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Products: SilkPerformer (a comparison with LoadRunner)

SilkPerformer is a load testing tool from Borland, originally Segue. SilkPerformer have almost all features that LoadRunner have. Therefore, you may like to read about the product LoadRunner here before proceeding further on this article. The SilkPerformer suite consists of the Workbench, Silk TrueLog and Silk Performance Explorer. The entire load test implementation is the same where the load generators have to be installed at the machines. For the sales talk by the vendor, click here.

What SilkPerformer offer is it handles load test in project approach. Using this approach, each load test is stored as a project with various settings of profiles and workloads. This is advantageous when managing the load test in a customer or project perspective where you can track the projects accordingly. Furthermore, within a project, for every load test run, a result directory for each run is created. This is useful in tracking the number of runs that were conducted. In this way, there is a structural approach in managing the tests that were conducted. Both features mentioned above are not available in LoadRunner.

SilkPerformer have another cool feature, which is resource management of the load generator. By defining a pool of load generators, the load tester is able to have an overview of the resources that is participating in the load test. This is almost similar to the Resource Pool in Performance Center. This is not available in LoadRunner.

During the execution, SilkPerformer allows monitoring of the resources in terms of CPU usage in the Load Generator. This is beneficial when differing problem in resources on the Load Generator or the SUT itself. Furthermore, feature allows capacity planning for load generators. SilkPerformer also allows monitoring on the progress of the vusers and load test in terms of percentage that displays the progress in percentage of the vusers. This is beneficial in estimating the duration of the load test and forecast the end time of the load test.

While performing the evaluation, I found that the parameterization feature offered in SilkPerformer is not as user-friendly as compared to LoadRunner. The manipulation of the parameterization is not as straightforward such as defining the parameter and reusing the parameter unlike LoadRunner where a replace function can easily achieve the parameterization.
For iteration, SilkPerformer have to define the iteration number in the script. For pacing a LoadRunner feature, is not offered in the SilkPerformer.

SilkPerformer provides Rendezvous feature in terms of serialisation and synchronisation. This is useful if a certain load model needs to be emulated during the test (better than LoadRunner). However, the downside is it requires inclusion of the API which is not as convenient as LoadRunner in implementing a Rendezvous point.

For replay, the Silk TrueLog is a powerful tool in analysing the replay as compared to LoadRunner Runtime Viewer. If offers replay of the screens and providing views of the data in and out from the client and server.

SilkPerformer allows monitoring similar to LoadRunner. However, LoadRunner provides more features in the monitoring perspective. SilkPerformer requires additional logging for non-default monitors unlike LoadRunner, which automatically logs the data when the counter is been added into the monitor list. Also, SilkPerformer is restricted to a defined set of custom monitors namely JMX, SNMP, Perfmon and Rexec unlike LoadRunner, which provides more monitors.

SilkPerformer utilises Silk Performance Explorer for analysing. However, it’s capability to merge, manipulate, handle external data is not as flexible and robust as LoadRunner Analysis. The analysing feature is an important component used by the Performance Team to determine problem causes.

SilkPerformer have the similar license mechanism as LoadRunner, which is bounded by a single host. However it features an additional mechanism that allows the option to "check-out" license to the installed application. This is useful in an organisation context in managing our performance test in different environments.
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7 Responses to “Products: SilkPerformer (a comparison with LoadRunner)”

  1. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Both Silk Performer and LoadRunner have unique selling points to their credit, but the reason I believe LR clearly overrides SP in the Performance Test Tool market is -
    1. The licensing feature of SP is not as flexible as LR (inspite of the feature to check out licenses etc) because uncoupling the scripting tool from the licensing package adds to the markeatability of the tool. Performing Proof-of-concepts before buying the product proves to be a self-marketing feature in LR which is unavailable in SP.
    2. Although SP has a very flexible, easy and versatile scripting capabilities, its monitoring and Analysis components are definitely not as well developed as that of LR. The versatility shown by LR in reporting and categorizing statistics is definitely lacking in SP.

    Although I would swear by SP for the ease and flexibility it offers in scripting, on an overall basis, LR would easily win the race by a clear lead.  

  2. # Blogger Hs

    Thanks for the comments! Same feel for point [2]. :)  

  3. # Anonymous Goutham

    hi there is some mistake in the last comments. Even SP provides POC.  

  4. # Anonymous MK, Denver

    Any readers of this topic should consider whether Anonymous had been certified in both tools before make a clear comparison. The SilkPerformer Training courses sure reveal a lot of hidden performance test analysis capabilities beyond what is seen in the default dashboard.  

  5. # Blogger Poornima

    This comment has been removed by the author.  

  6. # Blogger Poornima

    Nice comparison between roadrunner and silk performer.
    I really liked the article...
    I'm doing a bit research on test automation and i also found macrotesting be a good resource
    Thanks for the article!!!

  7. # Anonymous Anonymous

    One of the biggest differences these days is the difficultiwes involved in dealing with HP. Even if you are trying to buy the porduck, they dont make it easy. Borland or Microfocus who now own Silk are so much more helpful. An uptodate article of some of these other non technical differences can be found on  

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