Micro Focus LoadRunner Enterprise Review

Tests the performance of our applications and has the ability to share the screen while you are running a test

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for Performance Center is testing the performance of all of our applications.

What needs improvement?

One thing that always fails at our company is that after you have checked in an application then it usually crashes in some way. You get some strange error message. We found out you can open the test you have set up and usually, it works without the error the second time. So you just close the application test and open it again, and then it is okay. So that is quite confusing if you are new to the product, but you do not care about the inconvenience or even notice it after using the tool for a while. It does not seem very professional and it is really a buggy behavior that should be fixed.

One feature I would like to see included in the next release of Performance Center would be to be able to run more fluidly with True Client so you could put more virtual users in Performance Center. That would help. I'm not sure how easy it is to compile something like that, but it would be valuable.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using Performance Center for about a year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have had some problems with instability. At one point Performance Center suddenly went down for two days, but usually, it works. It works okay now and has not been a problem, but it was worse in the beginning. They have changed something, so it is better now than it was, I think.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is good enough. Sometimes we get a message from the generators that they are at 80% or more capacity. That is an error we get quite commonly. We only have eight gigabytes on the generators and it is recommended to use 16 gigabytes. I guess that is likely the reason why we have this problem. This happens a lot more often when we are running TruClient. The 80% capacity error comes up very fast in that case. We can not run many users with TruClient at all.

How are customer service and technical support?

It is not usually me who calls tech support but I got the impression that the team is quite pleased with it. Usually, it is good. On the other hand, we have had some problems now that are not resolved. For example, one of my applications is not running at all because we are running on version 12.53. There was some problem with the REST (Representational State Transfer) services and the coding part of our REST services. We were using a very old encoding version that we are not using anymore. We stopped using it a long time ago. But it was still supposed to be compatible in 12.53, and that is what we are using. I know the problem was fixed from version 12.56 and up, but we have not been able to complete the upgrade. 

I'm able to run the tests on the application locally, but not in Performance Center. So we are waiting for this upgrade at the moment to resolve these issues.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We are currently using 12.53 and we are trying to upgrade it to 12.63 but it looks like there's a problem with the upgrade. We would like to switch to take better advantage of some features that are currently difficult to work with. We used LoadRunner concurrently for a while, and while it was a good product there were things about Performance Center that we prefer.

How was the initial setup?

I was not included in the process when they installed the solution, but it took quite a lot more time than I would have expected. I guess, based partly on the length of time it took, that it was not very straightforward to set up and must have been a bit difficult. The other reason it does not seem easy is that the team has tried to upgrade now two times now and both times they had to roll back to the previous version. We'll see when a fix is issued and they try to upgrade again if the issue is solved. It looks like there are problems with connecting properly. The team has a ticket in with Micro Focus about the problem, but we are not sure what the problem stems from and a resolution has not been provided.

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

I'm not quite sure about the exact pricing because I do not handle that part of the business, but I think the Performance Center is quite expensive. It is more expensive than LoadRunner, although I am not sure how many controllers you can run for the same price. They said Performance Center was costing us around 40 million Krones and that is about 4 million dollars. But I think that was with ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) as well and not only for Performance Center.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before we used Performance Center at all, we used LoadRunner (Corporate version, 50 licenses). But now we changed over almost entirely to Performance Center and we are phasing LoadRunner out. For a while, we were running both at the same time to compare them. The nice thing is that we do not need to have many controllers connected with Performance Center. The bad thing is that more than one person may want to use the same generator. So sometimes we have problems. I guess we had the same problem before when we used LoadRunner because everyone can't run a test at the same time.

There are some good things and some bad things about Performance Center in comparison to LoadRunner. The good thing is that you are able to share the screen while you are running a test. On the other hand, you do not get all the same information you get with LoadRunner when you run the tests. After you have done the tests, you can just copy the completed file and you get the same test results as if you had run on LoadRunner. So that is not really a problem. But when first running the Performance Center application for testing, I missed some of the information I got from LoadRunner. It is just a different presentation.

What other advice do I have?

The advice I would give to someone considering this product is that they should try LoadRunner first before they start using Performance Center — especially if it is a small company. They need to know and be able to compare LoadRunner to Performance Center in the right way. After you have used LoadRunner then compare Performance Center. If they are part of a small company and they expect to expand they will know the difference. If they are already a very big company, they can save some money by using Performance Center directly. We are quite a big company, so Performance Center makes sense for us.

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate Performance Center as an eight. It is only this low because we have had so many problems here installing it and upgrading it. Sometimes it runs very slow just to set up tests, or it just crashes. Like when setting up a spike test, you start using the spike test process and it suddenly crashes after you have almost finished everything. Executing the tests were a lot easier and more stable in LoadRunner.

You can manage to make Performance Center work, but you have to be patient.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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