Loadster: Performance Testing for Newbies
There are a lot of great performance tools available—both vendor-based and open source. But sometimes your team has unique needs that make one tool a better choice for you than another team’s.
For example, if you don’t work for a large company you might not have access to an enterprise vendor performance test tool due to the higher cost.
Also, if your team is new to performance testing, they might feel intimidated by the process of getting up-to-speed with more developer-centric open source performance testing tools like JMeter or Gatling. Both are awesome choices, but they do require someone with a certain amount of development skills to be truly successful with them.
If your team is made up of newbie performance testers, another option that might help is Loadster.
Loadster Good Choice for New Performance Testing Engineers
What Loadster attempts to do is make you the most productive performance tester you can be.
So if you’re willing to trade a little bit of money for a lot of potential time savings, it makes sense to go with Loadster.
Those are just a few of the reasons why I believe Loadster is a good fit for a lot of folks who may be just starting out with automation testing, or who don’t come from a heavy development background to create scripts and get up-to-speed.
Other Loadster Performance Testing Benefits
Since Loadster is in the Cloud, they have an on-demand Cloud located in 15 different regions; that means that if you need to test from different locations, you can distribute the load between those regions however you want.
This makes sense if you have a global user base. You can choose several regions and then compare the response times from those regions.
Because the Internet pipes are so huge you probably won’t see any bottlenecks that way, but you’ll definitely see a difference in terms of latency.
Another thing you can do is simulate slower connection speeds. For instance, in a Loadster scenario you can specify what group of virtual users to simulate using, say, a DSL line, a cable connection or something similar to see the effects of slower networks.
Loadster’s reports are typically generated for you within seconds of a test wrapping up. There are a number of different charts and tables. Here are some of the key performance indicators that appear at the top of every Loadster report:
• Duration—The entire duration of the test from start to finish.
• V-Users—The total number of virtual users allocated across all virtual user groups
• Pages—The total number of top-level “pages” successfully requested
• Hits—The total number of top-level “pages” plus any included page resources successfully requested
• Errors—The total number of HTTP and validation errors
• Iterations—The total number of script iterations completed across all virtual user groups
• Download—The total bytes downloaded (HTTP response headers+bodies)
• Upload—The total bytes uploaded (HTTP request headers+bodies)
More information about each of these can be found in the report sections that follow.
Loadster Pricing Plans
Loadster has two different pricing models that make sense for different people. There are a free plan and paid plans.
The free plan gives you up to 50 concurrent users. You can run unlimited tests if it’s self-hosted. So if your traffic originates from your local Loadster workbench or a self-hosted engine, you can run up to ten Cloud tests per month.
The paid plan options offer packages for 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 virtual users. They all have unlimited local and Cloud tests. You aren’t required to purchase a long-term license, so if you only have a need for, say, one month of service, you can exercise this option.
Loadster Fuel Option
Another available option is the “fuel” model, for those for whom load testing is more of an occasional activity. This option allows you to buy credits, with the “fuel” representing virtual user hours.
The fuel plans start at $99. So you can get a bundle of fuel and run a bunch of tests for a pretty small investment (that is if the free plan doesn’t meet your needs).
Andy was also cool enough to offer the readers of my blog and listeners of my TestTalks podcast FREE fuel.
So if you want to try Loadster out for yourself with some free fuel, all you need to do is Email Andy at Loadster.
He’ll hook you up with 500 units of fuel. That’s 500 virtual user hours. And by the way–that fuel is down to the second. So if you run a three-minute test it’s only a 20th of a unit of fuel per virtual user.
When to Use Loadster For Your Performance Testing
If you’re looking for lots of bells and whistles for your performance testing needs, Loadster is probably not the tool for you. But if you just need something to help get your teams started, and are simply looking to apply a load to a web application, you should definitely give Loadster a try.