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Engineering Office David Fischer AG - Switzerland

Engineering Office David Fischer AG - the manufacturer of ProxySniffer - is since May 2012 a company of the Apica group. To learn more about the excellent Apica's Web performance services visit www.apicasystem.com
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Recommended News Articles:
  • How to verify and filter out invalid user accounts?
  • Tune your Windows 2008 System
  • Release V4.6-Z: New Pure Cloud Architecture
  • How to detect if a network problem affects the measured response times?
  • Release V4.6-S: High-duty load generators in the Amazon cloud available
  • Tune your Mac OS X System

Blog: Latest News and Tips about Apica ProxySniffer

May 20, 2013
New Minor Release V5.0-P
ProxySniffer includes now an own implementation of a DNS stack that runs independently of the operating system. Six new options can now be entered into the "Additional Options" input field when starting a load test job:
-dnshosts <file-name>
Effects that the load test job uses an own DNS hosts file to resolve host names.

-dnssrv <IP-name-server-1>[,<IP-name-server-2> .. ,<IP-name-server-N>]
Effects that the load test job uses specific (own) DNS server(s) to resolve host names.

-dnsenattl
Enable consideration of DNS TTL by using the received TTL-values from the DNS server(s).

-dnsfixttl <seconds>
Enable DNS TTL by using a fixed TTL-value for all DNS resolves.

-dnsperloop
Perform new DNS resolves for each executed loop. All resolves are stable within the same loop (no consideration of DNS TTL within a loop).

-dnsstatistic
Effects that statistical data about DNS resolves are measured and displayed in the load test result - even if no special DNS configuration is required to perform the load test. Note: there is no need to use this option if any other, more specific DNS option is enabled, because all (other) DNS options also effect that statistical data about DNS resolves are measured.
As soon as one or more of the six new DNS options are used ProxySniffer always performs all DNS resolves by using an own, separate communication with the DNS server(s) without accessing the default DNS stack of the operating system on the load generators. Furthermore, all options effect that additional measurement data about all performed DNS resolves are collected and can be viewed in the "Load Test Detail Result" as DNS Statistic:

DNS Statistic: Summary

DNS Statistic: Specifics

January 20, 2013
Updated V5.0-K Installation Kit.
The installation kit of V5.0-K (first released in October 2012) has again been updated and contains the following new additional feature:
  • When launching (starting) Amazon EC2 load generators from the GUI, you can now activate a new option which effects that the EC2 load generators will be automatically terminated if the CPU Usage of a load generator is constantly less than a threshold for a configurable period of time.
     
    This new function supports you to avoid unnecessary costs for unused EC2 instances. It's implemented using an Amazon "CloudWatch Alarm" that even works when the ProxySniffer GUI is no longer running.
     

     
    Hint: Please keep in mind that your test results are lost if you don't have acquired them before the load generators are (automatically) terminated.

December 28, 2012
Updated V5.0-K Installation Kit.
The installation kit of V5.0-K (first released in October 2012) has several times updated in November and December 2012. In addition to the first installation Kit of V5.0-K the updated installation kit - dated from December 28, 2012 - contains the following additional features:
  • The Proxy recoding port 7997 has now been turned in a combined port (used before for HTTPS recording only) meaning that you can record now encrypted as well as unencrypted web traffic by using the same proxy port 7997. This allows you to record web sessions even if you can configure only one Proxy Sever port on your recording device - such as for example on an iPhone or on an iPad.
  • The menu for selecting error-snapshots (measured failure data) has been enhanced. You can now search overall error-snapshots for a specific text-string that has occurred in any HTTP request, any HTTP response or inside any error-log (- of the error-snapshots).
  • The menus for managing load generators and for managing "Pure Cloud" machines in the Amazon EC2 cloud have been revised and improved. Among other things the EC2 information of both menus is now shown substantially faster in the ProxySniffer GUI. All "Pure Cloud" machines as well as all Exec Agents running on EC2 can now be rebooted from the GUI.

May 5, 2012
Version 3.1 of "Firefox Recording Extension" released - compatible to Firefox Versions 3 to 15.
If you have upgraded your Firefox web browser to version 12 or 13 the add-on named "Firefox Recording Extension" is reported as incompatible. Resolution: first uninstall the add-on in the web browser. After restarting the browser enter
https://www.proxy-sniffer.com/download/PrxRecExt1.xpi into Firefox. This will install the latest version 3.1 of the "Firefox Recording Extension" which is compatible to Firefox version 15 as well as to Firefox version 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 and 3.

February 21, 2012
How to verify and filter out invalid user accounts?
When performing load tests by simulating users that have to fill out a HTML login form the user accounts and their passwords are normally extracted from an input file and assigned to the HTML form parameters in such a way that each simulated user uses an own username and password.

However, such an input file contains often also a couple of invalid user accounts, and when measuring an error during a load test it might be hard to distinguish if the error did occur because the Web application was overloaded or did occur because the user account was invalid.

Therefore, we recommend that you make first a small test run to filter out all invalid user accounts before you execute the real load test.

For this purpose you can use the pre-installed Plug-In named "Generic Output File (V1.0)" and proceed as follows:
  1. Add the Plug-In "Generic Output File (V1.0)" to your load test and configure its execution to be at the end of each loop. Use as first output value the user name and as second output value the password extracted from the input file containing the user accounts.
  2. Run now a load test by simulating exactly as many users as the input file contains different user names and passwords. Limit the number of "Max. Loops per User" to one, set a really large "Load Test Duration" (for example 2 hours) and set a large "Startup Delay per User" (for example 5 seconds: 5,000 ms) in order that the Web application is not overloaded during this verification run.
  3. After the verification-test has been completed you can acquire the log file of the Plug-In (which has the same file name as the load test program, but has the file extension *.log). The log file will contain only valid user accounts.
  4. As next step you can delete the original input file containing the user accounts and then rename the log file of the Plug-In to the name of the deleted file. After that you should also remove the Plug-In form your load test program.
  5. Finally, generate the load test program once again and start your real load test with the verified and valid user accounts.


February 19, 2012
Version 3.0 of "Firefox Recording Extension" released - Support for Remote Configuration added
We recommend that you always use the standard configuration for the "Firefox Recording Extension", meaning that both, the Proxy Sniffer Console and the "Firefox Recording Extension", run on the same system.

But as a further option it is now also supported to use the "Firefox Recording Extension" on any other system at which no Proxy Sniffer GUI component is installed (so called "Remote Configuration Mode"):

Further information about the "Remote Configuration" is available in the
revised "Firefox Recording Extension Handbook," chapter 4 


Version 3.0 of "Firefox Recording Extension" is compatible to Firefox version 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 and 3.
To upgrade to the version 3.0 of the "Firefox Recording Extension" you have first uninstall the add-on in the Web browser. After restarting the browser enter https://www.proxy-sniffer.com/download/PrxRecExt1.xpi into Firefox.

February 15, 2012
Tune your Windows 2008 System
If you operate Proxy Sniffer on a Windows Server 2008 we strongly recommend that you tune the maximal number of network connections by performing the following two tasks:
  1. Start regedit.exe and create the following new entry *:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\Tcpip\Parameters\
    TcpTimedWaitDelay = 30 (decimal, dword)
  2. Enter the following command from a command prompt:

    netsh int ipv4 set dynamicport tcp start=12288 num=53247
After that you have to reboot your Windows system.
* = This recommendation applies to all Windows product versions (XP, Vista, 7, 2003, 2008)

January 31, 2012
Version 2.6 of "Firefox Recording Extension" released - compatible to Firefox Version 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 and 3.
If you have upgraded your Firefox web browser to version 10 the add-on named "Firefox Recording Extension" is reported as incompatible. Resolution: first uninstall the add-on in the web browser. After restarting the browser enter
https://www.proxy-sniffer.com/download/PrxRecExt1.xpi into Firefox. This will install the latest version 2.6 of the "Firefox Recording Extension" which is compatible to Firefox version 10 as well as to Firefox version 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 and 3.

January 9, 2012
New Minor Release V4.6-Z
The following two new product features are added to V4.6-Z (built at December 28, 2011):
  • The PrxJob utility allows now to import definitions of load generators (Exec Agents, and Exec Agent Clusters) from the command line, by reading the definitions from a data file.
    Further information is available in the revised Application Reference Manual, chapter 4.3.5.3 "importNetworkConfiguration".
  • A new Pure Cloud architecture has been realized that allows you to run Proxy Sniffer completely in the cloud, inclusive the GUI component (so named "GIU-cloud-computers"). Additionally, as a further option, you can also store your load tests and your test results permanently in the cloud. We recommend to use the GIU-cloud-computers in case if you start large scale load tests in the cloud with many of cloud-based load generators, or if your local workstation has a limited or unstable internet connection to the cloud-based load generators.
    Please take a look at the slides of our new Pure Cloud Architecture.

December 23, 2011
Version 2.5 of "Firefox Recording Extension" released - compatible to Firefox Version 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 and 3.
If you have upgraded your Firefox web browser to version 9 the add-on named "Firefox Recording Extension" is reported as incompatible. Resolution: first uninstall the add-on in the web browser. After restarting the browser enter
https://www.proxy-sniffer.com/download/PrxRecExt1.xpi into Firefox. This will install the latest version 2.5 of the "Firefox Recording Extension" which is compatible to Firefox version 9 as well as to Firefox version 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 and 3.

December 1, 2011
New Minor Release V4.6-Y
The new minor release V4.6-Y supports now the handling of encrypted URL paths. For this purpose, the Var Finder menu has been enhanced by an additional URL Path Filter menu which allows to post-process encrypted URL paths similar to the handling of "Dynamically-Exchanged Session Parameters".
General information about encrypted URL paths is available at https://techzone.ergon.ch/url-encryption (published by Ergon Informatik AG, Switzerland).
 
Encrypted URL Paths - Image 1 of 4: Calling the URL Path Filter menu:

Encrypted URL Paths - Image 2 of 4: Configuring the URL Path Filter menu and selecting an encrypted path. By clicking on the magnifier icon, the Search Overall menu is invoked:

Encrypted URL Paths - Image 3 of 4: By clicking on the variable extractor icon, the Var Extractor Wizard is invoked:

Encrypted URL Paths - Image 4 of 4: As last step, the value of the encrypted URL path can be extracted in a variable and automatically assigned to all succeeding URL calls.


November 11, 2011
Version 2.4 of "Firefox Recording Extension" released - compatible to Firefox Version 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 and 3.
If you have upgraded your Firefox web browser to version 8 the add-on named "Firefox Recording Extension" is reported as incompatible. Resolution: first uninstall the add-on in the web browser. After restarting the browser enter
https://www.proxy-sniffer.com/download/PrxRecExt1.xpi into Firefox. This will install the latest version 2.4 of the "Firefox Recording Extension" which is compatible to Firefox version 8 as well as to Firefox version 7, 6, 5, 4 and 3.

October 5, 2011
How to detect if a network problem affects the measured response times?
Network problems are in many cases quite easy to detect if you have a closer look at the response times. You will see some unusual spikes in the response times which randomly switch from low to high, and additionally, that many of the spikes have almost the same value. The following picture shows a real measured network problem. The most spikes are at 17,000 milliseconds and some few of them are at 40,000 milliseconds response time.

Note that an overloaded Web application never does switch form slow to fast response times (and back) under same load conditions. Therefore if you see such an image this is not a problem of the Web application software.


October 2, 2011
V4.6-S now also as Free Edition available
Download links for V4.6-S (Free Edition) are now available. The optionally rentable "standard" load generators in the Amazon cloud (standard Unix-like instances) for V4.6-S use now 2 GB of Java-memory per load test job and are launched as before with 4 ECUs (EC2 instance type: Large, m1.large).

If you are using an older version of the Free Edition, we recommend that you upgrade to the latest version 4.6-S.

September 28, 2011
The Rollout of the New Minor Release V4.6-S has started
Customers with a valid upgrade and support contract will receive the latest Proxy Sniffer Professional Edition V4.6-S within the next 3 weeks. Please use our contact form if you require this new release instantly.

V4.6-S Release Notes in Brief
  • Support for compressed HTTP(S) requests has been added. Note that receiving compressed HTTP(S) responses is already supported by Proxy Sniffer since a long time, but sending requests to the Web server in compressed format was until now not supported. Normally Web browsers never send HTTP(S) requests in compressed format. Therefore this new feature applies only when recording Web Sessions with technical Web clients such as "fat client programs" or "web service clients".
  • Support for importing external measuring data after running a load test has been added. For example the CPU usage of an application server can be added to the test result and is thereafter shown as an additional chart. The charts of the external measuring data are also shown in the PDF reports.
  • Support for large XML and SOAP requests has been added (greater than 16,384 bytes per request - new: unlimited size).
  • Stand-Alone variables can now be initialized with the current date and time in any arbitrary data format (inclusive a positive or negative offset of days - future or past), and can also be initialized with a (natural) random number generated within a specified range of values.
  • Customers which have rented or purchased an unlimited cloud license (Unlimited Exec Agent Short-Time License, Professional Edition only) can now start high-duty load generators in the Amazon cloud. For such high-duty load generators one of the following EC2 instance types can be selected in the Proxy Sniffer GUI when launching the instances (select AMI Manifest: ProxySniffer-46-S-unlimitedVU-win64-01):
    1. High-Memory Double Extra Large (m2.2xlarge): 13 ECUs
    2. High-Memory Quadruple Extra Large (m2.4xlarge): 26 ECUs
    The high-duty load generators are already tuned and use 4 GB of Java-memory per load test job. However, the Amazon costs for such load generators are a higher than for standard Unix-like instances (USD 1.24 or USD 2.48 per hour and per instance).

    In addition, the Proxy Sniffer GUI supports now to launch up to 50 Amazon load generators at the same time.

    Internal test against a Web portal have shown that already one "13 ECUs load generator" is capable to simulate 5,000 concurrent users over HTTPS when using a short "User's Think Time" of only 3 seconds per Web page. If you configure a longer "User's Think Time", greater than 3 seconds, even more concurrent users can be simulated from such an 13 ECUs instance.

September 28, 2011
Version 2.3 of "Firefox Recording Extension" released - compatible to Firefox Version 7, 6, 5, 4 and 3.
If you have upgraded your Firefox web browser to version 7 the add-on named "Firefox Recording Extension" is reported as incompatible. Resolution: first uninstall the add-on in the web browser. After restarting the browser enter
https://www.proxy-sniffer.com/download/PrxRecExt1.xpi into Firefox. This will install the latest version 2.3 of the "Firefox Recording Extension" which is compatible to Firefox version 7 as well as to Firefox version 6, 5, 4 and 3.

August 23, 2011
Job Opportunity in USA for Load and Performance Engineer
One of our customers in USA has an excellent new job opportunity for a Load and Performance Engineer: Further information

August 23, 2011
Version 2.2 of "Firefox Recording Extension" released - compatible to Firefox Version 6, 5, 4 and 3.
If you have upgraded your Firefox web browser to version 6 the add-on named "Firefox Recording Extension" is reported as incompatible. Resolution: first uninstall the add-on in the web browser. After restarting the browser enter
https://www.proxy-sniffer.com/download/PrxRecExt1.xpi into Firefox. This will install the latest version 2.2 of the "Firefox Recording Extension" which is compatible to Firefox version 6 as well as to Firefox version 5, 4 and 3.

Firefox Recording Extension Handbook 

August 12, 2011
New Minor Release V4.6-L
The new minor release V4.6-L contains some bug fixes related for using Proxy Sniffer on Max OS X 10.7 systems ("Lion").

August 9, 2011
Tune your Mac OS X System.
The default OS-settings for the maximum number of network connections per process is restricted to a value of 256 on almost all Mac OS X versions. You can verify this value by entering the command "ulimit -n" from a terminal. This value is too small to execute load tests from Mac OS X and it is also too small to monitor remotely executed cluster jobs. Therefore we strongly recommend that you tune your Mac OS X system and increase this value to 4096.

Instructions:
  1. Get first the system-wide configuration for the maximum number of network connections by entering
    "sysctl kern.maxfiles" from a terminal. Typically you will see a value of 12288.
  2. Edit or create the file /etc/launchd.conf by entering "sudo vi /etc/launchd.conf" from a terminal. On most Mac OS X systems this file does not yet exist.
  3. Add the following line to launchd.conf:

    limit maxfiles 4096 12288

    Note: instead of 12288 you should use the actual value of sysctl kern.maxfiles, and please do not configure "unlimited" for this value.
  4. Enter "exit" in your terminal and reboot your system.
  5. After rebooting, enter once again "ulimit -n" in a terminal. You should now see a value of 4096.
In addition you have to add a new Java security provider called "iaik.security.provider.IAIK".
  1. Locate the file named "java.security" on your computer by entering
    sudo find / -name "java.security" -print
    from a terminal. Typically this file is found in the following directory:

    /System/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/1.6.0.jdk/Contents/Home/lib/security
  2. Edit this file by entering the command
    sudo vi java.security
    and add the IAIK security provider at the last position. Example:
    #
    # MacOSX added com.apple.crypto.provider.Apple as #3
    security.provider.1=sun.security.pkcs11.SunPKCS11 ${java.home}/lib/security/sunpkcs11-macosx.cfg
    security.provider.2=sun.security.provider.Sun
    security.provider.3=com.apple.crypto.provider.Apple
    security.provider.4=sun.security.rsa.SunRsaSign
    security.provider.5=com.sun.net.ssl.internal.ssl.Provider
    security.provider.6=com.sun.crypto.provider.SunJCE
    security.provider.7=sun.security.jgss.SunProvider
    security.provider.8=com.sun.security.sasl.Provider
    security.provider.9=org.jcp.xml.dsig.internal.dom.XMLDSigRI
    security.provider.10=sun.security.smartcardio.SunPCSC
    security.provider.11=iaik.security.provider.IAIK

June 21, 2011
Version 2.1 of "Firefox Recording Extension" released - compatible to Firefox Version 5, 4 and 3.
If you have upgraded your Firefox web browser to version 5 the add-on named "Firefox Recording Extension" is reported as incompatible. Resolution: first uninstall the add-on in the web browser. After restarting the browser enter
https://www.proxy-sniffer.com/download/PrxRecExt1.xpi into Firefox. This will install the latest version 2.1 of the "Firefox Recording Extension" which is compatible to Firefox version 5 as well as to Firefox version 4 and 3.

Firefox Recording Extension Handbook 

June 7, 2011
New Major Release V4.6-C
Improved Support for Video Performance Measurements and Detection of Jerky Video Playback


Proxy Sniffer V4.6-C contains the following new features:
  1. A "maximum acceptable response time" can now be configured for each web page and for each URL and is thereafter shown in the detailed diagrams of the response times as additional information.
  2. The receiving and/or download of large URL response data (up to 2 GB for each URL) is now better supported and allows to execute large load test which may thousands of users even when a large amount of data is received per simulated user.
  3. A new feature has been added which supports in-depth measurement of HTTP(S) response-streams. This feature is especially useful for web sites that contain videos and allows to detect if jerky video playback occurs during viewing of a video, respectively to diagnose if enough network bandwidth is available for all users so that the video can be viewed by each user without interruption. Screenshots
  4. Self written Proxy Sniffer product extensions (so-called "plug-ins") can now create customized charts on cluster level. In addition, plug-ins can now define and release own types of error messages which are displayed in the "normal" charts and tables of the load test result details.
  5. A new pie chart is now available in the detailed test results, which segments the response times to media types (e.g. text/html, image/gif, etc.).

March 23, 2011
Version 2.0 of "Firefox Recording Extension" released - compatible to Firefox version 4.
If you have upgraded your Firefox web browser to version 4 the add-on named "Firefox Recording Extension" is reported as incompatible. Resolution: first uninstall the add-on in the web browser. After restarting the browser enter https://www.proxy-sniffer.com/download/PrxRecExt1.xpi into Firefox. This will install the latest version 2.0 of the "Firefox Recording Extension" which is compatible to Firefox version 4 as well as to Firefox version 3.

The documentation about the usage of the "Firefox Recording Extension" is available at http://www.proxy-sniffer.com/en/doc/FirefoxRecordingExtension1.pdf.

March 23, 2011
New Document: Handling of "Dynamically-Exchanged Session Parameters"
Some customers who have used Proxy Sniffer for the first time had trouble with the configuration of "dynamically-exchanged session parameters" (Var Finder menu and Var Extractor Wizard). This new document (PDF) explains now in detail how "dynamically-exchanged session parameters" can be configured in Proxy Sniffer in an easy way.

March 23, 2011
New Minor Release V4.5-F - Bug Fix for Processing of Raw Binary Data in HTTP(S) Requests
Several errors regarding (only) to the handling and processing of raw binary data of HTTP(S) request have been fixed in the following GUI menus: "Var Finder", "URL Details / Var Handler" and "Generate HTTP(S) Load Test Program". This bug, which is now solved, had in rare cases the effect that the Proxy Sniffer Web GUI did show a 500 internal server error when accessing some URLs of the recorded web surfing session..

January 24, 2011
New Document: Generating Load from the Cloud
A new document (PDF) about using of our pre-installed load generators located in the Amazon data centers is now available. The "Free Edition" as well as the "Professional Edition" allows you to instantly rent powerful load generators in the Amazon data centers for a competitive price.

Our license prices start at 6 USD per hour for simulating 100 web users from the Amazon cloud.

In addition, for a flat-rate fee of 999 USD per week, you can temporary upgrade your "Professional Edition" to generate a virtually unlimited load (simulation of up to 120,000 concurrent web users). For further information see EC2.

January 11, 2011
New Major Release V4.5-A - New and Innovative Product Functions
The major release V4.5-A contains new and innovative product functions and some of bugs related to XML and JSON data have been fixed.

  
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Engineering Office David Fischer AG, Switzerland
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