IBM Rational Performance Tester Review

Enables us to run performance tests against the most common application environments

What is most valuable?

The tool supports multiple protocols, such as HTTP, Citrix, and SAP. It enables me, as a consultant, to run performance tests against the most common application environments.

I can manage the complete performance test process from a single interface, which saves me from installing additional software and swapping between applications.

Provides very good user workload modelling functionality, which is important for me to accurately represent real business scenarios when designing my tests.

Very easy to customize and edit tests once recorded with lots of features for renaming, merging, splitting pages, and data driving tests.

Load generation is supported from the cloud via a ‘pay-as-you-go’ model, which removes the need for us to provide additional hardware resources and network bandwidth for large tests.

Resource monitoring of the system under test infrastructure is also supported. This enables me to correlate performance statistics with resource utilization figures during analysis.

How has it helped my organization?

It supports our agile approach not only philosophically but now practically in enabling us to provide performance testing “On Demand” and earlier in the development lifecycle.

This allowed us to act quickly on several occasions where it was crucial to identify and resolve performance bottlenecks with minimal delay.

What needs improvement?

The installation and tool setup can take some time, since this involves several components. A review of the licensing implementation would help here.

There could be better process guidance to help inexperienced testers to follow procedures and navigate the tool.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this for 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There were no issues with stability, although as this is a Java-based tool. You do have to manage the “housekeeping” in terms of garbage collection and heap size optimization when running large load tests or executing tests for an extended period of time.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This tool is very scalable. This is one of its selling points. For large scale tests, i.e., 5000 virtual users and up, it performs very well.

How is customer service and technical support?

When needed, I have found the technical support to be very in terms of speed of response and problem resolution ability.

Which solutions did we use previously?

JMeter was used previously, but we found it limited in terms of protocol support, scalability, and lack of support for the entire test process i.e., analysis and reporting.

How was the initial setup?

The installation and tool setup can take some time since this involves several components. A review of the licensing implementation would help here.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

This is not the most expensive tool in the market place, but of course, it is not open source.

The cloud load generation option could be a solution for companies not able or willing to invest in an enterprise performance test solution.

I would consider their token licensing option if you are looking into other testing and or development tools since you can optimize license usage by re-using licensees across the Rational tool set.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

What other advice do I have?

Realize that this tool will require some time and expertise to setup and configure. Make sure that you plan for this.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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