For 32 years, Drake Software has provided tax professionals the tools they need to build their businesses and attract new clients. A pioneer in e-filing, Drake e-filed over 7 million income tax returns in 2008.
Web 1040 is an ASP.NET application designed for clients that process tax returns through multiple offices. Web 1040 provides an entirely web based solution which allows customer the ability to file tax returns and print bank product checks in remote offices without the hassle of installing and managing desktop software.
Protocols tested: HTTPS, AJAX
The tax industry has one common challenge: Virtually all of the processing volume occurs over a relatively short period of time. We needed to be positive that we could handle our largest expected load with no slow down. Being down or delivering a product that did not perform well under load would do great damage to our reputation for always being up during tax season. We needed a tool that allowed us to quickly simulate a high load of realistic traffic and would also provide meaningful data. NeoLoad certainly delivered.
The primary reason we chose NeoLoad was because, while powerful, it is capable of delivering results quickly. We had a short window in which to test this system and we were able to use that time testing rather than learning how to use the tool.
First we looked at historical data of e-filing volume to determine peak hours. This gave us a starting point for what our targets should be for a number of returns per hour. Once we had our benchmark we recorded several different scenarios to create virtual users. It was really in this area that I was most impressed with NeoLoad. We could very easily insert dynamic data for each of our virtual users. This was critical to being able to generate a realistic load to our system.
My heart sank when we first started load testing. We just weren’t getting near the performance I expected. Obviously this was a good thing because NeoLoad pointed out that we had a serious bottleneck in our system. After using NeoLoad for the week we had surpassed my performance expectations.
Test Results and Added Value
Again, the primary benefit of using NeoLoad specifically was that it combines power with ease of use. I am not a tester by trade, but I was able to create meaningful test scenarios in a short amount of time.
The results of our early tests pointed out a database issue that was keeping our application from scaling as well as we liked. This issue was impossible to detect except under very heavy load – the exact time that we cannot afford any issues. The software more than paid for itself the first day by pointing out this issue. From that time forward we used the software to tweak our communications with back end servers. It was very helpful to be able to benchmark a scenario and then see what difference system changes make.
In short, I couldn’t be more pleased with the software. It exceeded my expectations.