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

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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:

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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!