of IBM DeveloperWorks. He received AS and BS degrees in Computer Information Systems from Purdue University in 1995.
Late last year, we were excited to announce that by special arrangement with IBM Rational, we were now able to offer IBM Rational Performance Tester by the hour from our cloud.
It's hard to think of a function that is more ideally suited for the cloud than performance testing. In most organizations, despite many consultant presentations to the contrary, testing is still not a constant heartbeat throughout the development lifecycle. Instead it's relegated to the "end" of the development process, something done as fast as possible with the lowest time and costs, and as a result it's often the end users who become the real testers.
But it's not mystery as to why: performance testing can be very expensive. Let's say you've got a development team of 20-30 people total, but your user base is 10,000. There's no way those 30 people could reasonably simulate using the system at a 10,000 person level, so you turn to tools like Rational Performance Tester and it's "virtual users" to create robotic scripts that approximate real people using the system. That alone is a time-consuming and tricky process, and you often need external support in the form of testing consultants to help you build the right structure.
But then, when it's time to scale up the test, where do you get the hardware for all of those simulations? Unless you're working for a company with an adept IT department that's got all of the production systems in a private cloud, ready to recycle unused processing power at night for testing simulation, you'll either need to buy that hardware and set it up, or rent the space from one of a number of public cloud testing services.
The problem with both approaches is that in the first case, you rarely have the budgets for all the hardware, software and setup skills, particularly if you are not going to use the rig more than 2-3 times a year. In the second case, public performance testing services often require you to expose your target apps to the public internet - something that is simply unacceptable in practice, and doesn't accurately simulate usage internal to your own network.
That's why we were so happy to be able to offer Rational Performance Tester on our Virtual Private Cloud by the hour. It marries the low cost and flexibility of cloud-based testing with the security and control of private hardware - truly the best of both worlds.
Problem is that this service has been slow to start. We've had many inquiries and a few customers, but we're convinced that the reason is that very few know it's available. Did you know? I would love to hear your thoughts...