About Grid Robotics and Worksoft

Grid Robotics LLC is a Dallas-based software company that specializes in cloud-based technology for testing, training and other applications.  Capacity Calibration, or CapCal, is a load testing solution that runs in the Amazon, IBM and Rackspace clouds and is used to test the scalability and performance of web applications by generating high volume traffic from load agents in the cloud.  CapCal Mobile Performance Testing uses a network of mobile devices to test the performance of mobile applications and web sites on mobile networks, and Cloud Lab is a patent-pending GUI for the cloud that supports a number of unique applications, including test lab management, virtual classrooms, cross-browser testing and more.

The founder of Grid Robotics LLC, Randy Hayes, was the inventor of the first automated testing tool for the PC called AutoTester and the original founder of the company of that name.  Along with his sister Linda Hayes, they raised money in the beginning from family and friends and went on to create the dominant company in the test automation industry for almost a decade.  After raising venture capital from Arkansas investors Smiley Company and Stephens Group in the early 90s, the company reached $16 million in revenue with over 600 customers, including Hewlett Packard, IBM, Tandem, Unisys and others.

After the investors replaced her as CEO in 1994, Linda Hayes resigned and went on to a career as a consultant in the burgeoning test automation industry, when was then becoming more and more dominated by Mercury Interactive.  In 1998 she founded Worksoft, Inc., and was joined by Randy Hayes, their brother Ron, and another former AutoTester employee.  Together they created Worksoft Certify, the first scriptless test automation tool that allows business analysts or subject matter experts to create automated tests without coding.  Today Worksoft is a leader in test automation for the SAP industry with a long list of name brand clients like eBay, Coca Cola, Spirit Aero, the US Army and Costco among others.  Worksoft is funded by Crescendo Ventures of Palo Alto and Austin Ventures of Austin, Texas among others.

In 2008 Randy Hayes left Worksoft to pursue the exciting possibilities made possible by the newly announced Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).  Having been very successful as a Worksoft consultant helping the sales force to close major deals by traveling to customer sites and conducting proofs of concept, Randy was very familiar with the challenges involved with installing, configuring and deploying software at customer sites so he and a friend created a product called Cloud Lab.  Cloud Lab could be used to deploy entire client-server environments in minutes rather than hours or days, and could be managed remotely rather than at the customer site.

In 2011 Mr. Hayes approached the executives at Worksoft about an OEM deal that would allow their sales force to do proofs of concept without having to travel to the customer site and would allow customers the option of using the software in the cloud instead of on their in house machines.  When they had reached a tentative agreement after 3 months of negotiations, the VP of Business Development pulled the plug on the project and Randy threatened to sue to receive compensation for their lost time.  The matter was dropped and the two companies went their own ways.

Two years later, Randy was approached by his sister Linda with an idea and a proposal.  Since Worksoft is a competitor of Hewlett Packard in the SAP test automation market, HP had refused to sell their Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) software to them, which they needed in order to develop an interface that would let them sell Worksoft Certify to HP customers.  She asked Grid Robotics to serve as an intermediary to purchase the software from HP and allow Worksoft to use it.  Since the license would allow Grid Robotics customers to use it, the arrangement was perfectly legal as long as Worksoft was a customer, and since Worksoft would pay for their time, that would qualify them as a customer.

For the next 2 and a half years, Randy provided this service to the developers at Worksoft.  He deployed the software in the Amazon cloud and gave them access privileges so they could develop and test their interface and their sales people could give demos to prospective customers.  He interfaced with Avnet, the HP dealer, requesting licenses, updates, price quotes, etc.  The dispute of 2 years ago was ancient history by then, so things went along smoothly without a hitch.

However, in July of 2015, Randy was approached by a recruiter in Seattle who was looking for a consultant to help Worksoft’s biggest customer, Costco, build a team of Certify-trained engineers to automate their SAP applications using HP ALM as the test management component.  This meant that the service Grid Robotics had been providing had been instrumental in making the Costco deal possible.  Having been one of the original developers of Certify as well as a seasoned Worksoft consultant, he applied for the position and was waiting for an interview when he heard that someone at Worksoft had told them he had a “bad relationship” with Worksoft!

Knowing that this was a reference to the dispute in 2011, he wrote to Jim Kent, the Worksoft CEO, and asked him to address the matter immediately, reminding him of the service he had been providing for and warning him that he would only continue doing so if the matter was resolved.  The CEO said he didn’t even remember the incident, that nobody should be saying anything bad about him, and promised to deal with it.  To his utter amazement, he found out that “deal with it” did not mean retracting the bad reference, but merely telling the person who said it not to do it again!  He was refused the opportunity at Costco because of the threat to sue in 2011, in spite of the service he had been providing for them for the last 30 months!

So the relationship between Grid Robotics and Worksoft was terminated and Worksoft was denied access to the HP ALM and UFT software they had been using to support their developers and sales force.  Now Grid Robotics owns licenses for ALM with four user seats and one HP UFT user with no use for them.  We also have an outstanding loan from one of our members who is also a Worksoft investor.  So in order to satisfy that debt, we are offering to sell the 5 transferrable licenses at a 20% discount using a social media campaign.

We are publishing this information because we are seeing business opportunities evaporate because rumors are spreading about a lawsuit, which is not true (although we may be forced to take legal action if this matter is not settled).

Below is the email exchange between Randy Hayes, founder of Grid Robotics, and Jim Kent, the CEO of Worksoft.  For more information, please contact [email protected]

From: Jim Kent [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Monday, July 27, 2015 5:38 PM
To: Randy Hayes
Subject: Re: Costco

 

Randy,

 

Do you know specifically who is talking negative from Worksoft.  No one should be, the below instant is not something I remember and would doubt that not many people would.  I have a positive reference of our interactions over the years. Please let me know if you identify where the negative rumblings are coming from and I will deal with it.

 

Best of luck with the opportunity,

 

Jim

 

Jim Kent

Chief Executive Officer

 

(o)  972.993.0501

(m) 508.397.0717

(f)   972.250.9900

[email protected]

www.worksoft.com

 

 

From: Randy Hayes <[email protected]>
Date: Monday, July 27, 2015 at 2:15 PM
To: Jim Kent <[email protected]>
Subject: Costco

 

Hi Jim,

 

I am presently applying for a position as a lead automation engineer using Worksoft Certify at Costco.  I was contacted by the recruiting company who told me there were “rumblings” about a bad relationship I have with Worksoft.  As you recall, in June of 2011 a colleague of mine and I spent almost 3 months engaged in a proof of concept to deliver a test automation lab on the Amazon cloud that your sales and support people could use so they wouldn’t have to travel.  As you also recall, at the last minute Mr. Pickrell shut down the project without any compensation and for no apparent reason other than the fact that he could.  He had spent several months trying to hire me back to do what I had been doing before, namely showing up at big accounts to do POCs to help close sales, which I did for Coca Cola, Spirit Aero and others.  I was unwilling to because of the travel involved and I truly believe that his treatment of me was due to spite and nothing else.

 

Yes, I was furious and yes, I threatened to sue but I didn’t – I ate my losses of at least $30.000 in lost opportunity and moved on.  In the meantime, the work I did on that project evolved into what is now a key part of your business – using the Amazon cloud to provision servers and other resources for development testing, and implementation.  When Gilles needs help with something he knows he can call me and I will help.  I am also functioning as a middle man to allow your development team to use HP ALM for the testing and maintenance of the Certify ALM interface, which I am happy to continue doing as long as we can maintain a cordial relationship .

 

I would appreciate it very much if we could put this behind us and that you would not allow it to interfere with the opportunity I have at Costco.  I have a long list of current and past Worksoft employees and customers who will vouch for my technical abilities and work ethic and I am convinced that I will be an asset for Costco and make the Worksoft installation successful.

 

Best Regards,

 

Randy Hayes
Grid Robotics LLC
www.gridrobotics.com
(w) 800-518-2130
(m) 214-562-2624

 

——————————————————————————————————————————–

From: Jim Kent [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, July 30, 2015 12:43 PM
To: Randy Hayes
Subject: Re: letter of recommendation

 

Randy,

 

Again sorry about the results at Costco, the only initiative I can take is to speak with the individual at Woeksoft who you are referring to so this does not happen again.  I do not do recommendation for anyone.  Again the only general comment I can make is that I have not had any negative interactions with you.  I know this is not what you are looking for, for that I am sorry…..

 

Jim

 

Jim Kent

Chief Executive Officer

 

(o)  972.993.0501

(m) 508.397.0717

(f)   972.250.9900

[email protected]

www.worksoft.com

 

 

From: Randy Hayes <[email protected]>
Date: Thursday, July 30, 2015 at 6:38 AM
To: Jim Kent <[email protected]>
Subject: letter of recommendation

 

Hi Jim,

 

You can skip my request and we can put this whole thing behind us if you will simply provide me with a recommendation on Linked In that is both factual and true:

 

“Randy Hayes was one of the four original founders of Worksoft that can came up with the idea of “scriptless automation” after their experience at their first company, AutoTester, which was based on Mr. Hayes’s original invention of the “software tape recorder” in 1983.  AutoTester was the first test automation tool for the PC and dominated the market for over a decade.  Mr. Hayes’ contributions to Worksoft over the years have been many and varied, including the development in 2006 of the original SAPGUI interface with another founder, Gene Jones.  Many of Worksoft’s largest customers were sold on the idea of Certify because of Randy’s on-site efforts to show how cross platform, end-to-end business processes could be automated without writing a single line of code.  He is very popular and well-liked by everyone at the company who worked with him over the years.”

 

The problem with the information that reached Costco is the fact that it was a lie – I’ve never had a bad relationship with Worksoft, I only had a bad relationship with someone who is no longer at the company and for good reason.  It left other people in the company with a bad impression of me when in fact my efforts were aimed at providing dramatic cost savings and increased quality of life for everyone in the sales organization.  I should not be penalized by the fallout from that and it is time to set the record straight, not only at Costco but within the company as well.

 

If you don’t feel comfortable doing this for any reason whatsoever, then we need to meet face to face to discuss it.  I was already looking for an opportunity in the Seattle area when I was contacted by the recruiter about the position at Costco.  They can’t possibly find anyone more qualified than I am to fill the lead role and neither one of us can afford to let it be ruined by a lie.

 

Thanks

Randy Hayes
Grid Robotics LLC
www.gridrobotics.com
(w) 800-518-2130
(m) 214-562-2624

 

 

 

InstructorViewDemo

[cvg-video videoId=’1′ width=’400′ height=’400′ mode=’playlist’/]

Connecticut Public Broadcasting Delivers College Basketball with Ease on the Cloud

AT A GLANCE

CUSTOMER’S BUSINESS: A nationally recognized producer and presenter of quality public television programming, including sports, original documentaries, and educational programming

CHALLENGES: Online broadcasting of basketball games was interrupted, due to unexpected heavy volume

RACKSPACE SOLUTION: Cloud ServersCloud Load BalancersScalr’s auto-scaling platform, CapCal Web Performance Testing from Grid Robotics

BUSINESS OUTCOME: A website that handles peak loads easily and quickly, allowing for satisfied global viewers and peace of mind for CPBN

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD CASE STUDY

Grid Robotics and Zephyr Announce Cloud Lab Rocket at STARWEST 2011 – The First Integrated, End-to-end Test Environment on the Cloud

Anaheim, CA, October 5, 2011:  At STARWEST 2011 today, Grid Robotics and Zephyr announced the product release of Cloud Lab Rocket, the first completely integrated, end-to-end testing environment on the cloud.

The solution combines the Zephyr Community Edition for real-time test management, Grid Robotics’ Cloud lab technology for managing physical and virtual machines, CapCal Web Performance for load testing, open source Selenium for functional testing, and Bugzilla for defect tracking, all  fully integrated and delivered on the Amazon or IBM Cloud.

End-to-End Test Lab and Management on the Cloud

Cloud Lab Rocket provides customers with the ability to perform all their testing activities from the cloud – test management, manual testing, automated functional testing, web performance testing, test lab environments, and defect tracking – without the need for expensive hardware, software or IT support.

Cloud Lab Rocket comes pre-configured with:

• Visual Test Lab Management Console
• Free Test Management (Zephyr Community Edition)
• Free Defect Tracking (Bugzilla)
• Free version of CapCal Web Performance Testing
• Open-source Functional Web Testing (Selenium)

“Grid Robotics has partnered with Zephyr to provide our customers with unparalleled value and comes preconfigured with the leading Free and Open Source software test automation and management products in the market today” said Greg Spindler, CEO of Grid Robotics, “The cloud presents new and affordable solutions for quality assurance professionals striving to meet company goals and timelines for higher quality software, shorter delivery time frames and lower costs. Grid Robotics’ products are available on the Amazon and IBM clouds today and getting started is simple and easy.”

Zephyr’s on-demand Test Management Platform manages all aspects of the testing lifecycle, integrates various test tools and systems and provides global access, collaboration and management visibility. “We are excited to partner with Grid Robotics to bring added value to our existing customer base and the wider testing space ” said Samir Shah, Founder and CEO of Zephyr, “With all the right pre-configured components integrated, Cloud Lab Rocket is an ideal solution for QA departments and project teams that are looking to ramp up rapidly.”

Pricing and Availability

Cloud Lab Rocket will be generally available in November 2011 at a starter price of $19.95/month.

About Grid Robotics

Grid Robotics is a leading provider of PaaS (Platform as a Service) solutions for development, testing, training and collaboration for all the major public and private clouds. Our innovative Windows® and Linux virtual appliances are optimized to run in today’s cloud and virtual environments to provide virtualized solutions to real world problems. Cloud Lab products are available on Amazon Web Services and the IBM Smart Cloud. For more information please visit www.gridrobotics.com

About Zephyr

Zephyr is a leading provider of on-demand, cloud based enterprise test management solutions offering innovative applications and unparalleled, metrics based visibility via real time dashboards into the quality and status of software projects. The feature rich solution addresses today’s dynamic and global needs across a variety of industries including finance, healthcare, mobile, IT services, and enterprise software. Zephyr’s global customers experience improved productivity, faster time to market and dramatic cost savings. For more information, please visit www.getzephyr.com

Cloud Lab Grid Automation Meets Zephyr on the Cloud

Grid Robotics is very happy to announce built-in integration with Zephyr, the award-winning test management system everyone is talking about these days.  We believe that this combination is the first of its kind, allowing test projects, test teams and test resources to be seamlessly integrated with virtual or physical test labs anywhere in the world, inside or outside the firewall.

Legacy test management systems like HP Quality Center were designed for departmental teams working on-premise on a local network.  Zephyr, on the other hand, erases those boundaries altogether, making today’s globally distributed test teams far more productive and able to work together as if they were in the same room.  Gloud Lab Grid Automation takes this a step further, allowing the actual physical or virtual machines themselves to be just as easily managed as the tests and test resources themselves.

The productivity gains are huge, as huge as the cloud itself.  Nowadays organizations use a hybrid combination of physical, virtual and cloud computers just as their teams can work in the same room, down the hall or in another part of the world.  The applications they are building are equally distributed, far outpacing the old client server model of legacy solutions.

We invite all Zephyr users to have a look at our combined solution as well as anyone looking at Cloud Lab Grid Automation.  We have been quite impressed with Zephyr’s Zbot integration platform and the way it combines itself with our own methodology.  Sometimes when you are looking for a “one size fits all” solution you can’t find anything that quite fits the bill but in this case you can.

Have a look at our 3 minute demo showing how easy it is to manage your test resources as well as your labs with this combined solution from Zephyr and Grid Robotics:

You need to install or upgrade Flash Player to view this content, install or upgrade by clicking here.

demo

Run Your Visual Studio Load Tests on the Cloud in Minutes

Microsoft Visual Studio(r) 2010 Ultimate Edition includes a powerful load testing tool that is integrated with Team Foundation Server and runs load tests of up to 250 users against your web application.  But what if you want to run tests using several thousands of users?  You were out of luck until now!

Grid Robotics announces our “Air Lift for Visual Studio Test Professional”, a way to quickly and easily run your MS web tests on Amazon EC2,  IBM Smart Cloud or Rackspace in minutes.  Just import your test, upload it to the CapCal server and go for it.  Now you can easily simulate many hundreds or thousands of users without sacrificing your investment in the Microsoft Visual Studio platform but leveraging it instead.  With CapCal’s on-demand SaaS model this is easy to do and our customers love it!  Give us a call or fill in our web contact form for a demo or a free POC.

Why Static Content is Just So Much Static

If you don’t know what the term “static content” means, it refers to any content that doesn’t change (like images, SWF files, media files, CSS files, script files, etc).  The average web page contains dozens oflinks to static content, while only the HTML contains the data the user is typically interested in.  This has an enormous impact on load testing for reasons this blog post will address.

As you probably know, static content is usually cached on your local machine the first time you see a page and stays there unless it changes.  This is why the first time you go to a site it takes longer to load than subsequent times and is a huge design consideration for serving up complex pages quickly for return visits.  Furthermore, since the advent of CDN (content delivery networks) like Akamai, the static content gets delivered to user from a server closest to them, reducing even further the time it takes to arrive at your desktop.

But even if you don’t use a CDN but host the content on your own servers, the data is cached in the sever memory the first time it is accessed so future accesses require almost no processing overhead on the server’s part – filling up the pipe is all it takes and that is minimal in terms of CPU time.  So the question is, what are the pros and what are the cons of including static content in a load test?  I think you’ll see that the list of cons is fairly long and the list of pros is…well, almost non-existent!  (Unless you want to test your bandwidth, in which case you can just choose the largest content file you have and just hit that with as many users as you can).

Besides filling up the test and its results with dozens of URLs that make them difficult to read and interpret, the test is not very realistic unless you assume that all your users are first time visitors.  Even then, it’s the speed of the real end user’s connection that will really determine how fast the page loads and if you have a way to control that then you should patent it at once!  Seriously, though, the amount of static content and its size has always been a design consideration for web developers and the trade-offs are well known.

Most importantly, however, it’s the dynamic content that most determines the performance of a web application and that is where the “rubber meets the road”.  You have no control over static content other than eliminating it, reducing its size or increasing your network bandwidth.  You do have control over dynamic content, however, and that’s where most bottlenecks occur (most often with database operations).

So the art of web site performance improvement often boils down to database performance, load balancing and application code design.  For that, it’s best to eliminate all static content and focus entirely on what is making the real demands on your server.  Otherwise you may end up with a load test that requires many times the number of load agents than it would otherwise require, which adds cost that would otherwise be spent on improving performance on the back end!

Welcome to Grid Robotics

Grid Robotics is a leading provider of PaaS (Platform as a Service) solutions for development, testing, training and collaboration for all the major public and private clouds. Our innovative Windows® and Linux virtual appliances are optimized to run in today’s cloud and virtual environments to provide virtual solutions to real world problems. Contact us today for a free trial, or for a list of our solution partners see the Partner section on our web site!