Cloud-based service offers load testing and website optimisation
Eyes a fresh round of funding to fuel talent expansion plans
IN late October, Load Impact made an offer to use its services for free to the technology taskforce responsible for fixing the troubled HealthCare.gov website in the United States.
Officials of companies hired to create the healthcare website had cited a lack of testing on the full system and last-minute changes by the federal agency overseeing the online enrolment system as the primary cause of problems plaguing the government exchange for President Barack Obama's signature healthcare reforms.
In a press statement, Load Impact founder and chief executive officer Ragnar Lönn noted that there is nothing new in the failure of the Obamacare site. Websites have been developed that way for years, and often with the same results.
"But there are now new methodologies and tools changing all that, and we've reached out to our California representatives and all of the companies involved to let them know we're ready to provide our stress testing services to them free of charge," he said.
"It isn't like it used to be -- this shouldn't be hard, time consuming or expensive. You just need to recognise that load testing is something that needs to be done. It's not optional anymore. It seems they found that out the hard way. But we sincerely want to help make it work."
A bold offer from a Swedish company founded in 2009 specialising in one thing: Crashing websites.
Its founder Lönn is considered one of the Internet pioneers of Sweden, having founded Algonet, the first Swedish consumer Internet service provider, in 1994 before growing the company to great commercial success, culminating in its acquisition by Telenordia.
In an email interview with Digital News Asia (DNA), Lönn shared that he got the inspiration for the service after a trying personal experience.
He had wanted to purchase some tickets from Swedish ticket booking website Ticnet, but the site took too long to load and he ended up not buying anything. However the seed for what would eventually become Load Impact was planted that day.
“Load testing wasn’t very well known when we first launched Load Impact 1.0 in 2009. We actually had a company send in a support ticket asking us to ‘load test’ car tires!” said Lönn.
Load Impact is essentially an on-demand tool that helps to simulate traffic flowing into web applications to see how the app handles the load. This in turn helps website owners better manage and optimise their site.
To date, the company has completed over 850,000 tests, with over 75,000 accounts across over 190 countries and offices in Stockholm, San Francisco and Singapore.
Some notable clients include JWT, Nvidia, ScribbleLive, Cloud Nine, Liebro, SomethingDigital and SpiralEdge.
The venture initially received seed funding from Grädde Invest, a venture capital firm that specialises in early stage startups. A second round of funding came from angel investors Gustaf Brandberg and Magnus Sandberg.
According to Lönn, Load Impact’s product was built on top of the public cloud, using Amazon and Rackspace to dynamically spin up any number of virtual servers required to generate massive amounts of traffic onto a web site.
The application generating the traffic -- the load generation software -- is a C application that has been built completely in-house and is both very flexible and resource-efficient, allowing Load Impact to use fewer load generation servers than many other tools would need in order to simulate the same number of users in a load test, claimed Lönn.
When asked how the product differs from existing competitors in the market, Lönn said that compared to traditional testing tools such as Soasta, Load Impact offers immediate tests with no licence and no software to download, and is completely self-service and cloud-based.
Against cloud-based testing tools such as Blaze Meter, the company’s offering boasts the ability to simulate up to 250,000 simultaneous users from multiple geographic locations worldwide. In addition, Lönn claims Load Impact has a more simplified user experience, with users configuring only what needs to be configured to get reliable results.
For its business model, Load Impact sells credits to run on-demand load tests, with the cost of credits determined by the load levels to be tested at as well as the length of time the test needs to be run.
“We are also in the process of launching a subscription model for our Continuous Delivery product, which will allow you to run small automated tests prior to each code commit either through our API (applications programing interface), SDKs (software development kits) or our Continuous Integration plugins for Jenkins and TeamCity,” he added.
When asked what the near future holds for the company, Lönn said that at Load Impact, the development never stops.
“Right now, we are developing a Jenkins and TeamCity plugin to complement our recently launched Continuous Delivery API, SDKs and CI plugins. We are also constantly fine-tuning our tool to ensure more functionality and greater ease of use,” he said.
Lönn also shared that the team is in the process of raising another round of funding so that it can expand exponentially.
The hunt for funding this time around should be an easier campaign, given this last piece of news he had to share: “We have been in the black since the beginning of this year!”
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