LoadRunner Review
What’s new in LoadRunner 11.52 ?


On 12th June at HP Discover, I attended one of lecture sessions led by Shane Evans and Silvia Siquiera. During the presentation, they introduced the new features of LoadRunner 11.52. They started the presentation by introducing the new features that came in LoadRunner 11.50 (last year) and then highlighted the features that had been added since then.

Key new features:

  • Improved application performance (particularly VuGen startup and Analysis).
  • Integration with HP Live network. (HP Live network connects partners customers etc.)
  • Replay summary report displays detailed statistics.
  • Improved run time settings interface.
  • Can now configure round robin ramp up across load generators.
  • Integration with Visual studio and eclipse for agile CI/CD.
  • Support for Junit, nUnit and Selenium in LR scenarios.
  • LR scenarios as part of unit testing.
  • Can add performance tests as build steps in Jenkins.
  • VTS 2 is a big feature.
  • Mobile traffic recording apps for Android.*
  • New, improved proxy recording feature.
  • Shunra network virtualisation enhancements, a single load generator can now simulate different network types simultaneously e.g. some users on 3G, others on DSL etc. this removes the requirement to have a load generator for each “network type”.
  • Additional support for Linux load generators (different Linux versions).
    (This alone could be a reason to migrate to 11.52, Linux load generators can significantly reduce license costs for your test equipment).

*Whilst the new mobile recording engine is useful, I can’t help but feel that HP has scored an “own goal” in marketing terms. A number of their competitors are making lots of noise about their ability to test mobile applications and this announcement implies that HP are only just getting their act together on mobile testing. HP has been able to test mobile (and many other) applications via a proxy recorder for as long as I can remember and I’ve been using LoadRunner since 1999. This is new proxy recording engine undoubtedly makes scripting easier but it isn’t their first foray into mobile testing and their competitors are disingenuous if they try to make that claim.

Future trends
64-bit VuGen
One customer asked about whether HP had any plans for 64-bit VuGen or Load Generators. Shane Evans said that they didn’t perceive particular demand for this especially since load generators could each spawn multiple 2GB processes for load generation but that they would consider this if there was sufficient customer demand.

This question prompted a few others and one customer asked whether dcripting languages other than C were being considered. Shane said that JavaScript was being considered as a possible scripting language. This could pave the way towards using NoJS as a test engine.

Network simulation
The discussion then moved to network simulation and Shane asked the room whether people were using network simulation tools like Shunra or WANEM as part of their tests. Only 2 people in an audience of approximately 90 were using network simulation tools.

Diagnostics tools
Only one customer was using HP diagnostics and two or three others were using Dynatrace or other diagnostics/profiling tools like Wily Introscope. I would be very surprised if network simulation and application diagnostics weren’t significant growth areas for specialist testers in the coming years. These products add significant value to testing engagements and are becoming more important as users become more mobile and applications are increasingly hosted on virtual platforms where performance optimisation is more important.

VTS2 – Virtual Table Server
Shane then did a small demonstration of VTS2. I was a big advocate of the original VTS (virtual table server) and since it’s demise I’ve looked at various ways of managing test data in scripts (such as using MySQL) . VTS was always an unsupported add-on (originally written by Mercury engineers) to allow parameters to be passed from script to script. This worked well but had a number of limitations. As well as being “technically” unsupported, the database had to be loaded with parameters from a CSV file before tests and you had to remember to save the “database” to a file each time that you shut it down.

VTS2 doesn’t have these limitations. It is based on the MongoNoSQL database and can handle up to 2000 txns/sec easily (I can’t wait to try this properly). Media for VTS2 comes with LoadRunner 11.52 or is downloadable from HP SSO.

LoadRunner 12.0 ?
Silvia mentioned the fact that there were so many new features, some people within HP felt that this could merit a new major version number rather than simply adding 0.02 to the last release. This reminded me of Stuart Moncrieff’s summary of 11.50 last year. Having seen the new features, I think that she’s probably right, LoadRunner 12.0 and Performance Center 12.0 are probably already here :)

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