Making sense of load test performance metrics and displaying in a manner necessary to drive business decisions can be a challenging endeavor. This data usually comes from multiple different sources, and collecting it can be cumbersome. One way to lessen this burden is to automate the collection of these performance metrics into a unified analysis platform. This is precisely how one customer has leveraged simple plugins and a popular time series database to effortlessly display their integrated test results in stunning Grafana dashboards. Through these dashboards, Grafana makes it possible to compare a battery of tests side-by-side and even layer results from multiple tests.
HBO Puts Their Test Results in Stunning Grafana Dashboard
HBO Latin America needed an efficient way to track API response times, request volumes, errors, and other relevant metrics. RedLine13 makes it easy to run a JMeter-based test plan on distributed load agents, and also extends additional functionality through the use of many off-the-shelf plugins. We detail the specific instructions on how to easily accomplish an InfluxDB integration here. With that, it is a logical next step to connect Grafana to the InfluxDB instance and create visually striking dashboards which makes it easy to spot trends as well as convey technical findings to business audiences and project stakeholders.
HBO Latin America dashboard powered by InfluxDB and Grafana
Copyright © HBO Latin America
The above screen captures are dashboard views from actual load tests run by HBO Latin America, that illustrate some ways which they have leveraged these technologies to convey meaningful
“We wanted to have more visibility on our metrics”
—Miguel Angel Flores de Montanaro, Software Quality Control Manager, HBO Latin America
How to do it
From a technical perspective and those not specifically familiar with these technologies, InfluxDB is a two-part sender (client) and receiver (server) lightweight database solution aimed at efficiently storing chronological data points. RedLine13 offers single-click integration with this service from the “Plugins” section of any load test (see detailed instructions here).
Integration of InfluxDB with RedLine13 is a single-click endeavor.
Once the built-in InfluxDB plugin is enabled, RedLine13 will automatically send load test metrics to your configured database. It is possible to run both Grafana and InfluxDB on the same machine using default configurations, as they run a local webserver on separate ports. (Grafana is discussed more in detail below). Using a popular JMeter test script, the architectural organization might look as follows:
Architectural diagram for a prototypical InfluxDB-driven Grafana dashboard using RedLine13
Grafana is an analytics platform which can accept data from a multitude of data sources, and since release of version 7.1 it comes with built-in integrations specifically for InfluxDB. As shown below, adding an InfluxDB instance as a data source can be accomplished with a few clicks and entering some basic information. The makers of InfluxDB (InfluxData) publish a concise step-by-step guide on their website here.
Configuring an InfluxDB data source from Grafana
With data-driven, query-based dashboards that update in near real-time, the possibilities are literally endless on what Grafana can do in terms of visualizing your load test data. Below is the standard assortment of visualizations, which becomes further extensible with the use of third-party or custom plugins.
Grafana offers an impressive array of visualization options.
There is often a fair amount of work that goes into a load test in terms of planning, architecture, and data collection outside of the actual context of the test. It can be easy to underestimate both the scope of this work, as well as the time commitment required. Setting up Grafana via the InfluxDB plugin is just one way that customers can extend RedLine13’s base services to reduce time spent on these tasks and achieve higher levels of automation in their load testing workflows. Click here to sign up for a free account and begin trying out some of these features for yourself.