Performance Testing Microsoft .NET Web Applications
By Mike Riley
Web application testing is a tricky job. Bottlenecks can occur anywhere, from poorly coded routines to network latency, processor speed, and disk access constraints. With the daunting task of maintaining the availability and fast response times of some of the busiest Web sites on the Internet today, Microsoft engineers know what to troubleshoot and how to tune their online properties for maximum performance. Eight of these engineers from the Microsoft Application Consulting and Engineering (ACE) Team have imparted their real-world experiences into this book, and their knowledgeable tips and testing recommendations are formatted within the design of a standard Microsoft manual. Introductions are given to Compuware s Application Expert program for performing network analysis, their DevPartner Studio product, and Xtremesoft s Appmetrics tool for application performance analysis. The rest of the tool recommendations are Microsoft bred.
The book s 10 chapters cover stress testing using the Microsoft Application Center Test (ACT) utility included in the Enterprise and Architect editions of Visual Studio .NET, using the System Monitor, Network Monitor, capturing and analyzing IIS logs, managed and unmanaged (COM Interop) code considerations, SQL and IIS Tier analysis. The last chapter closes with a discussion of predictive modeling analysis using Microsoft s Indy project that evaluates performance data based on Microsoft s Transaction Cost Analysis (TCA) approach. TCA is a science-based approach to help you estimate Web application hardware needs. Unfortunately, not even an evaluation version of Indy is included on the accompanying CD-ROM. The contents of the CD-ROM are essentially a handful of sample test scripts, system monitor templates, a Word document about writing an ASP Timer, and a version of the book in compiled HTML format. A PowerPoint advertisement for Compuware s Application Expert is also included, though I would have much rather preferred a trial copy of the program to follow along with the book s examples of the product in action.
The authors could have also provided some insight beyond their Indy discussion into the future of performance testing. Trends such as the recent interest in applying Six Sigma s DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) methodology, a popular approach used by the manufacturing sector, to the operational aspects of software development and deployment would have been worthwhile explorations. Even a glimpse into Microsoft s performance measurement tools roadmap would have been valuable given the authors likely input toward the direction of such a strategy.
Overall, these criticisms are dwarfed by the fact that the book fulfills its obligation to the reader. Time-saving tips abound. Explanations leave no question in the reader s mind about how to execute a described procedure. Thus, the book s objective is best summarized in its final sentence, helping the reader realize that they can increase performance through careful consideration, rather than through trial and error.
Performance Testing Microsoft .NET Web Applications by Microsoft Application Consulting and Engineering (ACE) Team, Microsoft Press.
(298 pages, CD-ROM)