Lex Service PLC has a turnover of £1.5bn. and employs 12,500 staff in over 200 locations. 50% of companies in the FTSE Top 250 are Lex customers. Lex Auto Logistics, part of Lex Service PLC, is a leading logistics service provider to blue chip organisations whose products have a serviceable parts requirement. They have successfully used ANTS Load to test the architecture for their new .NET based web application called LEXtec. Red Gate Software's Advanced .NET Testing System (ANTS Load) has allowed the development team to test the application with multiple concurrent users and to validate the work undertaken with its development partner, E-Zeesoft.
Lex Auto Logistics provides a comprehensive range of logistic support services to manufacturing industries, including the management and distribution of aftermarket spare parts in the UK and abroad. Clients include Hyundai, General Motors, the RAC and Isuzu Trucks, making them a leading provider to the European automotive aftermarket. Lex Auto Logistics has invested over £10m. in its IT infrastructure and is a pioneering company, using the latest information technologies.
Lex Auto Logistics decided to partner with E-Zeesoft to build their next generation, web-based, parts catalogue and customer information portal to drive growth over the next 5 years. This product offering is branded as LEXtec. ANTS Load has been chosen as the tool to load test the application.
Faris Haddad, Technical Architect for E-Zeesoft, said
"ANTS Load provided us with a powerful and easy-to-use way of evaluating how many concurrent users we could scale to. It also helped us identify where we could improve."
LEXtec is a three-tiered application written entirely in Visual Studio .NET. Internet Explorer clients access an ASP.NET application written in Visual Basic .NET. A SQL Server database is used to store the data. LEXtec is used to display and potentially sell approximately 1,000,000 automotive parts over the Internet. This not only allows customers to access up-to-date technical information in order to select the correct part but also allows Lex Auto Logistics to integrate safety and related product information into a single product, thus providing their customers with a totally new marketing channel.
Strategically, Lex Auto Logistics will use LEXtec, combined with its unique engineering experience, as a product to develop and grow into new markets, thus differentiating its offering to customers from those provided by less technically advanced competitors. LEXtec was built though a partnership between Lex Auto Logistics and E-Zeesoft. E-Zeesoft are early adopters of Visual Studio .NET.
Lex Auto Logistics used ANTS Load to simulate an increasing number of simultaneous users accessing the web application. ANTS Load identified how the user experience changed, and monitored the performance of the servers as this happened. Using ANTS Load, they were able to identify and eliminate possible bottlenecks in their architecture.
Steve Clark, Project Manager, Lex Auto Logistics, said:
"Before we started using ANTS Load we had no idea of how our application would scale or where the bottlenecks would be. ANTS Load reassured us that we had a scaleable application, but flagged up some important issues to do with processor usage. Further investigation pin-pointed the problem down to our use of objects within our VB.NET code and the way they were being garbage collected. We were very relieved to discover that the network and SQL Server were not restricting performance".
Andrew Vernon, Project Manager, E-Zeesoft, said:
"It was very useful to use ANTS Load to understand the performance of our work, and to use it to validate the milestones we must pass in our agreement with Lex Auto Logistics. However, I must say that I wish we had used ANTS Load to test throughout the development phase, rather than waiting until the end of the project."
Ease of Use
ANTS Load has been designed from the first to be extremely easy to use and to learn. The integration of Visual Studio for Applications within ANTS Load is one of the compelling reasons to adopt it.
Commenting on the user-friendly product, Steve Clark said:
"We were particularly pleased that we could write our test scripts in Visual Basic .NET since this is the language that our developers use day in and day out. Because the development environment is the same as we are used to writing in, the learning cycle [for ANTS Load] is unbelievably short."
Lex Auto Logistics had set stringent performance criteria for LEXtec - a sub two second response time for simple pages and five seconds for complex pages - for up to 1,000 concurrent users. This performance requirement was necessary to exceed the capabilities of the existing CD-based system.
Keith Dewhurst, IT Director, Lex Auto Logistics, said:
"By load testing LEXtec with ANTS Load we have been able to validate this strategically important product. Using .NET as the basis of our technology and load testing with a .NET specific tool has improved our time to market."
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