The case for testing application performance throughout development

* IT organizations agree on the need for testing early and often

Last time, we said that IT organizations have long been developing applications over a LAN and then deploying them over a WAN. This time, we want to demonstrate that is it not just us who think that a new approach is justified, but that a lot of IT organizations also feel the same way.

To understand this issue from the perspective of the IT organization, we recently surveyed 224 IT professionals and asked them about their company's interest in a tool that could be used to test application performance throughout the application lifecycle - from application design through ongoing management. Roughly three quarters of the survey respondents indicated that, "If the tool worked well it would make a significant improvement to our ability to manage application performance."

To dig deeper into this issue, we spoke with a consultant ("The Consultant") who is responsible for application testing at a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company. Since one of the reasons why applications run well over a LAN and run poorly over the WAN is the use of chatty protocols, we asked The Consultant if his company ever deploys chatty applications. The Consultant said that his company often deployed chatty applications and that in some instances the problem is so bad that "the application just can not be deployed." He added that in many cases there is not an easy way to improve application performance and that "there is just so much that you can do with caching."

The discussion of chatty protocols demonstrates the need to be aware of the impact of the WAN on application performance during the application development lifecycle. In particular, it is important during application development to identify and eliminate any factor that could have a negative impact on application performance.

We asked an IT professional who is the manager of technology, architecture and engineering for a large international law firm for his opinion on this. He highlighted the importance of this approach when he stated, "It is much better to plan for the performance of an application during development than to scramble around after we develop it."

In the next newsletter we will discuss the use of WAN emulation as a way to ensure better application performance. In the meantime, if you want to read more about WAN emulation, you can download the 2008 Application Delivery Handbook. It is available for no cost here

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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