Partner Spotlight: Neotys & Dynatrace redefine performance engineering

Welcome to the Dynatrace Partner Spotlight! This will be a recurring series that highlights our technology partners and the integration work they have done with Dynatrace. This month’s featured partner is Neotys – the French company behind NeoLoad, the automated performance testing platform for enterprises.

Why exactly performance testing?

Let me dare to assume that your organization relies on at least one important business application.  You can never be sure what will cause the next unexpected traffic spike on your network, causing your app to crash. Maybe the heavy load will be the result of a royal engagement, as Canadian fashion company Line the Label experienced late 2017. When Prince Harry announced his engagement to Meghan Markle, now the Duchess of Sussex, she wore one of Line the Label’s coats. On the next day the Canadian brand’s website crashed as people rushed to get their hands on it.

With a higher adoption of digital applications comes higher expectations of performance. If your application fails in production, it can become costly. According to Gartner, the average cost of network downtime is around $5,600 per minute. That is around $300,000 per hour on average. Performance and load testing identify where and when your application breaks, and gives you insights for capacity planning so you can fix the issue before shipping to production.

The Neotys story

In France back in 2005, Thibaud Bussière, Benoit Derouet, and Christophe Marton along with a group of other software developers and IT project managers lacked the right tool to deliver performance testing at the speed of Agile. At this time the discipline was long and complicated, reserved for specialists. The three Neotys technologists rallied around the belief that the performance engineer could become the critical application performance partner providing the best testing coverage, while respecting the cadence of the Agile process. As performance would become the responsibility of their wider team, the delivery of a continuous performance testing platform was the founding idea of their work. Neotys was born and the NeoLoad product released.

Performance engineering redefined

The software industry has gone through tremendous changes meanwhile. Today, organizations want to build and run scalable applications in dynamic environments such as public, private, and hybrid clouds. Modern applications are built as microservices and run on containerized and dynamically orchestrated platforms – aka the “cloud-native” approach. For this, organizations are increasingly adopting CI/CD methods. Under such circumstances, just simulating load and telling engineers and architects that something is breaking under load is no longer the “value-add” of a performance engineering team.

Performance testing too needs to go from its predominantly manual roots (rooms full of QA personnel administering tests) towards massive automation. By automating testing with continuous integration servers like Jenkins, performance engineers can write code and use them as fully repeatable scripts. This makes the process more sustainable and consistent. Moreover, there is no room left for human errors, and it helps to integrate the testing process within the development cycle.

Also, more and more companies consider the production environment to be a viable test platform. As a result, they’re shifting a healthy amount of performance testing as far right as possible – actually, into production. Production-centric test practices such as canary releases with finely-tuned rollback mechanisms have become daily practice. Here, modern testing tools leverage an application monitoring solution. Thus, they get more granular metrics at the code/component level – something that testing tools cannot achieve.

Putting all this together, we can say that modern performance engineering is about impacting architectural and deployment decisions based on performance testing expertise – an approach that Neotys fully embraces.

Meet NeoLoad: the flagship solution of Neotys

NeoLoad is an automated performance testing platform for cloud-ready apps, microservices architectures, mobile and IoT apps as well as enterprise-grade packaged apps. It has nearly 15 years of development investment behind it and was recently recognized by Gartner Peer Insights as a 2019 Customers’ Choice. This distinction is proof that NeoLoad provides excellent features to make performance testing faster, more automated and integrated within the continuous integration pipeline:

  • automatic test design and maintenance
  • realistic simulation of user behavior
  • fast root cause analysis
  • built-in integrations with the entire SDLC toolchain

Moreover, NeoLoad allows to reuse and share test assets and results from functional testing tools to analytics and metrics from other monitoring tools.

NeoLoad & Dynatrace: a natural synergy

Application monitoring and performance testing are like gin and tonic: real magic comes when you bring them together. In our case this means a strong bidirectional integration. Here’s what I mean by “strong”:

  • It’s fully automated

NeoLoad automatically sends test context to Dynatrace. Dynatrace automatically analyses this and shows the problem impact. And the other way around: NeoLoad users can automatically retrieve infrastructure and services metrics from Dynatrace and insert them in NeoLoad External Data. This allows them to correlate performance metrics from NeoLoad and Dynatrace within NeoLoad.

  • It’s self-service

NeoLoad presents performance engineering data combined with the automated root cause analysis provided by Dynatrace. Thus, everyone on the team can become a performance engineer.

  • It’s perfect for hybrid cloud-native environments  

NeoLoad can test everything from enterprise apps to microservices. Dynatrace monitors on-premise, private-, public- and hybrid cloud environments. This combination makes the solution perfect for hybrid cloud-native application environments.

  • It enables unbreakable continuous delivery

With Dynatrace providing monitoring as code, and Neotys providing testing as code, projects have a unified performance platform validating the quality of each build. The value of this complete solution recipe is straightforward: with Dynatrace’s built-in artificial intelligence and NeoLoad’s easy load testing capability, customers can anticipate risk situations, take action quickly (before going into production), and release with confidence.

By the way: Neotys is one of the early contributors to keptn, our enterprise-grade framework to build autonomous clouds. They are building services that allow tests to be automatically executed by Dynatrace’s keptn.

Wrapping up

Today’s customers have no patience for websites, mobile sites and applications that are slow or unreliable. Performance & load testing identifies where and when your application breaks, so you can fix the issue before shipping to production. But by just simulating load and telling engineers that something is breaking under load is no longer the “value-add” of a performance engineering team. Modern performance engineering is about impacting architectural and deployment decisions based on performance and load testing expertise. This is exactly the joint value proposition of the Dynatrace & Neotys partnership: it allows customers anticipate risk situations, take action quickly, and release with confidence.

And if you have read this far…

…there is no doubt you would be interested in this on-demand webinar: Efficient Continuous Testing on Jenkins with NeoLoad and Dynatrace. The webinar will teach you about how to avoid extra working effort by building more realistic component- and end-to-end testing; and how to take advantage of the AI engine of Dynatrace during each test.

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