STARWEST 2017 Concurrent Session : A Three-Tier Load Testing Program Saved Our Bacon

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Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm

A Three-Tier Load Testing Program Saved Our Bacon

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Ensuring a website will scale with excellent performance under peak levels of load is no easy task. Any number of problems can occur—from switch hardware failure to third party service outages, to a poor choice of algorithms or memory use in the code. Melissa Chawla describes Shutterfly's three-tiered approach to prevent site outages during peak load. First, check the development team's designs for scalability by holding performance design reviews for each project including identifying throughput requirements for all down-stream resources. Second, automate continuous load testing of individual web services running against a non-production test environment. And third, load test client applications in concert against production systems. Melissa provides examples of defects Shutterfly has identified and prevented with each of these three types of testing, and describes the tool set Shutterfly uses. Join Melissa as she shares some of the challenges they faced, including the test environment to be as performant as production.


Melissa Chawla manages a software development team at Guidewire. For the previous five years, she managed the test infrastructure and performance engineering teams at Shutterfly. Prior to that, Melissa held software development positions at startups in the high performance computing storage and development tools software industries. She worked in the Tcl/Tk language development team at Sun Labs, contributing to several open source projects around Tcl. Her favorite sports are downhill skiing and Ultimate Frisbee. Learn more about Melissa at LinkedIn.