Akamai CloudTest Alternatives:
LoadView from Dotcom-Monitor
The Best in Browser-based Load Testing
Ensure your customers get the web experience they expect with LoadView by Dotcom-Monitor.
Testing in Real Browsers
Test your sites and web applications using real browsers.
Powerful Scripting Tool
Multiple User Simulations
Run multiple user simulations, from HTTP/S to real browser-based simulations.
Supports over 40 desktop and mobile browsers/devices.
Quickly script and execute load tests from multiple locations around the world
Stress test your websites, web applications, and APIs from where your customers are located.
|Features||Akamai CloudTest||Other Cloud Providers||LoadView|
|No Additional Downloads/ Add-ons Required|
|No Scripting Knowledge Required|
|Scripting for Rich Internet Applications|
|Cost-Effective, Pay as You Go Pricing|
|Select from Various User Simulations|
|Offers Multiple Load Curve Options|
|Unused Resources Rollover Month-to-Month (Subscription Plans)|
If you’ve been searching for an alternative to CloudTest from Akamai, take some time to read about the benefits of LoadView from Dotcom-Monitor. LoadView is a flexible, on-demand platform utilized for load testing websites, web-apps, mobile, and APIs – all from a single interface. The LoadView platform is entirely cloud-based, so there is no need to create additional cloud accounts or set up separate infrastructure. All the tricky parts are managed for you.
CloudTest from Akamai is a great enterprise level product and offers some of the same features and functionality as LoadView, but there are some significant differences between the two platforms, which we will dive into below, so you have a better understanding as it relates to your specific needs.
LoadView: Real Browser Testing, On-Demand
In today’s face-paced culture, winning the online customer experience is key. When it comes to slow loading websites and applications, customers will quickly lose interest, become frustrated, and abandon what they were doing. A decrease in website performance is directly associated with loss of revenue and brand perception. They’ll quickly search for the closest replacement (aka, your competitor) and if their experience is positive there, they’ll likely never visit your site again.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. From Development and WebOps to Marketing and Sales, your organization has too much at stake to just simply ignore performance testing and hope for the best. Understanding how much traffic your website or application can handle is important, but it’s also vital to understand what specific elements are impacting performance. If you don’t know what needs to be fixed, you can’t improve it, which is where using a platform like LoadView is essential.
LoadView was created with performance in mind. We realized the same teams and individuals who monitor their sites for uptime and availability may also be interested in testing the limits of their infrastructure to ensure a consistent user experience. The LoadView platform is cloud-based, so even someone who has never had experience running a load test can setup and execute a load test within minutes.
Additionally, LoadView removes some of the more time-consuming tasks, such as setting up load generators and creating global agents, so you don’t have to worry about maintaining any additional infrastructure. This opens up more time for developers to focus on testing earlier in the process, also known as the shifting left testing, so they can fully dedicate their effort and time to doing what they do best: designing, executing, and analyzing their tests.
When it comes to slow loading sites and applications, customers are extremely impatient and will quickly leave and find a replacement, your competition, if your site or application doesn’t meet their immediate needs. Knowing how much your site or application can handle is important for various reasons, but there are several significant scenarios that the LoadView platform can assist with:
- Adaptability and Scalability – Determining why your site or application slows down when multiple users access it
- Infrastructure – Understanding what hardware upgrades are needed, if any. The cost of implementing additional hardware, and maintaining it, could be a potential waste of resources.
- Performance Requirements – Your site or application can properly handle a few users, but what happens in real-world situations?
- Third-party Services – See how external services behave when normal, or even peak, load conditions are presented
Many load testing solutions, especially the open-source variety, can only run protocol-based user simulations, which is not enough. You can stress the server at the protocol level, but a significant part of end-to-end response time is neglected. This is important when it comes to testing web applications, for example. With the LoadView platform, users can run different user simulation types: Protocol-based (HTTP/S) and real browser-based tests. Here are some key points to consider in order to understand which method is best for your needs:
HTTP/S-Based Load Simulation
- No client-side rendering
- Programming skills required for scripting
- Low-level analysis required
- Low impact on load injection machines
Real Browser-Based Load Simulation
- Real user simulation
- Easy to customize scripts
- Script replay
- High impact on load injection machines
The EveryStep Web Recorder
The EveryStep Web Recorder is a scripting tool that gives users the ability to easily record critical transactions and user interactions, by simply pointing and clicking as a user or customer would and replay these scripts within a real browser. What’s great about the EveryStep Web Recorder is that it’s easy to use, there are no separate downloads, and previous scripting experience isn’t required.
Users can record multi-step test scripts of the critical and complex actions your users make, such as button clicks, menu selections, form submission, shopping carts, and text inputs. These scripts can then be uploaded into the LoadView platform to automate the performance testing process for your websites, web application, web services, and APIs. Additionally, the scripts can also be uploaded into the Dotcom-Monitor monitoring platform as well, for continuous monitoring and uptime checks in production.
The EveryStep Web Recorder is compatible with over 40 desktop (Chrome and Internet Explorer) and mobile browsers (iPhone, iPad, Google, Samsung, Blackberry, and more) and supports virtually anything rendered in a browser, regardless of the technologies used, including the following:
Selecting the Right Load Curve for Your Scenario
To give users more customization and flexibility, and depending on your specific needs, LoadView also provides several options when it comes to defining the load type for your test.
- Load Step Curve
Generates loads with a pre-determined number of concurrent users for specified time durations. Useful when determining if your website can handle a spike in traffic.
- Goal-based Curve
This test is useful when you have already identified the limiting level of your required throughput and need to ensure that your performance goal is met. Beneficial for validating SLA or non-functional requirements.
- Dynamic Adjustable Curve
Allows users to adjust load in real-time. This gives users insight into how their site or application changes as load levels fluctuate.
Test Where Your Customers Are
Once you’ve determined the load type and your virtual users, one of the final steps is to decide where you’re going to test from. LoadView gives users the option to distribute user load between geographic locations. For example, if you know that a certain percentage of your customers come from a specific geographic location, you can select those specific zones to test from. LoadView utilizes cloud servers (AWS and Google) located in 13 locations worldwide to generate user loads. Servers are located throughout the United States, Canada, APAC, South America, and Europe.
LoadView has subscription-based plans, starting at $199 per month. With our subscription-based plans, unused virtual user minutes and load injector hours roll over and accumulate from one month to the next as long as your subscription plan remains valid. Alternatively, you can also select from a pay-as-you-go plan. Pricing is calculated and displayed before you begin new test, so you know exactly what you’re paying for.
LoadView Professional Services
The goal of Dotcom-Monitor Professional Services is to have you running performance tests, analyzing your data, and adjusting your system without our engagement. Our methodology is tested, proven, and offered in unique à la carte fashion. You pick and choose which elements you need assistance with, and our performance engineers will coach you through them.
Our engineers are also available to perform the entire testing exercise for you, offering consultation to optimize your code and infrastructure. The level of Dotcom-Monitor interaction is completely up to you.
Before we get into the specific features of CloudTest, let’s dive into a little background on the product itself. CloudTest is a load and performance testing solution that was first developed by a company called SOASTA. SOASTA was founded in 2006 and became a leader in the Digital Performance Management space. Akamai was founded in 1998 and slowly became a global leader in Content Delivery Network (CDN) services. Beginning in the early 2000’s Akamai began a series of acquisitions to expand its footprint and scope of offerings. It wasn’t until early 2017 when Akamai acquired SOASTA. SOASTA now operates as a subsidiary of Akamai. CloudTest is just one of the many platforms now integrated into their Web and Mobile Performance Solutions.
CloudTest, like LoadView, is cloud-based and utilized to gauge performance of your web and mobile applications, APIs, and web services at scale. Akamai also understands the importance of the user experience and CloudTest is vital for ensuring applications and websites are performing as expected, regardless of the platform the customer is on.
Scripting and Recording with CloudTest
A test clip is a script that is comprised of a series of events, such as an HTTP/S script or a series of actions within a browser recording. They are the essential blocks that make up CloudTest. Users can create multiple Test Clips with different actions. For example, if you wanted to create three separate actions, such as a user landing on your homepage, a user shopping for a specific item, or a user browsing your site, you can create individual Test Clips for all of these actions. Like LoadView, users also have the option of adding delays to the script for actions that require additional think time or response time.
A collection of Test Clips is called a Test Composition. It’s these Test Compositions that are uploaded into their platform and then can utilized for load testing. One thing to note before creating test clips is that you must specify one Target (application, web service, website, etc.) and/or script. A Target also contains the relevant information to format and send messages to the web service, app, or protocol (for WebSockets-based sites).
- Mobile App (aka TouchTest) Recording
- Browser Recording
Users must use the Firefox browser extension and the site must have a valid SSL certificate.
- HTTP/S Recording
SSL certificate must be valid in order to record via the HTTP/S method. Recording HTTP, or packet-level traffic, is also available as an option for users. Just note that this requires the use of the Chrome Extension, which is a separate download.
One of the big limitations of CloudTest is that it does not support many of the Rich Internet Applications (RIA), such as Flash, Silverlight, Ruby, and PHP, like the LoadView platform does. Today’s websites are full of dynamic content, which users love, but can prove difficult for developers and engineers when it comes time to test performance. LoadView can easily automate the testing of these types of applications, giving developers time to focus on creating and running tests, rather than having to worry about and going through the effort of building complex scripts.
Executing a Load Test with CloudTest
Once you’ve got your script created and saved, you’re ready to go. Users begin by accessing any of their saved Test Compositions, which again, is just a combination of different types of user flows (visiting a homepage, shopping for an item, posting a comment on a form, browsing the store, etc.). As users create additional user flows, they become available within the CloudTest composition builder and from there, users can drag and drop them into the interface and add them to the cloud test server. From there you can specify the number of users you’d like for that particular activity and identify where you want the load to come from using the following cloud providers:
- Dimension Data
The last item that needs to completed is bringing up the servers, which is called “deploying a grid” in the CloudTest platform. A grid is a group of servers you want to use for a load test and setup time is relatively short and can take anywhere from 3-5 minutes. Once the servers are ready, the test can begin. CloudTest is going to reach out to those different load generators and different locations, hand them the scripts with the specific user flows that were defined. Users can see the data come into the dashboards, in real-time as the test is underway.
One of the more visually impressive features within the CloudTest platform is the Dynamic Globe dashboard view. It’s a visualization that shows users how fast responses are coming back from the various locations, using specific color to represent multiple factors. For example, the width of the lines shows how much bandwidth you have, so you can actually see which location(s) is getting the most bandwidth and how fast the different responses are coming back from the locations.
Users can also set the color scheme of the arcs, depending on the response times. For example, you can set anything from 0-300 milliseconds to be a specific color and anything from 301+ milliseconds a different color. This allow you to visually see and differentiate response times between multiple locations.
Similar to the Dynamic Adjustable Curve feature within LoadView, users also have the option to change load on the fly through this dashboard in CloudTest. Adjusting the volume of users in real-time allows you to see how your site is impacted with as more visitors hit your site or application.
Once the test is running, users can access more detail within different CloudTest dashboards.
- Collection Analysis
Shows not only the overall performance of each of the different scripts and user flows that are running, but within each user flow, you can look at how long the different steps or processes are taking. Metrics include average/minimum/maximum duration, standard deviation, 90th percentile, bytes sent/received, and errors
- Average Collection Duration
Shows responses, over time, as the load test is underway.
- Waterfall dashboard
Shows the different types of virtual users running and helps to identify what elements are slowing down the page, such as initial HTTP request, page resources, time to first byte, etc.)
- Monitoring Combined Chart
Gives insight regarding what’s going on at the server level. Monitoring agents must be installed on the servers in order to pick up these server metrics. Metrics collected include CPU percentage/memory/IO, etc., utilized by virtual users
- APM solutions
CloudTest also integrates with popular APM solutions, such as New Relic, AppDynamics, Dynatrace, CloudWatch, and Introscope
- Error Analysis Dashboard
Shows virtual users vs. errors by type (over time), error analysis, and top five messages by error count.
Akamai doesn’t publish any pricing on their website, however, there are some sites that estimate the cost to be around $1,300 per user/year. Contact Akamai directly or contact a reseller or third-party, such as Azure or AWS Marketplace, to purchase a license or subscription.
When it comes to general ease of use with the platform and creating scripts for rich web applications, LoadView, along with the EveryStep Web Recorder wins here. There’s no experience needed when using the recorder, just move through your site or application, pointing and clicking as a customer would. Additionally, LoadView has great enterprise-level features, such as goal-based and dynamic adjustable curve tests. Additionally, the scripts that you create for load tests can be uploaded into their monitoring platform for ongoing analysis in production.
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