Scalability Testing the Cloud

At CA Labs we've been working on a tool - dubbed "Reacto" - which provides a new approach to measuring the scalability of a software component in an enterprise-scale environment.

At CA Labs we’ve been working on a tool – dubbed “Reacto” – which provides a new approach to measuring the scalability of a software component in an enterprise-scale environment.  (From now on, we will refer to the component we are testing as the “component-under-test” or CUT.)  The general approach of the Reacto framework is to create lightweight, but realistic models of the interaction between the CUT and the other components or systems in the environment.  These models are then executed in an emulation engine and the CUT communicates with the emulated components as though it were talking to real systems.  The key aspect of the research is to balance the modelling so that it is rich enough to “fool” an unmodified CUT into thinking that it is talking to real systems, but lightweight enough so that tens of thousands of instances of model systems can be executed simultaneously in the emulation engine.


The upcoming release of CA CloudMinder Identity Management (IM)  was a perfect opportunity to use Reacto to validate IM’s scalability at managing many thousands of endpoints.  The component of IM that communicates directly with the managed endpoint systems is the Java Connector Server (JCS).  Reacto was used to emulate 10,000 mock endpoints for the JCS to manage, enabling us to measure the scalability and performance of the JCS itself.  Each emulated endpoint had its own IP address and an independent state.



Using JMeter, we invoked the JCS to conduct a set of operations on each endpoint which are typical in identity management.  We executed this test using up to 100 concurrent threads, and used CA Application Performance Management to monitor the JCS’ memory usage, CPU usage and response time.  The test confirmed that IM and the JCS satisfactorily scale to manage 10,000 endpoints.  We also passed on the resource consumption information onto the software architects.  One unexpected result of the test was the discovery that the endpoint caching mechanism used by the JCS used more memory than expected.  This information was thus used by the software architects to improve the design of the JCS.


Reacto’s approach correlates very nicely with CA LISA Service Virtualisation, a product from our 2011 acquisition of Interactive TKO, Inc. (ITKO) that automatically creates models from the observed message traces between a CUT and the other services in the environment.  This enables customers to accurately test the impact of new versions of a system without affecting the production environment and without needing to access the real systems in the production environment. 


Further details of the Reacto and the IM scalability test will appear in the May edition of the CA Technology Exchange.

Written by

Steve Versteeg

Steve Versteeg is a Research Staff Member with CA Labs, based in Melbourne, Australia. His…

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  • James Holland

    This is great. Hooray for Disney’s imagineers!

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  • king lear

    testing comment functionality, please do not publish this

  • http://www.rachelmacik.com Rachel Macik

    Love the personal pic :)

    • CAHighlight

      Thank you!

  • Plutora Inc

    This is a good case study. 2.3 sec’s off a login transaction is big.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/michelehudnall Michele Hudnall

    While the analysts were hyping DevOps, I posted the oversight of not including security as part of that discussion as you are highlighting here. Instead of just talking DevOps, it should be DOS (what’s old is new again :-) – DevOpsSec. As a previous AppDev person, it’s the app, who’s using it, why and where rather than the device and having the service available.

    As you rightly point, out Security should be baked into the solution.
    https://www.netiq.com/communities/data-center-solutions/accelerating_business_overhauling_service_management/

    Nice Post and Timely!

    @HudnallsHuddle

    • CAHighlight

      Thank you for your feedback Michele. Agreed – security cannot be overlooked. Appreciate your input!

  • Mitesh

    I would love a printed copy

  • Lars Johansson

    I love the idea of BYOID! This makes me choose if I am almost anonymous (with my Hotmail Nicname) or official with identity from an official organisation. My Identity Provider will attach identity with right level of LoA according to the need of the Service provider.

    • CAHighlight

      Thank you for your comment. BYOID has tangible benefits for end users and relying parties but it also has to be weighed in the balance with potential risks and liability concerns. It will be interesting to see how BYOID plays out in the enterprise.