MSDN: Tell us about your company and the solution that you have created.

Johnson: SOASTA was founded in 2006 on the basis that web technology and scale has expanded far beyond the reach of testing technologies built in the days of smaller and simpler architectures. Particularly in the web performance testing area, where a mere mention by Oprah or Groupon causes sites to crash with millions of users, and 20 percent of the Internet is consumed by users watching Netflix. Hardware is always a constraint to test these systems, and traditional test tools fail when exposed to technology like Microsoft Silverlight or AJAX, or tasked to analyze performance issues within large datasets. We built a full technology stack, CloudTest, aimed at finding results by analyzing the source of web performance issues at any scale. Complementing this are patented test creation capabilities to realistically drive systems as real users do, to deliver real web scale and geographic load, and we built the whole thing to utilize the cloud.

MSDN:What are the key benefits of using Windows Azure with CloudTest?

Johnson: CloudTest is a capacity hog. Real web users are global, and their numbers are immense. To simulate them, we need globally distributed compute power. With Windows Azure, we can simulate hundreds or millions of web users from United States, Europe, and Asia. When we learned of the Windows Azure distributed locations and nearly limitless capacity in early 2010, we instantly signed up. The low cost of Windows Azure compute resources makes our services affordable enough for customers to run tests of any scope and scale, anytime.

MSDN:Could you give us an overview of the solution?

Johnson: SOASTA has delivered thousands of tests for hundreds of customers using CloudTest. The common thread for all is a critical website or application and looming events-whether daily sales spikes, open enrollment, world crises, celebrity media launches, or mobile phone releases. Because we run in test labs through to live production, the problems we find range from code bugs, database limitations, third-party application contention, Content Delivery Network (CDN) needs, firewall meltdowns, inadequate load balancers, and limited bandwidth.

The CloudTest platform is used by SOASTA's team of expert Performance Testing Engineers to deliver services to customers ranging from Telco's rolling out mobile devices to leading real estate websites. We also deliver an on-premises version so performance testing teams have full control to build, deploy, and analyze running on Windows Azure or other internal and external hardware.

  • Core Testing Services: Everything needed to build, run, view, and discover performance issues
  • Test Cloud Management: Allows teams to deploy and configure cloud or internal-based hardware for driving tests
  • Real-Time Analytics: The latest in-memory analytical processing engine built for instantaneous delivery of a diverse set of end-to-end performance metrics during testing
  • The Global Test Cloud: Windows Azure and other public cloud platforms, plus a customer's internal private cloud and even bare-metal hardware are in the hands of CloudTest users for any test

MSDN: Is this solution available to the public right now?

Johnson: Yes. CloudTest On-Demand services are delivered as full turnkey performance testing engagements. Delivered within a day or two, and, on occasion, hours, our team works with the customer to determine test needs. We then build the tests, deploy the cloud-based load generators, and at a scheduled time, the customer team joins ours via a web meeting, and the test begins. Real-time results are analyzed during the live event, and many issues are isolated and often resolved during the test.

CloudTest Pro puts all the web performance testing capabilities we offer, and control of the entire public cloud infrastructure, in the hands of test teams for internal and external performance testing across the software delivery cycle.

SOASTA offers our Windows Azure Performance Certification program for customers deploying on Windows Azure. The service verifies web application performance for up to 10,000 users in a simple package. For information, please visit: http://www.soasta.com/azure-certification.    

Windows Azure Performance Certification ranks your application on Windows Azure.

Click here to read the SOASTA Windows Azure case study about CloudTest used to test Office.com.

Watch this Channel 9 video to get an overview of SOASTA, presented at CloudExpo by SOASTA CEO Tom Lounibos and VP Product and Channel Marketing Brad Johnson.

To learn more about SOASTA and the CloudTest Solution, attend the Academy Live Session Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 8:00 AM PST, "Cloud Testing on Azure with SOASTA: Certifying Web Performance at any Scale" with SOASTA CEO Tom Lounibos.  Register here.