Wednesday, July 20, 2011

CloudTest Lite - A Game Changer in the Performance Tool Market

Yesterday, SOASTA announced their new product, CloudTest Lite (Press Release). It's not common that I get excited about a tool product release, but this is different. This product has the potential to change the market for the better.
Scratch that. I'll be shocked if it doesn't change the market for the better.

Why is that, you ask? Consider the following attributes of CloutTest Lite:
  • It's a fully featured, easy to learn and use, enterprise class, modern, performance testing tool for web & mobile applications
  • All you need to use it is a reasonably modern machine connected to the internet and a web browser.
    • You don't need to buy, install, configure or maintain load generation machines.
    • The "license" is tied to your personal credentials, so you can design, create, execute, and analyze your tests from any machine you want without needing to figure out how to point to the license server, or how to get onto the corporate network from your favorite internet cafe.
    • You can even do much of the design, test enhancement, and analysis entirely off-line.
  • You can simulate up to 100 virtual users any time you want. No more scheduling time on the controller days or weeks in advance guessing the app will be ready for your test. No more having to wait until your next scheduled time to re-run your test when you see something 'wonky' in your data.
  • It's free.
    • Yes, I said free.
    • As in, you never need to pay a dime. Not today, not when the trial expires, not a year from now to continue your maintenance contract.
    • That's right, it is free from now until the sun explodes (or at least until well beyond when anything we're building or planning to build today is long gone and forgotten)
Imagine the implications:

  • There is no longer a financial excuse to not be testing performance for any website, of any size, throughout the lifecycle.
  • No more resources wasted installing and configuring load generation labs.
  • No more time lost waiting for licenses or controllers.
  • Trainers can teach public performance testing classes, with an enterprise class tool without investing (and charging) a fortune to build and maintain a legally licensed lab.
  • You can launch all those late night tests from home.
Ok, true, it's "only" 100 virtual users, but be honest, how often do you need more than that? And when you do, it is simple and seamless to buy the additional load you need with the CloudTest On Demand service -- no additional installations, not changes to your tests necessary. Just pay for what you need when you need it.

SOASTA has done what I've been begging vendors to do for a decade. They've eliminated the bar to entry for life-cycle performance testing and committing to providing a positive user experience. They've build a business model where they get paid by the owners of the sites make a lot of money as a result of large volumes of traffic to their site instead of trying to wring non-existent nickles out of the owners of "mom & pop" businesses who want to add a little value to their customers with a user expectation meeting website.

Congratulations SOASTA for implementing a business model that actually demonstrates, not just pays lip service to, social responsibility and software user advocacy without skimping on features, usability, or the ability to pay your employees a fair salary for their hard work. That alone, even if I didn't like the tool (and I *do* like the tool) makes you one of *very* few companies that I am proud to support.

All you other vendors, consider this fair warning. Unless your tool does something special, like handles some unique protocol or accommodates a specialized technology or architecture, as of yesterday, I rate your market share as "legitimately under attack".
Scott Barber
Chief Technologist, PerfTestPlus, Inc.

Co-Author, Performance Testing Guidance for Web Applications
Author, Web Load Testing for Dummies
Contributing Author, Beautiful Testing, and How To Reduce the Cost of Testing

"If you can see it in your mind...
     you will find it in your life."

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