JAX London 2014: A retrospective
Apply some pressure with BlazeMeter

Q&A – BlazeMeter CEO Alon Girmonsky talks about his company’s launch

ChrisMayer
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Based on Apache JMeter, load testing application BlazeMeter is designed to measure the response of a system or device when under stress.

  • Alon Girmonsky

    With over 20 years of experience, technology guru Alon Girmonsky is the wizard behind the BlazeMeter curtain. Having served as GM, VP R&D and CTO in 5 different highly successful companies, Alon knows all too well the pitfalls and annoyances vexing today’s developers. Creating a platform that all developers can use quickly and easily while saving their companies’ capital has been a goal of Alon’s ever since he was a little boy, laying on the grass, looking up at the clouds. A strange goal for one so young, you may say. He was often accused of having his head in the clouds, and now, he has created a platform that lives in them. Living proof that daydreaming can be a serious career move.

It may not appear to be the most alluring side of the business, but load testing has never been so important in building successful applications.

Today, the people behind cloud-based loud testing service Blazemeter unveiled their public face after two years in development. Having already attracted clients such as ITV, Logica and Toyota, we talk to the creator of the cutting-edge application, Alon Girmonsky and his vision for Blazemeter.

JAX – Where did the idea for BlazeMeter come from?

AG: I’ve been developing enterprise grade systems in and around the Internet for the past 16 years. BlazeMeter came out of my own frustrations over the fact that load testing was unnecessarily complicated to practice and non-realistic when deployed in a local area network. 

While hunting for a decent load testing solution, I had to dismiss commercial tools rather quickly as they were very expensive and required a lot of education before taking any action.  I came across excellent open source tools but all too often, they proved limited in capabilities. 

After giving up, I built my own environment based on the open source Apache JMeter- which I found to be the best open source tool available. With the introduction of the cloud revolution, it seemed an organic move to create a solution in the cloud. It was just too obvious that there was a faster, simpler, less expensive way to load test. I put out a few feelers to see if there would be any interest and I was thrilled with the response. Hundreds upon hundreds (nearly 1500!) of users signed on to use the newly developed testing cloud.

Over time, this process evolved and BlazeMeter was born an actual testing cloud for load testing.To elaborate further, essentially EC2 by Amazon is a general purpose cloud.  Heroku, another well-known example, is a Ruby cloud. So, in the same vein, BlazeMeter is a cloud specifically for load testing. 

Why is load testing so important to web application developers?

As the core of your business, successful web-apps are an integral part of most businesses today. The only way to really validate the behaviour of your web-app in real time is to create an accurate and realistic simulation of what may happen during crunch time. Otherwise any web-app going live without prior load testing is exposed to failure and obviously, this can translate into large financial losses.

Load testing today is complex and time-consuming every way you turn. Whether self-managed or dependent on external and often expensive resources, it is no easy task. Prior to BlazeMeter there was no simple, self-service out-of-the-box solution.

What is JMeter for anyone new to the world of load and performance testing?

JMeter is an open-source load testing tool created by Apache. It’s a tool with great protocol coverage and scripting capabilities. It’s very easy to create a test script that realistically and accurately simulates any scenario. But running tests is a different story… users may find it challenging and spend too much time, up to days even, creating their own testing environment as JMeter is limited in terms of scalability, reporting and stability.

What problem existed in the market that BlazeMeter solves? 

Existing commercial and professional load testing solutions fail to meet today’s developer needs because they are either too expensive or too complex to meet real world professional requirements. 

Due to our unique technology, BlazeMeter overcomes these challenges through a self-service load testing cloud that provides unlimited testing capacity, comprehensive and interactive real-time reporting and sophisticated result analysis and recommendations.

How long has the company been running?

We just launched – literally, as we went live today (December 6, 2011) after nearly two years of development. But, during our beta and garage operation, nearly 1,500 users joined executing over 20,000 testing hours! 

Can you give us a brief description of what BlazeMeter does?

BlazeMeter is a testing cloud with a sole focus on load testing, designed to simplify performance and load testing for developers and QA testers. We provide developers and QA testers self-service tools to build failure resilient applications. 

We simplify load testing by dramatically reducing time-to-test and we provide a self-service load testing cloud based on the open-source JMeter. The fact that we are based on JMeter allows us to reduce the cost of operation and also allow current JMeter users to simply upload their script and run in an out- of- the- box environment.

     

What does BlazeMeter offer/do that other competitors don’t and what are BlazeMeter’s key features?

BlazeMeter self-service tools seamlessly create extra-large load tests with minimum friction. Every user gets their own dedicated and secure testing environment, available in numerous geographic regions. Users can opt for automatic script generation and always have the option to start, stop and re-size any options at any given time. And, it’s available on-demand.

We also have extensive real-time reporting and monitoring for optimal control. Users receive a full range of fine-grained and interactive real-time reporting, result analysis and recommendations. Users always maintain complete control over their testing resource (logs, CPU, Memory, bandwidth graphs). On top of the graphical reports, we aggregate and expose information from all parts of the test, such as errors, exceptions or logs. Users can query the report to find the most detailed information needed and really drill down.

BlazeMeter also alters the economics of load testing by providing a self-service system that allows users to pay only for actual consumption.

Can you dive a bit deeper dive in to the technology behind it?

BlazeMeter is a load testing cloud powered by our BlazeCluster™ technology. Our technology enables spawning an unlimited number of customized JMeter engines, synchronizing them and aggregating their data into one master set of results, completely independent of JMeter. Needless to say, that due to having JMeter incorporated within the BlazeCluster™ technology, it is fully compatible with JMeter.

How do you see the next few years going for BlazeMeter and the whole market in general? 

IDC predicts that the automated software quality (ASQ) market will approach $2.6 billion by 2014. I believe that most of this growth will emerge from the enterprise market.  

BlazeMeter’s goal is to leverage the gap and completely revolutionise the load testing market. With our testing cloud, users can now practice professional load testing with very little friction in a way that really embraces the new era of open source cloud and agile development.  As more and more computing shifts to web applications, the industry’s need for powerful load and performance testing will continue to explode. We don’t see an end to that anytime soon.

Can people try BlazeMeter and how do they get started?

BlazeMeter is free to try and download. Simply upload your JMeter script or enter your URL for automatic scripting generated by the system. Or, sign up (no credit card required) and receive ten free tests and feel the power of the testing cloud!

Thanks for talking to us!

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