QW2001 Paper 8T1

Mr. J. D. Brisk
(Exodus Communications)

Peer-to-Peer Computing: The Future Of Internet Performance Testing

Key Points

Presentation Abstract

In this presentation, JD Brisk, Managing Director of Exodus Performance Labs, will discuss how Peer-to-Peer Computing will revolutionize Web performance testing by creating the world’s largest, most realistic testing environment possible. Specifically, he will address the opportunities and challenges of using the Peer-to-Peer Computing method of Web testing.

Peer-to-Peer Computing, - individual computers exchanging data without a central server - has been around for more than 20 years in various forms. It works by taking large tasks and dividing them into many smaller tasks, all of which are disseminated to many computers running simultaneously via a network such as a private corporate network, or the Internet. After the tasks are processed, block-by-block via individual computers, the data is transmitted back to a central server that then assembles an answer.

Most recently, Napster and the SETI@home project have helped increase awareness of the Peer-to-Peer, also known as Distributed Computing. However, a more powerful use of the technology is not to exchange music, but to combine the processing power of thousands of networked PCs to create a virtual supercomputer. This testing environment provides an unprecedented level of reality-based testing that is expected to propel the limits of Web site performance, capacity and scalability.

Peer-to-Peer Computing opens a new door of possibilities for organizations to use distributed bandwidth resources to realistically perform large-scale stress, load and scalability testing of e-commerce Internet sites. With this technology, organizations can improve the efficiency and accuracy of Internet testing methods.

Exodus Performance Labs is using Peer-to-Peer Computing to create a testing environment that utilizes hundreds of thousands, and potentially millions, of real web clients that characterize the variants found in real life. This real-world testing model uses the power of the Internet to test the Internet.

Hundreds, even thousands of simulated users created on one machine are generally not representative of real world situations. The Distributed Computing model greatly expands testing capabilities by utilizing real user machines in diverse locations and introduces the actual variants found daily on the Internet.

Recent studies report that about one billion personal computers, each with an average processing speed of 500 megahertz, are now connected to the Internet. Leveraging this user base gives creates a large, diverse pool of resources at a fraction of the cost of buying the machines and building the environment. With this technology, Web testing companies can create and utilize the worlds largest test environment.

The Peer-to-Peer Computing testing model not only exercises the transaction processing systems, in-route components like firewalls and load balancers, but also provides the flexibility to test based on select user demographics incorporating the "last mile" which previously has not been addressed. Companies now have access to load testing that's as close to live as you can get because it uses real client machines in homes and small businesses around the world with real variants found in real life with the advantage of repeatability from scripted applications.

About the Author

J.D. Brisk is Managing Director of Exodus Performance Labs, formerly KeyLabs. Prior to its acquisition by Exodus, J.D. was President and CEO of KeyLabs, based in Linden, UT. Initial COO and one of the original founders of KeyLabs, J.D. became President and CEO after he and two colleagues formed another new company in August 1998 called Altiris and spun out their highly successful software business. Somewhat of a maverick in the industry, JD is known for his unique ability to get things done. He worked as a hardware/software test engineer and technical manager for 5 years prior to joining Novell in 1985 where he spent 11 years in various technical management positions. At Novell, JD managed Sustaining Engineering and most of the other core Testing Departments. He pioneered the concept of behavioral testing. He designed and implemented the Corporate Interoperability Testing programs and as Director of Engineering in Novell Labs, designed and implemented the "YES" and "Tested and Approved" Software Certification Programs. He was also responsible for the world's largest network test facility.