By Paul Moorhead, Non Exec Director, JAR Technologies
In the last few days before Christmas, one of the companies I work with received a vendor assessment questionnaire – and a very good one it was too. Not full of wacky questions about how you dispose of your old toner cartridges and whether you are certified to ISO-blah-blah-blah, but questions about application security, support levels, and…performance.
I have to say I was somewhat surprised because this questionnaire came from a government department. What panicked the Sales team, however, was several questions about infrastructure, bandwidth requirements and latency etc. We had never been asked these questions before, and yet we should have been because the service in question is delivered via a web application connecting over 3G to cloud services running on AWS. Some of the deployments would be fairly remote too. What are we going to say? How can we answer these questions?
I savoured a few moments of their pain (let’s be honest, Sales cause engineers pain without a moment’s guilt) before putting them out of their misery and reminding them that this is why we do performance and performance and load testing and why we use WAN emulation to explore the sensitivity of the application to network conditions. A few minutes later I produced a document – a table showing link speed as one dimension, latency as the other, and coloured green/red depending on the page load times under those conditions with anything 2 seconds or less coloured green. The chart clearly showed the data for link speeds of 1Mbps and up, and latencies less than 150ms. Upon checking this ofcom data revealed that average UK 3G latency is about 60ms, and average link speed is around 5Mbps – so we’re in good shape. To be fair to the Sales team they resisted the urge to punch my smug face, and gratefully took the information and went away happy.
The data had taken around a day create using JAR:Emulate and the work had been done during a system test phase. To do it all from scratch, including setting up the test system, would have taken 2-3 days and could not have been completed before the Christmas holidays. Well we all know who’s Christmas would have been ruined and it would not have been Sales.
So if you want to avoid those last minute panics and be confident in your app performance, make sure you test it, long before someone asks to see the data!
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