Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Mehdi Daoudi, John Walsh, Liz McMillan, Xenia von Wedel, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, @CloudExpo, Cloud Security

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Feed Post

Performance Testing in Production? By @Lounibos | @DevOpsSummit #Cloud #DevOps

Here are 14 grid management best practices you should know

I spent a few days in New York City last week attending a couple of meetups, including speaking at a New York City Web Performance Meetup on Thursday night. I had several great conversations around real user monitoring, data science and analytics, and, of course, testing in production (my favorite topic these days!).

I had quite a few discussions around how SOASTA CloudTest manages these large cloud environments and if there are any best practices for load server grid management, especially when performance testing using a very large, location-diverse — and even cloud provider-diverse — environment.

Well, of course there are! So what better time to write a blog post about grid management best practices when you’ve just spent a few days in one of the best city grids in the world — New York!

Overview of the CloudTest environment
CloudTest’s load server is implemented as a massively multi-threaded service executing all, or parts of, a complex test composition. (Note: A composition can contain many clips.)

A single node can send and validate responses to thousands of HTTP messages per second. Multiple Maestros can be combined to each execute parts of a large load test. Maestros can be geographically distributed and single test compositions can run geographically distributed while still producing a single integrated set of test results and analytics.

That said, once you have created the tests you want to run, CloudTest lets you select and deploy load generators using internal, public and private cloud resources. For example, you can choose resources from Azure, Amazon EC2 or GoGrid cloud services. CloudTest takes care of deploying and provisioning the load generators, benchmarking the virtual servers for their health, and monitoring the CPU of the load generators while they are running. You can literally deploy a test cloud using hundreds of thousands of virtual users around the globe in minutes. And because you are using cloud resources, you pay only for the resources used during the test.

A CloudTest environment typically contains, at a minimum, a “Main Instance” (server) that contains the web application and a “Maestro” service (load generator). For higher-volume situations, there may be a separate database server that contains the Repository and the Results Service with its Result database.

Optionally, there may be additional servers that contain additional Maestros (load generators) and additional Results Services.

This general structure applies, regardless of whether physical servers are being used or a cloud-based environment is being used, or a combination of the two.

In our example in this blog post, let’s target a cloud-based environment for a high-volume situation.

So let’s get started: Best practices for grid management with SOASTA CloudTest!

Load servers are usually automatically managed by CloudTest. The CloudTest user is only expected to deploy and tear down the grid. But there may be corner cases where grid deployment is not successful; in those cases, the grid may not finish deployment or all listed servers may not be functioning properly.

This blog post provides best practices that should be employed to ensure grids are working, as well as provide troubleshooting steps for cases they are not.

Important: Make sure you have all the required servers available before loading a composition.

Launching grids

1. Ensure that the server list is correct before starting, and that there are no servers from previous deployments.
Most often this will not be an issue unless you manually added servers, or a grid has been left up from a previous run. Disabling the servers rather than removing them is sufficient if you wish to retain them in the server list, but typically you’ll remove any old servers.

Grid-Launch.jpeg

In the server list above, there are a number of servers that have been launched as a grid and others that were manually launched and then added to the server list. You can select one or more of the servers and Check Server(s) from the right-click context menu to validate that they are enabled and verified. You may want to leave manually created servers in the server list, even if you’re not using them, so you don’t have to re-add them later. In order to get a valid server list you must uncheck ‘Enabled’ on the ‘Services’ tab for any unused servers.

There are a number of other actions you can take on server, as shown above.

  • Reboot: This may be used if you have a composition that’s not stopping and you want to stop the load but not lose the grid. You would normally have no need to reboot servers.
  • Shutdown: Use this option if the grid has been terminated but there are servers that did not get shutdown or terminated. Tearing down the grid is always the first option and this should only be used if that doesn’t work.
  • Replace: This is the same as shutdown.
  • Delete: This will delete the server from the server list. If the server is no longer running in the Cloud Provider and you simply need to remove it from the server list you would choose delete. Note that deleting a server which is still running in a cloud provider will NOT terminate that server, and will result in an orphaned server running in the cloud.
  • Most of the other commands are for manipulating manually created servers.

2. Under normal circumstances, grid deployment will complete and the green checkmark on the CloudTest UI will be displayed.

Grid-Wizard.jpeg

3. When launching grids, it is best to start with the slowest grids first.
Of the available providers, GoGrid will generally take the longest to launch taking more than 30 minutes in some cases. Azure, Rackspace and HP are all about the same and will take anywhere from about 7-8 minutes to 30 minutes, usually depending on the size of the grid and number of locations. AWS generally launches in 3 or 4 minutes, but could take longer if it’s a grid in the hundreds or thousands of servers.

4. You can launch multiple grids at once, but that is not usually recommended.
When launching multiple grids, you should keep the tabs open for grids that have not finished deploying and should only do so for different providers. You may also see more warnings (such as Server Mismatch) in the server list until all grids have finished deploying if you have multiple grids launching at the same time. While not required, it is easier to troubleshoot (and recover from) issues if you include only a single provider when you launch a grid. You can launch multiple locations for a single provider simultaneously.

5. For GoGrid it’s better to launch multiple smaller grids than one big grid.
For example, if you are launching 36 servers, you can launch a grid of 12 load generators with 1 Result Server and then two additional grids of 12 LGs each. You only need to launch another Result Server if you are going to launch more than 50 load generators in a location. The second and third grids of 12 will find the Result Server that was launched with the first grid. You’ll generally want to keep the grids under 20 servers.

6. If a grid is taking a long time to come up (only one or two servers are left, getting extended timeouts) choose ‘Proceed with X of X’ and supplement with another grid for any additional required servers.
Choosing proceed without stopping allocation will force the grid to begin checking and verifying servers. Again, if you already got a Results Server (or more if you have more than 50 LGs) in that location, you don’t need to add another.

Grid-Monitor.jpeg

Please make sure NOT TO CLICK ‘Stop Deploying’ before clicking the proceed button, you will be prompted after clicking whether or not the grid deployment should be stopped. Also, if you do this you will see the Grid Ready green check but the grid manager progress bars will not fill completely up. You should be able to all of the servers that were deployed prior to clicking the Proceed button. See below for checking servers.

Checking grids

7. Even after receiving green checkmark for grid deployment, it is good practice to run check servers from servers tab on left panel of CloudTest and make sure the status for all servers is OK.

Grid-check-4

Grid-Check-2-July-31

8. If you ‘Stop Deploying’ for any reason in the grid manager, go to Servers tab on left panel of CloudTest and click ‘Check Servers’ for available list of servers.

Grid-stop-deply-July-31

In this particular case, we got 1 Result Server and 5 test servers from Rackspace. There is one invalid test server, which has been automatically disabled by CloudTest.

9. CloudTest also provides an option of manually disabling servers.
This can be done by clicking on the respective server under Servers tab and unchecking Enabled under the Services tab. You can also right-click on a server and reboot or terminate in place. Sometimes, rebooting a server will bring it back to life.

Grid-check-3-july-31

10. Once all the servers are up, it is good practice to run a smoke test with 1 virtual user on each load server in General mode.
This will confirm all servers are sending traffic as expected. You can use the actual test you are about to run by copying the comp and setting it to one user per server, but that is not necessary (and can be difficult if you have a complex composition). The test can be as simple as a single get to any public site or run in preview mode. This will test that all of the servers can be loaded and also that a Result can be created, exercising the Results Service structure (simply loading a Composition does not involve RS, so it does not test the RS infrastructure).

11. Always Load the Composition through the UI first and then press Play, as opposed to just pressing Play.
Loading the composition before pressing play typically allows you to identify and get past any loading errors, which is where bad grid servers may first show up.

Terminating the grids

12. Have the credentials for your cloud providers at hand.
See below. This is only needed if you experience any issues with grids that cause manual intervention as described above.

13. When terminating grids, if CloudTest displays an error the servers can be deleted from the cloud provider dashboard.
This will also require deleting servers in CloudTest under the Servers tab.

14. The servers can also be verified by accessing the console of relevant cloud provider.
So in this case, we are looking at Rackspace console displaying 5 servers in active status and one server still being built.

Grid-last-July-31

Takeaways

When driving load from a cloud-based environment, it is critical to deploy and tear down the grid and to follow the best practices outlined at a high-level in this post. In addition, this should be coupled with SOASTA’s best practices for loading compositions into CloudTest in order to best optimize the load test operations. (Look for that blog post in early August! If you can’t wait until then, join SOASTA’s CloudLink community and search our Knowledge Base for these details.)

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By SOASTA Blog

The SOASTA platform enables digital business owners to gain unprecedented and continuous performance insights into their real user experience on mobile and web devices in real time and at scale.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things’). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing? IoT is not about the devices, it’s about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. In his session at Internet of Things at Cloud Expo | DXWor...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.