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Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja
Weighing the World Wide
Web: The Art and Science of
Load Testing
Radha...
Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja
Live Streaming and Events
on 9/11 Anniversary
~ 35 X
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4...
Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja
Website Content Management System (CMS)
Website Hosting Stack
Dedicate...
Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja
Website Hosting Stack
Dedicated Database Servers (Primary
and Fallback...
Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja
Website Content Management System (CMS)
Website Hosting Stack
Dedicate...
Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja
Load Testing: High-Level Workflow
1. Estimate traffic.
2. Provision ap...
Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja
Variation of Traffic Patterns During Spike
Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja
Identify the hardware
configuration of the
Production stack
Calculate ...
Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja
Defining Load Test Scenario
Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja
Defining and Modeling Use Cases
Sample use case with
anonymous and
aut...
Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja
Load Test Time Profile and Latency Measurement
A sample time
profile o...
Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja
Conclusions and Summary
• Load tests and performance tests are importa...
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MW18 Presentation: Weighing The World Wide Web: The Art And Science Of Load Testing For Unique High-Spike Conditions

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By Radha Nagaraja, National September 11 Memorial and Museum, USA

The website of an organization is its global public face in the modern digital age, and smooth functioning of the website is key to meeting an organization's mission. The appropriate Web server infrastructure and configuration are, by common sense wisdom, a function of the expected traffic patterns and the content served on the website.

However, a challenging wrinkle in Web server provisioning is posed by high spikes in traffic due to specific unique events. A particularly dramatic instance of this challenge is faced annually by the 9/11 Memorial and Museum on September 11th, when website traffic increases by 35x.

To ensure smooth functioning of the website, the annual run-up to the expected high-spike day utilizes a myriad of tools, including best-estimate characterization of expected load; provisioning of a surrogate server infrastructure set up to best mimic the website configuration (and any special content/functionalities planned for the specific day when the high spike is expected) for the future high-spike time; incorporation or appropriate modeling of the caching and load balancing mechanisms expected to be utilized; user simulation and browser automation technologies to realistically mimic spike traffic patterns; and monitoring of quantitative metrics of website performance during load tests over adequate time intervals to uncover subtle issues that might manifest only under sustained load.

Applying the set of strategies above has proven to be a time-tested and robust policy for the 9/11 Memorial and Museum to meet the huge spike in Web traffic on September 11th of each year. In this presentation, the strategies above will be covered in detail including overview of the techniques used to estimate future high-spike traffic, rig up surrogate servers, create realistic mock traffic, and best ensure that a website remains performant under high-spike conditions.

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MW18 Presentation: Weighing The World Wide Web: The Art And Science Of Load Testing For Unique High-Spike Conditions

  1. 1. Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja Weighing the World Wide Web: The Art and Science of Load Testing Radha Nagaraja Email: rnagaraja@911memorial.org National September 11 Memorial and Museum Presentation at: Museums and the Web, 2018, Vancouver, Canada
  2. 2. Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja Live Streaming and Events on 9/11 Anniversary ~ 35 X 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Challenge
  3. 3. Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja Website Content Management System (CMS) Website Hosting Stack Dedicated Database Servers (Primary and Fallback) Dedicated Web Servers Dedicated Load Balancers Varnish Caching Layer DDOS Protection and Caching Layer End-Users (Client-Side) Client Monitoring Tools Server Monitoring Tools Technology Stack
  4. 4. Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja Website Hosting Stack Dedicated Database Servers (Primary and Fallback) Dedicated Web Servers Dedicated Load Balancers Varnish Caching Layer Server Monitoring Tools Client Monitoring Tools DDOS Cache Memcache Drupal Cache Varnish Cache DDOS Protection and Caching Layer End-Users (Client-Side) Website Content Management System (CMS) Technology Stack
  5. 5. Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja Website Content Management System (CMS) Website Hosting Stack Dedicated Database Servers (Primary and Fallback) Dedicated Web Servers Dedicated Load Balancers Varnish Caching Layer DDOS Protection and Caching Layer Server Monitoring Tools End-Users (Client-Side) Client Monitoring Tools • Visitor Analytics • Incoming and Outgoing Traffic Analytics • CPU • Memory • Database and CMS Analytics Technology Stack
  6. 6. Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja Load Testing: High-Level Workflow 1. Estimate traffic. 2. Provision appropriate (best-estimate) infrastructure. 3. Create traffic (as realistic as possible). 4. Test website performance. 5. Repeat Steps 2-4 as needed.
  7. 7. Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja Variation of Traffic Patterns During Spike
  8. 8. Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja Identify the hardware configuration of the Production stack Calculate the upsize requirements for the Anniversary by estimating visitor traffic Set up a cloned Production environment in collaboration with hosting provider Setup a new test Virtual IP on the DDOS and caching platform for routing traffic to the cloned stack Setup a new domain for the load test environment (e.g. loadtest.911memorial.o rg) Configure the Test Payment Gateway so we can make test transactions Configure any external API/database connections to point to the test servers. Configure Analytics for the cloned domain. Finally, make test transactions to test if everything works as expected All set for starting load testing! Note: We usually start with running load tests with the current configuration of the Production environment and then run tests on upsized environments as necessary and compare the difference in performance. Setting up of the Load Test Environment Preparing for Load Test
  9. 9. Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja Defining Load Test Scenario
  10. 10. Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja Defining and Modeling Use Cases Sample use case with anonymous and authenticated sections Modeling in the load testing framework
  11. 11. Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja Load Test Time Profile and Latency Measurement A sample time profile of number of concurrent users Variation of latency. It is seen that the latency remains approximately constant while ramping up number of concurrent users and during sustained load.
  12. 12. Art and Science of Load Testing MW18 Radha Nagaraja Conclusions and Summary • Load tests and performance tests are important to ensure the website can handle spikes in traffic smoothly. • Uncover issues that might manifest only under sustained load • It is crucial to make the load test infrastructure and simulated traffic as close to real as possible. • As a precaution, it is still advisable to keep “human components” online during the high-spike period.

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