Monday, October 24, 2011

[SQL Azure] Overview of tools for using SQL Azure {plenty of Silverlight Line Of Business}


This post is about presenting rapidly tools for creating and managing SQL Azure.


I am delighted to see how much effort Microsoft put into Silverlight LOB tools {cf. Silverlight is not dead}.

has invested a lot of effort into those tools. put into their tools for managing their Windows AZURE platform.

STEP 1. First of all let`s login to the Windows AZURE platform Web portal:


The entire interface is a Silverlight LOB application to manage a large amount of information and management operations  {notice that HTML has not been forgotten and identified in Green above when resizable Rich Text is required. See note at the end}.

STEP 2. Go to Database Tab and instantiate a new SQL AZURE server, and choose one of the 6 Datacenter the MS `offers` you:




  • North Central US – Chicago, Illinois
  • South Central US – San Antonio, Texas
  • North Europe – Amsterdam, Netherlands,
  • West Europe – Dublin, Ireland
  • East Asia – Hong Kong
  • Southeast Asia – Singapore
  • If you are concerned with data regulation when storing your database somewhere in the Cloud, here is a list of the countries and cities` location.

    STEP 3. Create a database with Admin accounts. In this example, I just create a small database {1 GB max}.


    STEP 4. Administering tool. To administer your database, use another SaaS tool  provided by Microsoft: SQL Azure Management Portal.

    Knowing that dhaigdshn8 is the name of my server, the address to administer it is located here:

    It is again a Silverlight LOB application:


    Once logged in, you have here is the home page:


    Create any databases that is required

    STEP 5. Administer your database {Create tables, views, stored procedures, run commands…}. Notice the nice “Office ribbon”

    STEP 6. Use your database.

    Once setup, just use tools such as

    . SQL Server Management Studio
    . or Visual Studio {here under VS 2011}


    image image

    STEP 7. That`s all, just enjoy your cloud database create in few seconds. How long would it take if you would have asked you IT service to create such database in production environment ? Winking smile


    NOTE 1: For information, you could apply to be part of Beta Programs on AZURE as shown:


    NOTE 2: We can notice that MS used the Blob storage to store html pages {just change fr by en for English version}.


    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    Free Load test on AZURE to test the scalability of your Website

    When seeking for information on AZURE, I found out another free tool on its basic version for testing Web scalability: CloudNetCare

    However, if you want to test Silverlight applications, I suspect that he may need to combine other tools such as Selenium Silverlight {see below} and customize Scripts.

    Super quick and easy to configure, it has a double feature:

    · It is based on AZURE to increase its ability to inject load,

    · It creates not HTTP requests to simulate the load {Virtual Users}, but with the ability to scale-out on Azure, it instantiates many and true web browsers.





    As it`s quite tedious to copy / paste many URLs, which does not allow to simulate some GUI behaviors, an interesting variation is based on Selenium Scripts that are recorded via the GUI of Firefox.

    Note that there are many helps and videos, that are hidden by default, to accompany us all along the process.

    Then, a very `cloud ` approach when setting up the tests is to choose for example the DataCenter that will be used, and at what time you want to start the load.


    then the characteristics of the tests: 


    `Pour un test de plus de 100 utilisateurs… = `For a test that has got more than 100 users…`
    Since the purpose of such application is to load up until the maximum limit for your Web servers and determine the breaking point, CloudNetCare includes a protection:

    As a result and unfortunately you will not be not possible to assign 5000 servers in the cloud and break down your favorite e-Commerce web site and thus be on the front page of every newspapers.


    Finally, you can share the results either by CSV export, or by creating a Web link. Here is a link to my test report {well, I just changed the GUID of my real one}: .



    Really interesting concept, and big thank you CloudNetCare to have given us the ability to use free of charge the basic version.

    The only problem with the public cloud, it that it is more difficult to test my Intranet applications... I cannot complain, I cannot have everything ... free and as easily. Anyway, I am gladly adding this tool my ALM item list to make life easier and more agile.

    So have a good Agility, and a great Scrum hopefully.

    Technorati Tags:

    Saturday, October 1, 2011

    Alleluia !! a Load Test tool for Silverlight 4 that gives results within 5 min ! {download, install and running the tests included}

    After many searches, having read many people complaining about Load testing a Silverlight applications, watching nice demo of "Hello World" cases, installed commercial tools {but was stuck at some configuration points. See the notes at the end where I listed some of my tests}, and I finally …. gave up tonight !!

    But thanks to a final search on Fiddler2 fields {because it gave me the most promising results}, I came across stresstimulus tool. So sorry for those of you who already know this free Fiddler add-on, and also may be its limitations {in which case, please tell us your view points}.

    For the purists, I don't want to test Silverlight UI as such {i.e. for this type of test, I am not interested in Visual Studio 2010 Coded UI}, since it runs Client-side. Rather, I wanted to validate that, once deployed into production, this RIA will not put our IIS servers down. Hence, I want to simulate the load on Server-side, by generating lots of various calls to our web services easily.

    For my first trial of this tools, I chose a complex Line Of Business application
    { Disclaimer for those who recognizes this application /!\ I just did it gently so that I do not break it}.


    Within the next 5 min I got the detailed results !! I could have nearly cried so much it was easy and … cheap !! {I am moving to the Pro version since I checked that it works fine on our real application, even with STS WIF and WCF binary activated !! which seams to be so difficult to handle for other tools}.


    Here are some results
    Performance Graphs: Number of simultaneous users, request per seconds, Average response time, Bytes received per seconds, Errors per seconds.image

    A summary page
    Test Summary
    Test Case Summary
    File Name: Thavonekham-Tests.ssconfig
    Primary Pages: 2
    URLs : 39

    Test Parameters
    Think time between base pages:
    As recorded

    Iteration timing: Think time between iterations - 2s
    Load pattern: Constant load
    Users: 5
    Browser Type: IE8
    Network Type: Dial-Up 56k
    Complete test after: 5 iterations
    Warm-up time: 0 seconds
    Test Run Information
    Date: Oct-1 2011
    Start Time: 21:46:34.19
    End Time: 21:48:00.11
    Warm-up (s): 0
    Aggregate Session time (s): 851.53
    Test run duration (s): 85.92

    Overall Result
    Status: Completed
    Max User Load: 5
    Total bytes sent: 138,960
    Total bytes received: 41,191,492
    Bytes sent/sec: 1,617.292
    Bytes received/sec: 479,409.064
    Http Errors: 0
    Total Timeouts: 0
    Page Timeouts: 0
    Missed Goals: 0
    Test Iterations
    Iterations Started: 5
    Iterations Completed: 5
    Avg. iteration time (s): 78.76
    Requests (HTTP transactions)
    Total requests: 195
    Requests/sec: 2.27
    Avg. response time (s): 4.37

    Page detailed {in terms of *.aspx for instance}: 

    Request details {including resources such as xaml, png, xap, svc, …}

    And finally
    Iteration Details

    And it does really stress my Windows 8 computer ! {I only ran the test below for 30 seconds}

    At least one limitation: The generated reports do not track down to a specific WebMethod…. except on the example above. Indeed, the calls to WebMethods were passed within the Query String.

    Monitoring the load on the Database:
    As a complementary tool, use Microsoft SQL Server Profiler {in profiling mode, with a filter set to the name of your database to filter out unwanted SQL queries}. When you play back your tests with StresStimulus, it does call my Web services WCF bin and generated large amount of hits on the database. Now, just spot your top slower queries, and here you go ! Optionally, you could save your trace and run SQL Tuning Advisor.

    HOWEVER it is NOT a win yet, I have to try on our real life project. Indeed, I love Silverlight it is just a great RIA, but I also I apply even more the proverb “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”.
    Finally, it seams that with Silverlight we are left behind within the .Net world {eg. Unit Testing, CodeCoverage, proper ALM, …}

    If you find better tools, please let me know.

    TIPS / IDEAS / Alternative solutions for testing SL apps|

    NB : If you want to know what other tools I tried "{ Deviland start to feel the pain I went through}  see below:

    Re: Load Testing vis Silverlight Client?
    1 hour, 16 minutes ago | LINK
    I also struggled finding a proper load testing tool for Silverlight 4 {I know plenty of smart people would claim that there is no need to test RIA, but I want to test the WCF that my SL is using} :
    Plenty of "Hello World" nice and sunny video, ... but the reality is so different.
    1> Despite the fact I was using VS 2010 ultimate, it seams not to work "out of the box" for SL ! {despite its price}
    2> I successfully used Fiddler2 {free of charge} to record aspx calls, and most importantly the binary WCF calls { svc}. Fiddler2 offers the surprising ability to "SAVE AS VISUAL STUDIO WEB TEST"
    [Visual Studio WebTest].
    The only problem I had is that VS 2010 did not understand the binary messages that was recorded ! Damned !! I guess I unfortunately have to add an plain text endpoint. That was my most promising experience in Load testing with SL.
    3> Otherwise you can find at least 2 CodePlex projects { and}.
    that seams to be OK, but they are not really maintained. My first go with those tools did not succeed all the way through. only partially.
    4> It seams HP Loadrunner 11 supports Silverlight 3 and 4 with WCF bin mode {but not advanced bindings, which is fine with me}.
    I will try that in the following months {just the time for me to sort out the license and first install}.
    5> Selenium Silverlight and
    If you are more lucky with EASY tools {i.e. I know my VS 2010 would work with plenty of cheats and "CodePlexes" }, please HEEELLLLPPPPP !!
    UPDATE > alleluia I just tried a Free {but with limited Virutal Users} add on to the great Fiddler2 beta.
    It is stresstimulus > Follow the link here
    Vincent THAVONEKHAM.