Performance Testing, LoadRunner Tips&Tricks

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Monitors: The Other Way?

I’ve came across a question on monitoring Solaris boxes for a 99.99% uptime for 7 days in a forum. In LoadRunner context, it will be considered to be Unix System Resource monitoring. There were suggestions to monitor via BAC (Business Availability Center) rather than using LoadRunner. Actually it goes down to the purpose of what the person is trying to achieved.

LoadRunner is designed to monitor during the period of load test while BAC is designed to monitor in a production environment; which relates to two questions:

1. Are you monitoring over a period of load? Or,
2. Are you monitoring in a production environment?

Anyway, I’ve came out with three suggestions in respond to his enquiry.

1. Use a single Vuser to monitor the Unix system resource for the 7 days period.
2. Use BAC to monitor.
3. Use "uptime" command in the Unix box and output to a log file periodically.

Let’s discussed in details each of the methods.

[1] Use a single Vuser to monitor the Unix system resource for the 7 days period.

This is a method to circumvent the conventional monitoring technique. You will get your graphs from Unix however, take note that this is not so all perfect. When LoadRunner completes a scenario execution (load test), it collates the results from the Load Generators (LG in short) back to the Controller at the end of the test. Putting it in the 7 days context, there will be 7 days worth of monitoring data that needs to be transmitted back to the Controller.

For this, it may (1) fail transmitting back due to the size of the data over the bandwidth of the organization network, also (2) even when it is successfully sent back to the Controller, Controller requires significant resources to process the data and may end up crashing or hanging.

[2] Use BAC to monitor

BAC and SiteScope, both from Mercury/HP will be able to achieve that. The main purpose of the above products is to monitor in a production environment and send reports or alerts depending on the configuration. There is also other monitoring products out in the market but I guess it’s up the organization to decide what is best for them.

Take note that the monitoring principle for LoadRunner and BAC/SiteScope is the same (BAC is tapping to capabilities of SiteScope monitoring). I’ve discussed that in an article, "Monitors: How does the monitoring work?" previously, which you may want to explore.

[3] Use "uptime" command in the Unix box and output to a log file periodically (Unix only)

This is by far the cheapest method as you are riding on the capabilities of your current resources. Uptime provides information about the system availability since it’s last boot up. For more information of uptime, click here. Also, refer to this resources for redirection output information.

By running a cron job periodically, example every 30 min, and redirect the output to a log file, you can trace when the system was rebooted. For more information of cron job, click here.
Use the following syntax in the crontab file if you are keen implementing this suggestion.

30 18 * * * uptime >> uptime.log

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