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Load testing Web applications using IBM Rational Performance Tester

Part 3. Running remote tests with increased user loads

Get hands-on experience in running tests with user loads of 100, 500, 1000, and 2000

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Content series:

This content is part # of # in the series: Load testing Web applications using IBM Rational Performance Tester

Stay tuned for additional content in this series.

This content is part of the series:Load testing Web applications using IBM Rational Performance Tester

Stay tuned for additional content in this series.

About this series

IBM® Rational® Performance Tester is a performance testing tool that emulates various user loads to mimic the real-life loads. With proper planning coupled with realistic simulation, this tool uses the current loads to estimate future loads. For example, a customer's application may potentially serve a total of 5000 users. With Rational Performance Tester, you can easily emulate the user loads at 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000 and beyond to project the right user growth, so that you can also project server sizing, such as optimal CPU and memory requirements, more accurately. You can identify and diagnose performance bottlenecks, whether such problems occur in the network, database, the application server, or even the user application. The root cause analysis capability further analyzes application tiers, which may include page components such as Enterprise Java™Beans (EJBs), servlets, a Java™ Database Connector (JDBC) API, Web services, and so forth. This functionality enables you to pinpoint the performance culprit easily and efficiently by analyzing the online or extracted reports.

Rational Performance Tester also helps you create, run, and analyze performance tests and validate the scalability and reliability of your Web-based applications before deployment. The default supported protocols, such as HTTP and HTTPS, allow You to run the load tests on Web applications. Several extensions are also available:

  • IBM® Rational® Performance Tester Extension for Citrix Presentation Server
  • IBM® Rational® Performance Tester Extension for SOA Quality
  • IBM® Rational® Performance Tester Extension for Siebel Test Automation
  • IBM® Rational® Performance Tester Extension for SAP Solutions

Here's a quick summary of this series of four articles:

  • Part 1 gives you an overview of IBM Rational Performance Tester Version 7.0.
  • Part 2 walks you through the basics of using Rational Performance Tester by creating, running, and evaluating a simple test.
  • Part 3 (this part) covers testing as user loads grow (see the next section for more).
  • Part 4 is all about reports, because a load test is only as good as the reports of the results.

The goal of this series is to help you understand the features, topological considerations, and constraints so that you can create and test Web applications and analyze the performance reports. With this knowledge and the ease of use of Rational Performance Tester, load testing a Web application will no longer be a burdensome chore, and you can include it for each iteration of your software.

Overview of this article

In a typical scenario, to load test a Web application, you identify the various scenarios by well-defined test plans. During a load test, a meaningful user that loads breakdown to multiple test clients is often desirable. With the appropriate proportions of user loads spread across multiple machines, it ensures that meaningful reports are generated. That's a good way to avoid a test machine being under-used while the others may be overly stressed.

This article explains considerations for effectively breaking down user loads easily without affecting the test scripts previously recorded. You'll learn how to run remote tests with increased user loads, including setting up remote machines for distributed load generation. The essential sections of this article guide you through these steps for setting up distributed testing by installing software on the client machines.

  1. Install and set up software on the client machines:
    1. Install Rational Agent Controller.
    2. Install IBM Rational License Server.
    3. Import the floating license key into the license server on the workbench machine.
    4. Refer remote machines to the license server.
  2. Configure and run tests
    1. Configure the test schedule to run tests remotely.
    2. Run tests with user loads of 100, 500, 1000, and 2000.

An optional section at the end describes how to deploy the DayTrader sample application if you want to use it for testing. If you prefer, you can create the test against your application that you need to test for performance, instead.

Prerequisites

Be sure to work through Part 2 before you start this article, because you use the same sample applications in both. It's also important that you have learned the basics of using Rational Performance Tester for load testing from that article, so that you can proceed to the more complex activities in this one.

Note:
The workbench machine should be used only for workbench activity, such as creating tests and distributing the performance load to run on remote machines.

Please ensure that your system meets these prerequisites:

Table 1. Required resources
ResourceWorkbench machineRemote machines
HardwareMinimum 1GB, more if running testMinimum 1GB
Software IBM Rational Performance Tester (includes IBM Rational Agent Controller)
IBM Rational License Server
IBM Rational License Server
IBM Rational Agent Controller
LicensesActivation kit for Rational Performance Tester to enable permanent use

Floating license key imported into Rational License Server

Note: The floating license key must be for more than or same number of virtual users that will test in Rational Performance Tester*

Pointing to floating license key served by workbench machine
NetworkAble to ping all remote machinesAble to ping workbench machine

*The trial version of Rational Performance Tester allows only five concurrent tests of users. To test more than that, you need to purchase the license. The IBM® Rational® Software Delivery Platform V7.0 - Desktop Product Activation site has information about how to get licenses and the activation process. You can download both IBM® Rational® Agent Controller and IBM® Rational® License Server from the IBM Software Access Catalog. See Related topics for links.

IBM Rational License Server manages floating and named-user license keys for Rational products. The floating license key is required if you want to run more than five virtual user tests. In this example, the license key is imported into the license server, which resides on the workbench machine and serves the key to all remote machines. The remote machines point to the license server.

The IBM Rational Agent Controller needs to be installed on all remote machines, to enable distributed testing. The workbench machine would have the Rational Agent Controller installed when installing Rational Performance Tester.

Figure 1 shows the setup that you need for the exercises in this article.

Figure 1. Topology of the setup for remote testing
Topology of the setup for remote testing
Topology of the setup for remote testing

Install and set up the necessary software

Performance testing an application also includes user load testing. Here, you'll run the same test from Part 2 of this series with 100, 500, 1000, and 2000 virtual users. To do this, you'll create additional user groups and run them at distributed locations, which provide more resources for the load, such as CPU power and memory.

Install Rational Agent Controller

  1. Extract the files named Rational Performance Tester_Agent_Controller_V7.0_Part1.zip and RPT_Agent_Controller_V7.0_Part2.zip into a temporary directory called C:\temp. When extraction is finished, you will find two extracted folders called disk1 and disk2.
  2. In the disk1 folder, click the launchpad.exe file to start the installation. Select Install IBM Rational Performance Tester Agent (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Rational Agent installation screen
Rational Agent installation screen
Rational Agent installation screen
  1. Accept the agreement and click Next.
  2. The IBM Installation Manager will be installed first. Accept the default location for the IBM Installation Manager, and click Next.
  3. Click Install to install the IBM Installation Manager. Click Finish when the install completes.
  4. The next screen will display the tester agent packages to be installed. Ensure that IBM Rational Performance Tester Agent Version 7.0.0 is selected (Figure 3).
Figure 3. Rational Agent installation package
Rational Agent installation package
Rational Agent installation package
  1. Accept the license agreement, and click Next.
  2. Accept the default shared resource installation directory, and click Next.
  3. Accept the default Rational Performance Tester installation directory, and click Next.
  4. Click Next twice until you see the Features screen.
  5. Ensure that the Tester Agent is selected (Figure 4), and click Next.
Figure 4. Features screen
Features screen
Features screen
  1. Select Typical installation for the Installation type, and click Next.
  2. On the summary information screen, click Install (Figure 5).
Figure 5. Summary information screen
Summary information screen
Summary information screen
  1. When the installation is successful, start the DCI monitoring (Figure 6).
Figure 6. Start DCI monitoring
Start DCI monitoring
Start DCI monitoring
  1. Repeat these steps, 1 to 15, to install Rational Agent Controller on all remote machines.

Install IBM Rational License Server

The Rational License Server manages floating and named-user license keys for Rational products. In this example, the license server is installed on the workbench machine and serves license to all remote machines.

  1. Extract the license server zipped file to C:\Temp, and then click the setup.exe file.
  2. Click Install IBM Rational License Server to install (Figure 7).
Figure 7. Install the Rational license server
Install the Rational license server
Install the Rational license server
  1. Click Next until you see the Product Warnings window.
  2. Disable antivirus software running on your machine, and then click Next.
Figure 8. Disable antivirus software
Disable antivirus software
Disable antivirus software
  1. ClickAccept to accept the license agreement, and also accept the default installation folder on the next screen.
  2. Click Next until you reach the Summary window, and then click Install.
  3. When the installation completes, click Finish.
  4. Repeat the license server installation on all remote machines.

Import the floating license key into the workbench server

  1. On the workbench machine, double-click the floating license key (see Figure 9).
Figure 9. License key
License key
  1. The License Key Administrator will open. On the Confirm Import screen (Figure 10), click Import.
Figure 10. Import license key file
Import license key file
Import license key file
  1. After the key is successfully imported, click OK.
  2. When you are prompted to restart the license server, click Yes.
Figure 11. Click Yes to restart the license server
Click Yes to restart the license server
Click Yes to restart the license server

After the license server restarts, it will show the key (Figure 12).

Figure 12. License key imported and ready to serve.
License key imported and ready to serve.
License key imported and ready to serve.

Refer remote machines to the license server

  1. On the remote machines, start IBM Rational License Key Administrator.
Figure 13. Start the License Key Administrator
Start the License Key Administrator
Start the License Key Administrator
  1. In the License Key Administrator wizard, select Point to a Rational License Server to get my licenses.
Figure 14. Point to license server
Point to license server
Point to license server
  1. On the next screen, enter the license server name or IP address, and click Finish.
Figure 15. Enter license server information
Enter license server information
Enter license server information

The License Key Administrator will display the keys served by the license server name or IP address (Figure 16).

Figure 16. License key served by the Rational License Server installed on the workbench machine
License key served by the Rational License Server
License key served by the Rational License Server
  1. Repeat the previous steps on all other remote machines to ensure that they point to the license server.

Note:
Alternatively, you can configure the license key by using the License Key Administrator menu:

  1. Click Settings > Client/Server Configuration.
  2. In the Client/Server Configuration window, select Use License Server, and then click Add Server.
  3. Enter the license details for Server Type, Server Name, and Port (Figure 17), and click OK when you have finished
Figure 17. License server details
License server details
License server details

Configure the schedule and run tests

To delegate the test run to three remote machines, it is preferable to create three user groups, with each assigned to run on one remote machine.

Configure the test schedule to run tests remotely

  1. Add two more user groups to DayTraderSchedule (Figure 18).

Note:
The red X symbols that this screen capture shows on each of the two servers being added will be removed when you complete and save the setting.

Figure 18. Two additional user groups
Two additional user groups
  1. Select User Group 1. From the Schedule Element Details > Group size section, select Percentage, and enter 40 for the value. Repeat this step for User Group 2 (value 30) and User Group 3 (value 30). The combined size of all three groups should total 100% (Figure 19).
Figure 19. Adding groups
Adding groups
Adding groups
  1. Add DayTraderTest to User Group 2 and User Group 3.
Figure 20. Add the test to the two new user groups
Add the test to the two new user groups
Add the test to the two new user groups

Add a remote location to each user group:

  1. Select User Group 1.
  2. Under Schedule Element Details, click Run this group on the following locations.
  3. Click Add New below that to create a new remote location.
Figure 21. Click Add New to create a new location
Click Add New to create a new location
Click Add New to create a new location
  1. Add the detailed information for the first remote machine, and then click Finish. Each user group will be assigned to a different remote machine. The Deployment Directory will be created on the remote machine to store the runtime information (Figure 22).
Figure 22. Remote machine details
Remote machine details
Remote machine details

After this information is added successfully, the remote machine will be listed in the location table (Figure 23).

Figure 23. Remote machine listed in the location table
Remote machine listed in the location table
Remote machine listed in the location table
  1. Repeat these steps to add remote locations for User Group 2 and User Group 3.
  2. When you have finished, use CTRL+S to save all settings and changes.

Run tests with user loads of 100, 500, 1000, and 2000

  1. Before running the DayTraderSchedule test, navigate to Schedule Element Details and change the Number of users to 100 (Figure 24).
  2. Type CTRL+S to save the changes.
Figure 24. Configure the test to run at 100 virtual users
Configure the test to run at 100 virtual users
Configure the test to run at 100 virtual users
  1. Ensure that DCI monitoring is started on all machines, and then run the test:
    1. Right-click DayTraderSchedule.
    2. Select Run As > Performance Schedule.
  2. When the collection completes, save the report by exporting it to HTML format as Part 2 of this series explained.
  3. Next, repeat the previous steps to run the test with 500, 1000, and 2000 virtual users. Export each report to HTML for comparison.

About Part 4: Reports

In this article, you learned how to run tests in a distributed environment with 100, 500, 1000, and 2000 users. To learn more about other Rational Performance Tester features and use, visit the Rational Performance Tester InfoCenter and the links provided here in Related topics.

Part 4 is all about reports. We will explain how to examine, diagnose, analyze, and interpret various analysis reports that Rational Performance Tester provides. For example, a Web application can be broken down into various components, such as Enterprise Java™Beans (EJBs), servlets, Java™ Database Connector (JDBC), and Web services for analysis. We will also explore the default reports and describe how to customize them.


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