The performance testing tool that IBM offers is Rational Performance Tester. A new feature in the version 9 that came out March 2016 is the Starter Edition. What's special about the Starter Edition is that you don't need to buy a license. This Starter Edition is the special offer: performance testing without license.
Besides the HTTP protocol, Rational Performance Tester also supports other network protocols. You can do performance testing on network traffic from Citrix, SAP, mainframes (TN3270), for example.
Show me your license
With the starter edition, you can develop your performance tests anytime, anywhere, anybody without buying a license. On top of that fact, much of the documentation about the licensed edition also applies to the Starter Edition when we're talking about the features that are available in both editions.
If you want to see the differences with the licensed edition, see the Technical Overview – Rational Performance Tester Starter Edition.
Keep in mind that other stuff that is available in the licensed edition is optional in the Starter Edition.
What do you mean by performance testing?
If we're talking about performance testing, we often mean load tests. However, there are also other kinds of tests in the space of performance testing. One tool is better suitable than another tool for the kind of performance testing that you want to do. Here is an incomplete list of performance testing types.
You do load testing when you want to know what your application does under a specific load. For example, how would your server respond when 200 users send requests to your application at the same time?
If you want to know under what load your application just stops, stress performance testing is the thing for you to do.
Soak or endurance testing
You want to see what happens when your application suffers a certain load for a long time. A great way to see memory leaks.
Suddenly a huge number of users access your application. Then, what happens?
You create tests to see what the influence is of different configurations on your application performance.
From this overview of performance testing types, you can see that you might consider to use the Starter Edition for load test and configuration tests when you want to involve just a few virtual users. If you want to put more load on your application, you can benefit from the cloud capabilities of Rational Performance Tester through the SoftLayer® cloud. The cloud might work for you in terms of timely and easy performance testing.
Starter Edition: try out and find out
The best way to find out whether you can do performance testing with the Starter Edition, is to install the Starter Edition and test. If you are familiar with the installation procedure of IBM products, you might want to skip this chapter. The installation procedure is much the same.
Download the packages from the Rational Performance Tester download page.
Sign in with your IBM ID.
Choose option IBM Rational Performance Tester V9.0 Evaluation Multiplatform Multilingual eAssembly Version 9
If you want to see how to install the Starter Edition step-by-step, watch the following 2-minutes video.
Performance Testing with the Rational Performance Tester Starter Edition.
If you'd like to share your experiences with Rational Performance Tester Starter Edition or performance testing in general, leave a comment here or follow me on Twitter @gunangwaney.