Evaluate load testing tool features and vendors
Application load testing products come in a variety of forms and their features vary. Read through these specs to find the tool that's right for you.
To choose a load testing tool that fits its needs, an organization must plan as much as possible to make sure the tool includes the capabilities that it requires.
For example, a QA team that wants to create and execute load tests needs a tool that doesn't require much coding experience. On the other hand, if the development team is responsible for part of the application testing, then a back-end coding tool will probably fit their comfort zone. The less a tool interferes with the existing system and development process, the more successful it will be in improving an application.
These ten products are among the leading providers of load and performance testing on the market. Discover what they provide for load and performance testing to help teams develop functional and reliable apps.
The Java-based Apache JMeter is an open source system that performs load and performance tests on an application's functional behavior. JMeter tests both static and dynamic resources, as well as web applications, and it simulates various load levels on servers, networks and individual objects.
JMeter works on the following types of applications, servers and platforms:
- HTTP, HTTPS
- Java and Java Objects
- NET framework
- Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and REST web services
- Java Database Connectivity
- Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)
- Message-oriented middleware via the Java Message Service
- Simple Mail Transfer Protocol Secure (SMTPS), Post Office Protocol Secure (POP3S) and Internet Message Access Protocol Secure (IMAPS)
- Native commands or shell scripting
JMeter's Test IDE feature enables users to record and develop test cases and can help testers debug recorded scripts. Testers can also use JMeter's command-line interface to create a load test suite with any Java-compatible OS. These functions work within test scripts for dynamic input or for test data manipulation. Additionally, administrators can cache and replay test results for offline analysis.
JMeter includes a reporting tool and the ability to extract data using HTML, JSON, XML or other text-based formats. It also supports multithreading and can simultaneously sample functions within threading groups. JMeter works with other open source continuous integration (CI) tools such as Maven, Gradle and Jenkins.
Finally, JMeter offers an extensible core that includes directly pluggable samplers, as well as scriptable samplers. Plugins for timers and data visualization provide even more extensibility and personalization.
Dotcom-Monitor's LoadView is a proprietary product that load tests web applications, web services and web APIs in an extensive server-based or cloud setup. LoadView works for web application testing, but not for mobile apps. Using LoadView, Admins can test web browsers in real time without emulators.
LoadView offers a script recording tool that emulates web and mobile browsers. The script recorder requires no programming skills.
The tool requires no contractual obligations and comes with a pay-as-you-go pricing model, so users can set up a load test whenever necessary. With the cloud system, there are no extra infrastructure costs for testers. Testers also can emulate and record real user workflows during functional test runs and then program LoadView to perform those load tests on a larger scale.
Users can load servers using multiple global geographical locations to mimic the expected user base. They have the option to use the cloud or stick with specific dedicated servers. With the cloud system, developers can schedule test runs according to their time frames. They can also view data analysis via performance reports, monitoring and dashboards in real time or at the end of a test cycle. Users can configure LoadView to create an automated run when they're ready to execute tests and it can assign the required servers immediately.
Dotcom-Monitor provides a free trial.
Gatling is a code-level-based, open source load testing tool. Gatling's load testing scripts become part of the application's production code. Code-level test automation enables QA professionals to schedule load tests at any time and run them against the production server rather than a test server for the most accurate results. Gatling can test both web applications and servers.
Gatling provides a configurable dashboard view for data analysis and reporting. An enterprise version, FrontLine, offers more advanced data analysis and reporting options than the open source option.
Gatling is well-suited for CI and teams that rely on embedded testing functions to achieve application quality, as well as for developers who want to test their production code and make it cleaner to support and maintain.
Gatling connects with many CI and development tools, integrated development environments, and version control and build tools. Gatling can test HTTP requests, but it cannot yet test native code.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
HPE's LoadRunner, formerly a Micro Focus tool, is a well-established product that offers lots of training, support and online tutorials.
Like other offerings, LoadRunner can use scripts to generate a load for the application to handle. LoadRunner's Virtual User Generator enables users to generate test loads under various conditions. Users can specify what load generation sequences to run, as well as what scripts to use, how often and in what order. The controller also provides data analysis and monitoring during test execution.
The LoadRunner Agent manages connections between the controller and the load generator instances. Via test logs, the tool can gather data for analysis and visualization of the load testing configuration and results.
LoadRunner supports multiple application and networking technologies by using specific modules, including:
- .NET and Java
- Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle
- Domain name system, FTP and LDAP
- IMAP, MAPI, POP3 and SMTP
- Citrix Independent Computing Architecture and RDP
LoadRunner integrates with HPE's Network Virtualization tool and TruWeb protocol to encrypt or mask sensitive data.
LoadRunner works as a stand-alone program, or users can integrate it into most major QA management systems. It works for web- and server-based load testing, and HPE offers a free trial.
With extensive research into the load testing software market, TechTarget editors have focused this series of articles on vendors with considerable market presence and that offer load testing tools specifically for application development. Our research included Gartner, Forrester and TechTarget surveys.
IBM's Rational Performance Tester is an established product in the load and performance testing space. It supports web- and server-based load testing on premises or in the cloud.
This product can record scripts, and users can view test details and transaction information via its test editor feature. Results display in a browser-like page that integrates with the test editor.
Testers can write test script enhancements in Java. Rational Performance Tester includes root cause analysis tools to identify potential code and UI issues. The tool also generates sequence diagrams and shows the activity or actions that occur before an issue arises. Users can view resource statistics from any level of the application or system under test. Tests are executable from virtual or remote machines.
Rational Performance Tester supports load testing against virtualization software such as Citrix; networking communication points, such as TCP sockets; enterprise software from SAP or Siebel; and more.
The Rational Performance Tester tools provide real-time load, performance and throughput statistics. Users can configure report data, which can be set at any point during or after a test run to provide visualizations of test execution results. The reporting tool emulates various user populations. Users can also opt to input data via a spreadsheet or import it from another source.
Rational Performance Tester offers various tutorials, certification, training and support. IBM provides free trials of the service.
Locust is an open source tool that uses Python code to build back-end, code-level load tests. It simulates all user behavior using code rather than an application's UI, and it can simulate millions of simultaneous users.
Locust offers documentation, tutorials and support online. It also provides its source code in GitHub. Locust targets load testing for web applications and gaming systems.
NeoLoad by Neotys performs load testing for web- and mobile-based applications. It features a scriptless GUI, automated test recording and integration with CI tools. As part of its mobile device support, NeoLoad can record mobile device actions and network virtualization. It can also handle complex user workflows to fully test the scope of an application.
NeoLoad supports the following:
- Microsoft Silverlight
- Google Web Toolkit
NeoLoad uses the Neotys Cloud to access a variety of systems, servers and devices for on-demand tests.
While NeoLoad is a proprietary tool, there is a free version available. New releases with feature enhancements come out in nine-week intervals.
RadView Software Ltd.
RadView's WebLoad is a proprietary performance and load testing tool with a well-established reputation. WebLoad supports automated load test development via integration with Selenium browser automation, and it includes drag-and-drop script creation, parameterization and a debugger.
The Java-based WebLoad makes it easy for testers to use this language to enhance load testing scripts. WebLoad works for web and mobile applications, either locally or via a cloud system. The load testing tool provides configurable reports, as well as report templates.
WebLoad includes a feature that automatically identifies and updates dynamic values that are unique to each script execution, such as the session ID, date, time, random strings and input files. Because the test tool replaces these dynamic fields automatically, developers save time on test script updates.
A configurable data analysis interface enables customization for both test results and graphs -- a visual representation of test results. WebLoad's dashboard provides real-time results as each test executes. Users can view the dashboard from any web browser, tablet or mobile device. Users can also share reports and results.
Users can record or access mobile and web load testing scripts via a specific browser or device type. WebLoad integrates with Perfecto Mobile in a single UI to expand its mobile load testing abilities.
RadView offers a free trial period and free consultation for WebLoad.
SmartBear Software Inc.
SmartBear's LoadNinja aims to simplify load testing scripts. LoadNinja's InstaPlay Recorder creates automated load testing scripts quickly. InstaPlay Recorder strips down some of the complex dynamic correlation and programming common to most load testing recorders.
The load testing tool automatically captures client-side changes, including interaction with encryption, authentication and authorization parameters. Additionally, LoadNinja doesn't capture HTTP/S protocol traffic, which can complicate test scripts. Instead, it records actions directly on the embedded browser to create scripts that are easy to maintain and use.
LoadNinja users can access thousands of non-emulated browsers and servers against which they can execute application transactions and functions. Users don't need to generate, load or maintain the servers.
Data analysis with LoadNinja begins in real time, with the tester or developer watching transactions as they happen. LoadNinja users can see actual user interaction issues and decipher how to reproduce them, and they can even configure and create user-facing reports and metrics for additional data analysis.
LoadNinja currently only works for web applications. SmartBear hasn't reported any plans to add support for mobile app testing. The company offers online resources for training and an extensive support system.
WAPT Pro enables test development and execution on multiple systems. WAPT Pro provides a workplace UI to manage test execution with load agents that control emulation.
Users can attach any number of load agents with WAPT Pro, enabling it to scale as needed. They can also create a high volume of load tests to determine an application's true capacity.
WAPT Pro is available as a virtual server system or in the cloud. Users can manage test components and agents remotely.
WAPT Pro features 64-bit workplace components, and it generates test loads with an x64 Load Engine. The load testing tool's 64-bit features mean there is no practical limitation to the size of the testing database, and they also improve the tool's ability to support complex and longer-running test scripts, whereas many tools are suitable only for short, specific test scripts.
Users can create custom views for data analysis, and WAPT Pro supports third-party data analysis viewing tools, which enable response time statistics to export to external data files.
WAPT works for mobile applications, web API services and all types of websites. Demos are available to download on the WAPT website.