Select performance testing solution to fit with agile Azure DevOps pipeline to streamline events-based and ongoing load testing.
As an entertainment website and app, Betway does not have a monopoly on the products it sells; it will offer bets on the same sporting events and against the same odds as other providers. This means the appearance and performance of its website are the factors that differentiate it from other players in the same space. First impressions are crucial; for example, a user-friendly registration process and easy to navigate site. Greg Ilett, Performance Test Manager at Win Technologies (a leader in online marketing support, customer relationship management, and technological solutions and proud member of the Betway Group), explains further: “We must ensure excellent performance for users landing on the Betway platform so the service we provide stands out compared to our competitors. When we offer big sporting events, such as the Grand National, Football World Cup, or Cheltenham Festival, we can expect a huge increase in loads over short periods of time, so performance really stands out as a key driver for us.”
Win Technologies used Visual Studio’s load testing capabilities to prepare its site for big events. However, Microsoft announced that the next version of Visual Studio would not contain sufficient load testing features and so the team looked for alternatives. It decided on a proof-of-concept with Tricentis NeoLoad, open-source alternative JMeter, and, as recommended by OpenText (formerly Micro Focus) partner Calleo Software, OpenText™ LoadRunner™ Cloud, a cloud-based solution to easily plan, run, and scale performance tests. Ilett comments on the criteria that were important in this decision: “We run an Azure-based environment and use Azure Application Insights to monitor the health of our applications. We also leverage Grafana as our open-source analytics and interactive visualization web application. We really wanted our new load testing solution to integrate with these to make it an integral part of our Continuous Integration/Continuous Development (CI/CD) cycle. Real-time reporting is really crucial for us.”
“We also did not want to maintain our own load generators as that is an overhead that we did not want to dedicate resources to,” he adds. “Even though LoadRunner Cloud did not offer out-of-the-box integration with Azure Application Insights, it ticked all the other boxes for us, including full management of load generators with the flexibility of regional options, ideal for a global operator such as ourselves. After a conversation with Calleo we were introduced directly to Research and Development (R&D) at Micro Focus (now OpenText) who assured us that the integration with Azure Application Insights could be delivered. We were impressed and decided to continue our journey with LoadRunner Cloud.”
Within just a couple of weeks, OpenText (formerly Micro Focus) R&D delivered a work-around solution to integrate LoadRunner Cloud with Azure Application Insights. It was also recognized that this feature could benefit other customers, and so the R&D team worked closely with Win Technologies and included a fully integrated Azure Application Insights plug-in in the next general release of the solution. “The direct partnership with Micro Focus (now OpenText) R&D has been amazing,” says Ilett. “We built a really collaborative relationship where any support issues are dealt with immediately. It is a massive credit to the R&D team as well as to Calleo who fostered this partnership with us.”
Win Technologies has a team of performance test engineers who leverage LoadRunner Cloud to load test the systems ahead of major events, and as part of regular performance testing to fit in with architecture, infrastructure, and code changes. Large events are treated as projects where all requirements are gathered, a test plan is drawn up and signed off by all internal stakeholders. The load tests are then built and executed in LoadRunner Cloud. Integration with Azure DevOps via a publicly available LoadRunner Cloud extension, ensures full analysis and test reports are available within the cloud environment. Weekly performance tests are performed automatically as part of the Azure DevOps CI/CD pipeline during non-peak hours with automated analysis at the backend and results output into customized dashboards so that the team can identify any bottlenecks at a glance. This agile process allows a ‘shift-right’ approach where analysis and advanced correlation work together to find potential issues much faster and deliver higher quality applications as a result.
With our LoadRunner Cloud web front-end we can all log in, create our own dashboards, and share them interactively with each other for input or support. This collaboration alone is a huge cost saving measure for us as we were never able to do this before.
Ilett appreciates the reporting and dashboard functions provided by LoadRunner Cloud: “LoadRunner Cloud reporting is second to none. Within dashboards we can easily create global filters that are then applied across all graphs, adding metrics, and splitting individual views into further graphs.”
Although it wasn’t a selection criterium at the time, Ilett likes the fact that LoadRunner Cloud is fully web-based: “Nobody could have predicted it, but in these last couple of years with Covid restrictions, having a web-based central portal has proved invaluable, and something none of the other tools we looked at could provide at the time. With our LoadRunner Cloud web front-end we can all log in, create our own dashboards, and share them interactively with each other for input or support. This collaboration alone is a huge cost saving measure for us as we were never able to do this before.”
He can also see the benefits of automated and more structured performance testing: “Manually managing and maintaining load generators ultimately invites human error. Having this fully automated with LoadRunner Cloud streamlines the testing process and improves our test productivity. We can also test more frequently and in-depth without having to add headcount to our testing team, improving the service we offer to our customers.”
LoadRunner Cloud reporting is second to none. Within dashboards we can easily create global filters that are then applied across all graphs, adding metrics, and splitting individual views into further graphs.
Win Technologies also benefited from DevWeb, newly included in LoadRunner Cloud. This is the engine of the new load testing protocol that focuses on communication at the HTTP transport level and over WebSocket, enabling testing against the latest web technologies. Collaboration is easy with DevWeb, reducing the learning curve so that developers can get more familiar with load testing as performance testing is integrated with the development effort. DevWeb enables use of external code libraries and inbuilt functions in a far more user-friendly manner. Win Technologies had created a separate app within Azure to carry out specific functions. However, it is now much easier to do this natively in DevWeb, saving the cost of maintaining the app within Azure.
Sharon Levin, Senior Product Manager at OpenText (formerly Micro Focus), comments: “It is early adopter customers like Win Technologies that challenge our own thinking to push the boundaries of our development processes. Having a customer as a true design partner is a real win-win situation where we can support them with new features and enrich our solution at the same time.”
Ilett concludes: “We are an innovation-led company that uses technology to drive advancements in our products and brands. Pushing for excellence in ourselves and in our suppliers is part of this. During this project, we were initially leaning towards an open-source solution, but we soon realized that the total cost of ownership, including maintenance of load generators, and additional resources to create reports and dashboards, never mind development of the integration points, would be much higher than it is with LoadRunner Cloud. Add to this the excellent support we receive from Micro Focus (now OpenText) and Calleo, and we feel we absolutely made the right choice.”
Betway is the premier online sportsbook operating under a single brand, offering first-class sports betting and casino entertainment. Betway has a truly global footprint, holding licenses throughout Europe, the Americas, and Africa, with 60+ partnerships with teams and leagues worldwide. Betway provides leading bespoke and customized entertainment in a safe, secure, fair, and responsible environment.