What We Do
As a flexible, focused and totally independent source of expertise, we endeavour to meet our clients' needs through fixed priced projects, be the assignments automated performance testing, health checks or consultancy. Below we outline typical services.
Automated Volume Tests and Performance Trials
- How will the system perform under stress?
- Are service levels achievable?
- Will service degrade gracefully as the workload increases?
- Or will some software or hardware component give up the ghost (break test)?
- Can the service be sustained hour after hour, day after day (soak test)?
And if your requirements cannot be met what tuning can be applied? Is additional hardware required? Can the architecture be re-configured to give better performance and/or greater resilience?
Our testing technology can address all the components that together deliver end user service: WAN/LAN, web/application servers, database backend servers, and all software architectures.
Its vendor neutrality and minimal resource footprint lends itself equally to deployment on your hardware, our hardware on your premises, or out in the Cloud.
We have been performing independent testing of the widest range of technologies over the last 25 years. We offer a service. No product licenses. No need to develop in house skills that will be used once and then discarded, or lost to other organisations. We can offer a complete end to end service: test planning, test environment creation, testing, performance analysis, corrective processes, re-testing, inter-action with third party suppliers, detailed reporting, skill transfer and debrief
We can mix and match with your own resources.
Agile Volume Tests
We were Agile before the term was coined. Back when it was known as Rapid Application Development, we created and marketed our own methodology, Quality At Speed (QASM). It's founding principle, still valid today, is that you can only guarantee to do things more quickly by Doing Less.
Nobody deliberately writes poor code, or poorly performing code. On the contrary, they write the best, most performant code they are capable of. So in our view, Agile Volume Testing is about making developers aware of the performance implications of their coding habits before they have spent a significant portion of the budget.
Thus, the first Volume Tests should be conducted as soon as there is enough code integrated to represent the salient features of the system being developed.
These initial tests invariably throw up a host of performance, scalability and quality issues for the developers to resolve.
A further round of testing is thus obligated as soon as sufficient re-work has taken place.
In our experience, this second round resolves most issues.
So although a third round of testing needs to be embarked upon, this third round generally confirms that the lessons have been learned.
If no new issues have emerged, in keeping with our mantra, 'Do Less', we would advise against further Volume Tests until the system is ready for delivery, when they should form part of the Acceptance Testing process. If you put Stress Tests, Volume Tests, Performance Trials, call them what you will, on the Price List, they can become a Revenue Opportunity rather than an Expense.
If your Testing supplier is advising that you need to invest in Testers with a track record of Automated Testing strong C# coding skills, and experience with Fitnesse and BDD, they are, in our opinion, going about it the wrong way, and you are spending far too much.
Cloud Volume Tests
From our perspective as Testers, the miracle of the cloud is the ability to instantly deploy vast computing resource and internet connectivity bandwidth almost anywhere in the world, and pay peanuts by the hour.
For example, you've just upgraded your corporate Internet connectivity to a Ten Gigabit link; how can you demonstrate that your ISP is delivering?
E2's PATH Testing Workbench has provided test distribution and results consolidation from its inception. For us, Cloud testing simply means deployment to throw-awy instances in Amazon's Elastic Cloud rather than fixed machines designated for testing purposes.
See 'Volume test process' for more details
Whichever Rdbms you may use badly performing SQL has the potential to cripple service delivery.
In 85 percent of our trouble-shooting assignments, sub-optimal SQL is found to be the root cause of Performance Problems.
We offer SQL-related services including audits, correction and education. Our iterative methodology for SQL tuning uses a top ten approach. By this route you get fast returns for minimum cost.
SLAs can be usefully implemented at different levels of formality and for individual components or end to end. But an SLA that cannot be consistently measured and acted upon has no value.
We can assist our clients from SLA definition through to application specific response time monitoring.
Our experience of detailed laboratory testing and live operational monitoring equips us to address production issues; in particular those relating to performance and service delivery.
We are so confident that with our tools and experience we will deliver measurable benefit that we guarantee results.
We can offer flexibility but our typical four day (*) fixed price health check frequently meets the need. The basic structure is:
- Day One: Familiarisation, top down analysis, monitor implementation
- Day Two/three: Iterative monitor, investigate, resolve
- Day Four: Report write up and onsite debrief to achieve maximum skill transfer
* The elapsed time of the health check is likely to be several weeks. This allows for monitoring over interesting periods like month-ends. The days are virtual.
Whilst our size dictates that we cannot undertake substantial developments from time to time our clients have had need for specialist interfaces or processes that demand detailed technical understanding and sophisticated algorithms, that may relate to realtime sensitive processes, low level technical architectures, and/or the interfacing of protocols and technologies.
Any volume test requires a realistic, full volume database that obeys the rules of data distribution, integrity and domain validity. A number of techniques may need be employed: migration, expansion, encryption and/or totally synthetic build from the schema definitions.
Over the years we have not only gained experience of all these approaches but have developed a number of tools to help automate the process. Many of these skills and tools have also been applied to production database migration most recently in relation to Oracle e-Business Suite.
With our depth and breadth of experience, we are ideally placed to perform operational and development audits. Our independence and methodologies ensure an open and comprehensive approach.