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Load Testing In Production

Submitted by nicholas_savich on Tue, 08/06/2013 - 14:18

Hi,

My institution, Owens Community College is implementing Luminis 5 with BEIS. At this time we are building our test environment. Would anyone be willing to share their load testing strategy? We are specifically interested in how to best load test our production environment without creating fake entities in your production environment.

Thanks,
Nick

Luminis Version:

Hi Nick,

While I do not have experience load testing LP 5 I do have experience load testing LP 4 as well as some other web applications.

Apache JMeter is a popular open source load testing utility that you may have heard of (http://jmeter.apache.org/). The last time I looked in to load testing tools JMeter was the best option without shelling out a decent chunk of change. There are some more commercial utilities that you can purchase.

In the past I have generated the load testing plans to mirror typical system usage, which varies by institution and application (and sometimes even the user base segment). It's very helpful if you can gather some analytical usage information for your portal before creating a JMeter plan. This way you have an idea where your users are clicking and how many users you might need to test with.

As for the question about accounts - I'm not intimately familiar with LP 5 but I doubt there's any way to test using fake 'ghost' accounts. This means you will either need to create fake accounts, which you could either keep for future load testing (and temporarily deactivate) or purge when the test is complete, or use existing 'real' user accounts.

To avoid creating thousands of test accounts in our PROD system we identified a subset of accounts that would be used for testing. We had EAS with Active Directory and authentication by role which had a role that pointed to the Luminis LDAP. By informing users that the system would be unavailable and changing the role on the accounts we were able to use Luminis LDAP credentials to login as our identified user population. At the end of the testing period we removed the custom role from the accounts and the users could get in with their AD credentials as they would regularly.

While I don't know for sure LP 5 supports authentication by role and I don't know what your authentication configuration is - I'd like to point out the concept is more important than the details. You may be able to announce an outage to your users and temporarily hijack their accounts. Since LP 5 uses a CAS server for authentication you could potentially point it to a different CAS server that uses a different authentication source that you control. This way you can use real user accounts without having to reset their credentials.

Hope that helps!

-Tom

Hi Tom,

Thanks for sharing your experience and your expertise. We plan on using JMeter as well. Regarding accounts, I agree that hijacking existing accounts would be the most valid test. We are building our own CAS server which will likely go live with the launch of Luminis, so we really want to load test the entire process end to end. I will share your wisdom with the rest of our team.

Thanks Again,
Nick