As the market for Y2K testing tools is grinding to a halt, Israel based software firm Mercury Interactive is finding new markets to address in Web site and ecommerce testing.
Topaz is a Web application performance management tool that proactively measures business processes on the Web and provides data on application performance and availability. Topaz launches agents onto a Web site that perform activities on a Web site like an actual client would do. This way, Topaz alerts operations groups to performance problems before users experience them.
Topaz will be available both as a product that can be licensed and as an outsourced service, Topaz Activewatch, performed by Mercury Interactive. This service will first be available in the US and the UK and then later worldwide. Topaz will start shipping on 4 October and Topaz Activewatch will be available as of 18 October.
Another product family for Web testing is the Astra line. Astra Loadtest validates Web site performance by generating the load of hundreds of users to identify and pinpoint bottlenecks. Astra Quicktest verifies that Web applications work as expected by mirroring end user behaviour to shorten test cycles.
Astra Sitemanager is a visual Web site management tool. The Astra line was architected from the ground up in object oriented technology and uses Activescreen, a technology that tests through visual interaction with Web pages. As a tester highlights an element on the Web page, the coding behind it is shown in a different frame.
The Astra product line will be released in November at $9,995 for 50 virtual users for Astra Loadtest and $2,995 dollars per seat for Astra Quicktest. Astra Sitemanager is available for free.
All Astra products can be downloaded from a 'try and buy' testing site. One of the first users of Astra Quicktest was Prudential Banking subsidiary Egg in the UK. Egg deployed Astra Quicktest for stress testing of the new infrastructure that was implemented for the launch of the Egg Card a couple of weeks ago. Egg chose Quicktest because other Mercury tools had been successfully used in the past.
Despite this, Egg's Web site has had a number of serious problems since its launch.
(see Newswire 29 September) "The pressure to deploy and maintain quality enterprise Web applications is greater than ever before," said Jayaram Bhat, vice president of marketing at Mercury.
"Consumers have low tolerance for site failure, and even the perception of poor performance can wear away customers loyalty," according to Bhat.
Mercury is now trying to convince ecommerce users of the need for testing. New Web sites usually need to be brought to market so fast Web site builders seldom take time to pre-test performance and functionality, claimed Bhat.
By launching its new tools in October and November, Mercury hopes to lure new customers that are setting up ecommerce sites for the Christmas shopping period.
Aside from the Web testing tools, Mercury also launched into other application performance management areas. Together with Tivoli, Mercury is developing Tivoli Application Performance Management, or TAPM, an enterprise APM solution that uses core technology from Mercury Interactive. This technology is integrated with other Tivoli Framework components and will be marketed and sold by Tivoli.
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