App Testing Stops Bank Robbery

This is a guest post written and contributed by Frank Cohen, CTO and Founder at Appvance, a Rackspace Cloud Tools partner. Appvance provides functional, load and performance testing in order to provide third-party validation that apps will stay up and running under heavy usage.

“App testing stops bank robbery”  – no, it wasn’t a real headline, but it should have been. To those of us working behind the scenes, it was a big moment. Here’s what happened: a financial institution was in the process of completing a new banking web app. The app appeared to be working just fine when our team started dialing up the stress by adding thousands of virtual users, all hitting the app simultaneously. All was well until we reached a threshold of about 5,000 simultaneous users. The app then started mixing the bank accounts of the virtual users, allowing money from one account to land in someone else’s account. A smart criminal could have used this failure to move money around before anyone noticed.

Stories like this are why Appvance is so dedicated to helping software developers find problems that could kill their apps before users publicly report a failure. Appvance Enterprise software and services find problems other testing products almost always miss. When your developers use popular APIs like those from Apigee, Gigya, Facebook and Twitter, the traditional legacy test platforms can disappoint. For example, deploy Gigya’s Facebook log-in API following the Gigya examples limits your app to one user log-in per second, even if you have a million users.

Appvance’s methodology evaluates the entire user-experience, not just the app code. We look at the third-party systems and integrations to find dependencies that may be a bottleneck or an epic fail when under heavy stress and load. This is key to how we see the world – because there are whole new software constructions, consensuses and conventions in the way we build apps

We partner with Rackspace so tests built in Appvance Enterprise are Rackspace Cloud ready. Just press “play” or have your continuous integration (CI) environment run the test and Appvance Enterprise starts the required Rackspace Cloud Servers to run the test. At the end of the test, Appvance Enterprise takes down the cloud instances.

Our experience has taught us that apps that run normally in functional testing do not always perform the way expected when a stress threshold is crossed.

About a decade ago, when I realized functional testing did not capture all the issues, I worked to pioneer and lead the charge to make full end-user and integration testing a priority. This was back when testing was still not what the cool kids were interested in. This history is why we are very pleased to be partnering with Rackspace, a company that, like Appvance, has roots in open source and understands the dev world. Together, our companies can protect large numbers of developers and brands and lead to better user experiences for their customers while making the life of developers and DevOps easier and more efficient.

Need to see this work in your environment with your apps? We are presently offering a limited number of Rackspace customers a complimentary consulting session to show how your app performs under stress. We will sit side-by-side with you (or run it for you!) so you can see the value Appvance Enterprise delivers to you and your organization. Visit our portal on the Rackspace Cloud Tools Marketplace for more information or drop us an email (

When our peers, customers and partners have an excellent experience using our customers’ apps, that is an inspiring mission delivered.-Frank Cohen, Appvance


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