Global performance testing with Gomez

09 August 2012
Aneta Mironska
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Gomez
 
Continuous verification of cross-browsing, load, performance or even general availability of a given application has always posed a thorny problem for web owners and administrators. It has consumed much time and has posed an unenviable task to perform. What is even more important, the effort once made has had to be put again and again. Application performance management software turns out to be the best solution here. Although there is a whole bunch of tools that are more or less applicable in such cases there is quite a nice application worth trying in the first place. Ladies and Gentleman meet Gomez!

What is Gomez?

Gomez is a commercial platform to run tests against the page and web performance. It is useful for checking its efficiency on different levels. Gomez belongs to Compuware Corporation and has been re-branded from application performance management (APM) products lately. Its numbers are impressive: the company with over 40 years experience and a huge turnover, the platform that is said to cover all kind of performance issues and to be able to run tests from dozens of locations.

 Happily, we went through most of the features Gomez offers. This blog emphasizes the ones we managed to get into deeper.

How to use it?

To take any measurements, one needs to create tests. There are two ways to do that in Gomez. The most common one is to create single tests. Those tests have one step only: they load a page. During their runs, measurements are taken and, if something goes wrong, alerts are triggered. When there is a need for some more complex tests, Gomez Recorder comes to use, which is the second way to create tests, transactional in this case.

Gomez Recorder is a desktop application to record, playback and edit test scripts. Even functional tests can be done this way, however it does not feel like a kit dedicated to that. I find Gomez Recorder very useful as far as checking if a page is loaded properly is concerned. So to say: it is easy to assert that certain content of a page is actually there.

Variety of performance testing needs? No problem!

As it was already stated, Gomez allows to run tests in a wide variety of ways. Tests therefore can be divided into 3 groups: Browser (cross-browsing), Load and Performance. Going even further: performance tests might be categorized as follows: Last Mile, Mobile, Passive Actual Monitoring, Backbone and the others. Let me stick to these listed above, as they concerned our work mostly. It is important to know, that Mobile, Last Mile and Backbone tests differ by means of the factor that is measured but each of them can be based on the same scripts.

  1. Last Mile tests examine ‘physical abilities’ of the web in the ‘last mile of cable’ to the end user. These tests check how fast a page loads using high or low broadband or dialed up connections in different countries.
  2. Backbone tests on the other hand examine Internet providers. And again Gomez measures loading times from certain countries and companies.
  3. Using Gomez mobile devices measurements is also possible. Mobile tests are quite similar to backbone tests, as they measure a page loading time for countries and mobile providers specified. Gomez has an access to real devices and what is even more important it provides a very impressive range of them.
At this point, one is to add all the tests launching measurements from various browser agents or Gomez Agent (a dedicated browser emulator). It is a good practice to choose one agent for each test (a browser choice is worth your while as all the agents are unavailable for each test type). Taking into account the described test types only, I find the data collected by Gomez truly versatile. This is surely enough to have a general view on a given site and shows its accessibility worldwide. Note that Gomez performance tests are also useful to check if additional web improvements (like Akamai) are worth its price.

Passive Actual Monitoring

Let’s have a look at another interesting functionality of Gomez, i.e. Passive Actual Monitoring. This time no tests are run and no browser needs to be chosen. Gomez provides a script that has to be added to the monitored page. With the script, a page becomes visible to Gomez. That is how ca. 1% of all real (real user!) page entries are registered and can be further analyzed. Talking about analyses and results, nobody can overlook the fact that Gomez is equipped with a professional chart generator. Each data set can be attractively presented and easily combined with various factors. Gomez Administration Center

Commercial vs. freeware

The choice between commercial and freeware tools always triggers a heated debate. Gomez is commercial software but of course there are other applications, even freeware tools that can measure page load time in different locations. One of them is WebPageTest. However it has many major disadvantages like: the waiting time for a test to run, a limited number of locations and browser agents, lack of reports, etc.. Before deciding on whether to use a commercial solution or not, it is worth becoming familiar with it. To do so, I recommend trying the Gomez free multi-browser test. Just click the following link and find out if it meets your needs.

Conclusion

Gomez is a powerful commercial performance management platform with a bunch of interesting possibilities. It allows to run cross-browsing, load and performance tests and provides an attractive report presentation tool. What is very important it launches measurements from various browser agents and from various location worldwide. No doubt, it is a highly recommended application for those who are conscious of a growing need of the continuous application performance management.