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A Fortune 500 health services company

How a health services giant automated performance testing
80-90%
faster release cycles
99%
successful releases
50%
reduction in allocated support costs
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Overview

Serving over 230 million individuals worldwide, a Fortune 500 health services corporation uses technology as a key competitive differentiator to help make the health system work better for everyone. The company’s IT department has more than 21,000 professionals managing 150 petabytes of information across 100,000 servers worldwide. The landscape covers everything from legacy systems from 30 to 40 years ago to modern open-source technology.

The company is continually looking to modernize all its platforms and systems. Innovation — especially technological innovation — is a core value within the corporation. The company was continually running into challenges with modernizing its software development lifecycle because of its scale and the magnitude of its applications.

 “There have been ups and downs in implementing change [to an automated DevOps approach]. Especially around collaboration where so many teams are working in silos with their own set of tools and processes. Sharing knowledge between teams wasn’t happening, and collaboration with the business was limited. All of this was delaying releases. The QA team didn’t have enough time to test, and if they found a problem, developers didn’t have enough time to fix it,” says the company’s Director of Information Technology Services.

The company went to smaller release cycles so they could test earlier and resolve issues faster. They used automation to break down the silos by going to a self-service model where DevOps teams could do their own testing.

“In NeoLoad, we have everything under one umbrella.”

Standardizing on single testing approach with NeoLoad

Continuous testing was a critical element in the company’s automation journey, the director notes. “We automated all testing,” she says. “But teams were using many different [testing] tools. Some were using open source, others were using legacy tools that took hours to build and run tests. So we wanted a standard tool that followed a standard approach. And for us, that was NeoLoad.”

The advantage of NeoLoad is that it is equally effective for different types of applications (web, packaged enterprise apps, etc.), different kinds of tests (unit testing, end-to-end testing), and different teams of various skill levels (expert performance testers, non-expert developers). With NeoLoad, the company brought everything under one umbrella and kicked off testing as part of a Jenkins pipeline. With the NeoLoad-Dynatrace integration, the company has the data from both its NeoLoad custom dashboards and from the Dynatrace monitoring.

“If there’s a problem in the code or there are infrastructure issues or an API is breaking because of some backend services, we are able to debug very fast. Plus, we are able to provide stakeholders with the pass/fail results — or whatever information they need — using NeoLoad dashboards, very early in the lifecycle,” the director says.

Challenges

  • Needed tool that could script and validate fast
  • Integrate into automated pipelines
  • Promote collaboration/share insights among teams
  • Scale test environment to mirror production size
  • Be easy to use for experts and non-experts alike in DevOps environment

“We wanted a standard tool that followed a standard approach. And for us, that was NeoLoad.”

NeoLoad’s speed ensures problem-free security rollout

A new security initiative was introduced across all vital enterprise services and apps. This required the performance engineering team to deliver comparisons and new baselines on performance to ensure a smooth and successful rollout.

Corporate security regulation compliance required that the performance testing team also create separate timing windows during which all testing can/cannot be executed. Specifically, scheduling and resource coordination had to accommodate a 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. window. Delivering this quickly became an additional success metric. If time compression wasn’t hard enough, the testing days demanding higher load volumes grew infeasible with their legacy solution, LoadRunner. Unable to fulfill the new testing requirement resulted in the need to seek an alternative testing provider.

Security patches and improvements must be completed quickly and tested comprehensively, especially for a health services giant. Updates can’t sustain the wait that legacy performance testing solutions require, and without visibility over possible service degradation, rollouts can be risky and costly.

Over three weeks with a NeoLoad testing portfolio of >30 web and mobile applications and ~20 APIs, the company’s dedicated performance team completed its migration and met the delivery SLA. They also realized what they defined as “wins” using crucial NeoLoad capabilities such as mobile and AWS testing.

“NeoLoad’s plug-and-play UI was so easy-to-use that we were able to train colleagues ourselves within a few days quickly,” according to the company’s Director of IT Services.

So, in less than the two-week budget allotment, full API and end-to-end performance testing were completed using NeoLoad with ease. The team was able to roll out the new security measures with no user impact.

Results

  • Reduced release cycle time by 80-90%
  • Virtually eliminated priority-1 war rooms, with 99% successful releases
  • Improved IT operations efficiency, cutting allocated support costs by 50%
  • DevOps team efficiency improved by 15%