User Load Testing in ThingWorx: Java Client Tutorial
User Load Testing in ThingWorx
Java Client Tutorial
Written by Tori Firewind, IoT EDC
As stated in previous posts, user load testing is a critical component of ensuring a ThingWorx solution is Enterprise-ready. Even a sturdy new feature that seems to function well in development can run into issues once larger loads are thrown into the mix. That's why no piece of code should be considered production-ready until it has undergone not just unit and integration testing (detailed in our Comprehensive DevOps Guide), but also load testing that ensures a positive user experience and an adequately sized server to facilitate the user load.
The EDC has spent quite a few posts detailing the process of setting up an accurate, real-world testing suite using JMeter for ThingWorx. In this piece, we detail an alternative approach that makes use of the Java Spring Boot Framework to call rest requests against the ThingWorx server and simulate the user load. This Java Client tutorial produces a very immature user load client, one which would still take a lot of development to function as flexibly as the JMeter tutorial counterpart. For Java developers, however, this is still a very attractive approach; it allows for more custom, robust testing suites that come only as an investment made in a solid testing tool.
For someone experienced in Java, the risk is smaller of overlooking some aspect of simulation that JMeter may have handled automatically. For example, JMeter automatically creates more than one HTTP session, and it's much easier to implement randomized user logins instead of one account. The Java Client could do it with some extra work (not demonstrated here), but it uses just the Administrator login by default for a quick and dirty sort of load test, one focused less on the customer experience and more on server and database performance under the strain of the user requests (the method used in our sizing guidance, for instance, to see if a server is sized correctly).
The amount of time required to develop a Java Client isn't so bad for a Java developer, and when compared with learning the JMeter Framework, might be a better investment. A tool like this can handle a greater number of threads on a single testing VM; JMeter caps out around 250 threads per client on an 8Gb VM (under ideal conditions), while a Java Client can have thousands of threads easily. Likewise, a Java Client has less memory overhead than JMeter, less concern for garbage collection, and less likelihood that influence from heap memory management will affect the test results.
However, remember that everything in a Java Client has to be built from scratch and maintained over time. That means that beyond the basic tutorial here, there needs to be some kind of metrics gathering and analysis tool implemented (JMeter has built-in reporting tools), the calls need to be randomized, and not called at set intervals like they are here (which is not a very accurate representation of user load compared to a real-world scenario), and the number of users accessing the system at once should probably vary over time (to resemble peak usage hours). JMeter has a recording tool to ensure all the necessary REST requests to simulate a mashup load are made, so great care has to be taken to ensure all of the necessary REST calls for a mashup are made by the Java Client if a true simulation is called for by that approach.
Java Client Tutorial
Neither a Java Client nor a JMeter testing suite is inherently better than the other, and both have their place within PTC's various testing processes. The best test of all is to stand up any sort of user load testing client, either of these approaches, at the same time as the UAT or QA user experience testing. QA testers who load and click about on mashups in true, user fashion can then see most accurately how the mashups will perform and what the users will experience in the Enterprise-ready, production application once the changes go out.