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For Bell Canada, Early Performance Testing Spells Success

When Bell Canada began development of an important new customer-facing application, project lead Mr. Roger Bejjani knew he needed to find a web testing tool that would help fine-tune performance throughout the development process and into production. Having used Empirix (purchased by Oracle) and Load Runner (purchased by HP)in the past, he decided to forgo overpriced software and look for a tool that would give him the functionality he needed at a more reasonable price. The main requirement would be load testing HTTP and HTTPS requests, and the software needed to be easy to use during development as well as during pre-launch testing. He settled on Web Performance Load Tester as the cost-effective tool he needed to get the job done.

Still in development, Mr. Bejjani and his team are creating a new application for Canadian residents and government departments. Not yet announced publicly, Bell Canada won’t disclose details, but Mr. Bejjani indicated that the application will allow residents to securely access government services.

Ease-of-use was important to Mr. Bejjani and his team at Bell Canada, and it was a major factor in choosing a tool. “We found Load Tester very easy to use in terms of record and play-back. It’s light, small, and easy to install,” he reports. “Being able to easily perform a 3-minute engine install saved us time.” Load Tester’s portability was beneficial as well, since the team needed to install on a variety of different machines.

“I raise my hat to the support team,” says Mr. Bejjani, “because they have been so responsive. I have sent in a few requests and got answers within minutes. I have also made a few suggestions for improvements to Load Tester for a future release, and I was happy to hear that my suggestions are being considered.” Chris Merrill, Chief Engineer at Web Performance, is working on incorporating one of Mr. Bejjani’s suggestions into Load Tester. According to Merrill, “We are looking into adding the ability to alter the number of users running during a test, and plan to include it in a future release.  Customer feedback helps us make a better product.”

A seasoned software professional, Mr. Bejjani is a big proponent of early testing. “Typically, functional testing is done during development, but performance testing is done right before deployment to a production environment. It’s usually saved for last,” he says.  “By doing it this way, performance issues are very hard to resolve.  You have to go back to the designers for a fix. It can be a lengthy process with many iterations. If there is a problem with the way the application was built, you have to go back to the design and fix it, then the functional testing has to be repeated,” he explains.  “But if we start performance testing early, way before deployment, then we can make sure it’s going to work. I’ve already discovered four or five different problems that the development team has resolved.” He was able to find these problems early enough for an easy fix because he scheduled load testing into the development process.

Mr. Bejjani acknowledges that performance testing during development may add time to the development process, but his experience has shown him that the benefit of early resolution of performance problems far outweighs the added time. With performance fixes built into the application from the start, early performance testing can actually save a lot of time in the long rum.

Michael Czeiszperger, founder of Web Performance, agrees. “Most of our customers come to us just before deployment to a production system. It can be a shock when they find out that their system can’t handle the required load just days before they are due to launch.  In many cases, a change in the design early in the process would have prevented the problem and saved them a lot of extra work. We advise people to start performance testing early in development to avoid last-minute surprises that can be difficult to fix.”

Mr. Roger Bejjani understands the importance of testing early and often.  Web Performance Load Tester provided the right set of features at the right price, and Bell Canada’s software project is more robust as a result.

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