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Load emulation for better deployment results

Perhaps the greatest change in development in recent years has been the expansion of the application user community via the World Wide Web. Development targets quite usually today are wide-area network targets. And networks with seeming ''bandwidth to burn'' can get quite stingy when least expected.

Developers know that predicting application performance on such networks is very difficult. In coming weeks, Programmers Report will take a look from time to time at different methods of predicting how apps will run at runtime in the networked world.

We spoke with individuals from Shunra Software Ltd., which has a unique take on the topic. The company recently launched Shunra\Storm Solution Suite 3.1, which provides load emulation and can connect with a variety of third-party tools that one can find in a QA lab. Shunra is an Israeli company whose principals came to the firm's basic network emulation approach after extensive work optimizing TCP/IP networks. With the company's software, a developer's desktop becomes a remote-user location enabling the developer to sample the end-user experience.

Shunra's CloudCatcher software actively records latency and packet loss on the production network, so new applications can truly be tested. Shunra's software allows admins to record WAN scenarios. Pre-defined and user-defined WAN parameters are stored as scenario files in a centralized library. Developers point and click on a file to activate it on their workstation. A console based on Visio allows developers to graphically create custom network populations.

Shunra positions this software as an important adjunct to load testing software such as that from Mercury Interactive and others. ''It doesn't make sense to just do load testing anymore,'' said Joanne Godfrey, director of marketing.

Savvy developers long ago unlearned the habit of ''throwing their application over the wall'' to network and DB crews. But this has not made it any less palatable to have the network people bring your app ''to its knees'' at deployment time, or claim your app brought their network to its knees. ''This is a way to throw network problems at the app under development,'' said Shunra COO Boaz Grinvald.

For more on this topic, including the White Paper ''My Big Fat Network: What Every Software Developer Should Know,'' go to http://www.shunra.com/whitepapers_main.php

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.

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