Back to the Future with the Performance Advisory Council – PAC

[By Udbhav Kataria]

How does it feel when you have to head home from work, and you realize that there is a traffic jam on the highway which will prevent your arrival for hours? Probably frustration, right? Or, when the furthest you get with a customer service representative is “Thank you for holding. Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold, and the next available agent will be with you shortly.”

No doubt, these inconveniences leave you feeling upset and unsatisfied. So, you can imagine how a delay in response time on websites and applications can also create a similar response and potential defection of prospective customers. When done successfully, performance testing has long been paving the way for various companies to focus on growth instead of glitches and bugs.

Many companies have been executing performance testing with success for years, and their stories provide opportunities for others to learn.

This year, as summer draws to a close (for 24 hours between September 24 and 25), Neotys will be hosting its Virtual Performance Advisory Council. Like last year, it will feature 20 speakers from all around the world who’ll be tasked with explaining the different aspects of the performance testing, and how to see the future playing out in this space.

Want to join us?

In a recent conversation with Henrik Rexed, Partner Solution Evangelist at Neotys, we discussed how the Virtual #NeotysPAC is different from other performance testing events.

First of all, the Neotys PAC is an event that is only dedicated to load and performance testing. Performance testing is sophisticated, and most of the experts of the industry has either learned through:

  • Excellent mentors 
  • Spending hours tuning or understanding the technology directly
  • Continuous learning

Performance testing is a scientific practice that requires expertise in several fields:

  • Understanding of complex architecture
  • Coding best practices
  • Translating complicated topics for those less skilled

Over the last ten years, lots of things have changed: cloud architecture, methodology, process to automate. We are asking for more out of performance engineers. One thing remains — no training or boot camp allows sufficient opportunity to be appropriately trained in this role.

This is where the PAC comes in — spending time together talking about the project, method, best practice, and sharing it with the community. The educational value alone remains one of the reasons why the event remains free of charge. We want to make sure the performance engineer has access to cutting-edge perspectives and firsthand guidance on improvement.

How is #NeotysPAC beneficial to the new performance testers, and what will they learn?

Each Neotys PAC event purposefully focuses on relevant topics on the minds of today’s tester, answering some key questions:

  •  How do I test emerging technology; what are the challenges I should expect?
  •  How can I efficiently implement performance testing in Agile/DevOps?
  •  What are the typical rules of engagement for the performance engineer?
  •  How can I quickly and effectively identify performance problems?

The Neotys PAC’s mission is to prepare and present best practice recommendations to each attendee such that they can return to their workstations with an improved skill set. The virtual event is designed explicitly for practitioners thirsty for a hands-on tutorial.

What is the single best thing about the #NeotysPAC?

Most would say it’s the cost – you can’t ever argue with free. Perhaps it’s the learn at your pace presentation delivery style which via presentation recordings and speaker blogs published post-event.

What issues worry you most about performance testing today?

We still hear some say that they “don’t need performance testing, that it’ only a matter of hardware.” Others think that the Cloud and flexible architecture don’t require performance validation. I think it’s the opposite; we need to control the cost of our production. We need to ask ourselves a few things first. Is a SaaS platform also a big challenge? Are we authorized to generate load against our SaaS provider? Are we able to create the load against the sandbox environment? How do we monitor the time spent on our custom code?

How widespread is the awareness of the importance of performance testing felt corporately?

To me, it seems that projects are more complex than they used to say, 12 years ago. Likewise, our space has experienced some great successes, which only result in higher user expectation. Those who were born back in 2000 are now customers for banking, insurance, media, retailer companies. You’re also used to having a decent connection, hardware, excellently designed applications, powerful devices basically; you expect performant applications. We all want perfection delivered every time.

A company who’s yet to start its digital transformation and who fails to include performance testing in its project lifecycle flirts with danger.

This year’s PAC attendees will hear about a “back to the future” approach to performance testing. After all, some continue to work on advanced projects having adopted Agile and maybe even DevOps, while others maintain traditional (Waterfall) development. The back to the future theme will toggle between new and old school performance testing concepts.

Are there any old school techniques that you think are still more effective/efficient?

Old school techniques are the basis for today’s new way of delivering performance testing. For instance, it doesn’t make sense to:

  •  Start automating, or running a daily load test if the test is not reflecting a specific risk/situation    of the application
  •  Start testing if your testing assets (scripts) not robust enough
  •  Generate load if there is no clear understanding of the technical architecture

Sure, automation saves time, but doing so on the wrong test will only prove that performance testing lacks value and ROI. Let’s make sure that our community is doing their job correctly to remove those bad ideas from people’s minds.

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