Cloud-based load testing service end of life
Update: October 3,2022
You can now use Azure Load Testing for load testing your applications. Azure Load Testing is a fully managed service to generate high-scale load and identify app performance bottlenecks.
When Visual Studio 2019 Preview 1 shipped in early December, we announced our plans to deprecate the load test functionality in Visual Studio. Visual Studio 2019 will be the last version of Visual Studio with web performance and load test features.
To give our customers plenty of notice, I also wanted to let everyone know that we plan on closing down the corresponding Azure DevOps cloud-based load testing service on March 31st, 2020.
Load testing helps you ensure that your apps can scale and do not go down when peak traffic hits. Although we have been shipping our load testing tools and our cloud-based load testing service for many years, unlike our other services their adoption has not been growing. While it is difficult for me to pinpoint one specific reason for this, there are a few contributing factors, including:
- Load testing is typically initiated for seasonal events such as tax filing season, Black Friday, Christmas, summer sales, etc. The classic example I always like to give is the NORAD Santa Tracker
- Load testing requires a certain level of expertise to ensure you have the confidence in the results. This ranges from understanding the application & deployment architecture, designing of load tests, authoring/executing of tests at scale and analyzing the results to identify performance and application bottlenecks.
- We’ve found that very few organizations rely on in-house expertise for this. Instead, most prefer to engage consultants to help them.
Also, frankly, I feel that our offering has fallen behind. When I look around at other offerings in this space (open source as well as commercial offerings that sometimes include consulting services) I honestly feel they are now better suited to meet the needs of our customers.
Please do not think that we are saying that load testing is not important. On the contrary – load testing, done well, remains relevant and will continue to be very important for some of our customers. But I think this need is now best addressed by making sure we have great partner provided or open source load testing options integrated into Azure DevOps.
Timeline for deprecation
Visual Studio and Test Controller/Test Agent for on-premises load testing: Visual Studio 2019 will be the last version of Visual Studio with the web performance and load test capability. Visual Studio 2019 is also the last release for Test Controller and Test Agent (installed via the ‘Agents for Visual Studio’ SKU) for setting up a load test rig on-premises on in a virtual machine.
While no new features will be added, load test in VS 2019 will continue to be supported for any issues that may arise during the support lifecycle of the product. As outlined in the product lifecycle and servicing documentation, you can continue to use the on-premises offering and will be fully supported for the next 5 years and an additional 5 years of extended support is also available should you need it. Different Visual Studio versions can be installed side-by-side on the same machine. This means that you can continue to use Visual Studio 2019 to maintain your on-premises load tests, while using a newer Visual Studio version when it becomes available in the future for other development needs.
Visual Studio web performance tests (.webtest files) are tied to the load test functionality and is also deprecated. While it was never designed for it specifically, I know of a few customers who have used .webtest’s for other purposes such as for running API tests. I would encourage them to take a look at some of the other API testing alternatives that are available in the market that would better serve their needs. SOAP UI is a free, open source alternative to consider and is also available as a commercial option with additional capabilities.
Shutting down the cloud-based load testing service: Our cloud-based load testing service will continue to run through March 31st, 2020. You can continue to use all the experiences powered by this service without interruption until then. After the service goes offline, you can continue to use the tests as outlined below while you evaluate alternatives.
- Running a load test in the cloud using Visual Studio (both auto-provisioned agents and self-provisioned ‘bring-your-own’ agents): You can continue to run the tests but self-hosted with Test Controller/Test Agent option outlined above.
- Using the web-based experience for load testing in Azure DevOps (URL-based, HTTP Archive, and Visual Studio webtest): You can export these tests to Visual Studio load test and continue to run them self-hosted with the Test Controller/Test Agent option.
- Using Apache JMeter tests in Azure DevOps : You can continue to run the tests with a self-hosted JMeter setup of your own or using any 3rd party commercial services that support it.
The cloud-based load testing service is also used in the following places, which will no longer be available after March 31st, 2020.
- Running load tests in Azure Pipelines using the load testing tasks (Cloud-based load test task, Apache JMeter task and the cloud-based web performance test task: These tasks will stop working after March 31st, 2020 and will be removed.
- Cloud-based load tests in CI/CD pipelines will run until March 31st, 2020. After that you need to self-host them and run using the Test Controller/Test Agent setup invoking the tests through the mstest.exe command-line.
- Running performance tests using the Azure portal (performance test option in App Services and Application Insights blades): These options will no longer be available after March 31st, 2020.
Load testing Alternatives
There are many alternatives, both free and commercial tools that you can consider. For instance, Apache JMeter is a free, popular open source tool with a strong community backing. It supports many different protocols and has rich extensibility that can be leveraged to customize the tool to your needs. Many commercial services such as Blazemeter support running Apache JMeter tests.
If you use code based tests for load testing and .NET is your platform of choice then tools such as Neoload, Micro Focus Silk Performer and Micro Focus Load Runner are options to consider.
In addition, extensions from several load test vendors such as SOASTA (now Akamai CloudTest), Apica Loadtest and Load Impact are available in the Azure DevOps and Azure marketplace.
Deprecating features is always hard and therefore not something we ever do lightly. We recognize that this announcement will be disruptive for the people that are using the service today and we will be working with affected customers to ensure they are aware of the changes. Premier support for Enterprise can be engaged for help with migrating tests to alternatives – they can be reached via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any further questions or concerns then please send us an email at email@example.com or contact me directly.
I’m sad to hear that, I loved this service and one of the reasons the “Load Test as a Service” is so attractive is the fact that Load testing is typically initiated for seasonal events, so we don’t need to mantain a large infrastructure. Would be nice to have a JMeter as a Service in Azure (I guess this is what Blazemeter offers).
Quite disappointed on this depreciation news, We are using this across many clients and started gaining traction on Dev side. Hopefully the alternatives are easy and cheaper to use. If there is an option to keep this open I would vote for that & can get many Architects/devs attest to this feature.
This seems premature to me. I’ve been doing perf testing for 6 years now and all I ever needed to use was visual studio perf testing tools. There is only one instance that I couldn’t use it, it was for a VDI testing project that required more like a UI Testing approach but I don’t count it as it was not a pure load testing project.
I would suggest open source the entire tool as a VSIX package and let us the community support it. Anywhere we can create this idea and let the community vote on it? Regarding the Azure Load tests, I’ve never personally used them but if I needed there is always the possibility of using VMs with the agents installed.
It’s sad to see such a valuable tool just fade away when it has met my every need.
I started a rant here….
This is a real shame. As suggested maybe open source the project to the community.
I totally agree with you
I’m also sad to see this go. The easy way of working with load tests have been great. I think it is natural that this is not the first thing for new teams to adapt. I also belive that the test manager license have been holding this product back. It would be awesome to have it intigrated as a service and pay per consumption in your Azure Subscription.
I just created a user voice suggestion. Vote and let’s see what happens.
Good idea.. Thanks for doing this.. Lets see what happens…
Looks like the issue is closed now. Any updates on your side, or is the initiative dead?
This is really sad news for us. Our company have been investing more and more into this tool, and it is a large reason why most of our devs have enterprise licenses. Our top customer issue for the last couple of years has been performance, and the VS performance testing tools have probably gained us millions of dollars of revenue, and saved us million of lost revenue.
It seems that a proper investigation into why the tool is not gaining more traction was not done. In my opinion, the tool has poor UX and has not had features added to it since 2012. Both of these could and should have been addressed. The price point of requiring enterprise is likely also a stumbling block to many, especially considering the fact that UX issues were never addressed. The alternative is to run the load tests in Azure, which can be very expensive very quickly. While there are alternative tools, they don’t do everything better than the VS performance testing tools do. Monitoring alone is one reason to stick with the tool. At least we will have no further need to pay for an enterprise license going forward…
As per ‘Luis’s’ suggestion, can you Vote and add you views here regarding Open Sourcing this:
My company has years of investment in using the Load Test tool on multiple projects. I can see the need to drop Coded UI and even Web Performance Test. There are great open source alternatives (Selenium and JMeter). However, there really are no comparable tools that I can find to replace the Load Test feature. Here is our typical use case:
We have created test frameworks in C# that assist with interacting with our applications. These frameworks may be for interacting with Web APIs, .Net APIs, SQL stored procedures or our internal client SDKs. These frameworks provide a way to create functional test automation. Additionally, we reuse these frameworks to create load test scenarios in Visual Studio. These scenarios are test methods (MSTest) that simulate user actions on our server components. The Visual Studio Load Test feature can then be used to run these test methods with multiple users with a variety of frequency options. Not only do we get the benefit of reusing already written frameworks, but our load tests are written in C#, a language that any developer on the team can use in an IDE that all of us already have.
As per ‘Luis’s’ suggestion, can you Vote and add you views here regarding Open Sourcing this:
I am truely annoyed by this…. I can sort of understand dropping codedUI as Seleninum/Webdriver has taken over the UI space massively but Microsoft’s Web & LoadTesting offers something unique.
I find it to be a great tool but has not had the market penetration probably due to the fact it requires a VS Ultimate licence… Maybe if it was de-coupled into a separate stand alone tool (targeted at Perf Engineers) then I truly believe MS could of taken over this space. It ability to be very simple on the one hand but extendable via .net on the other is great.
I have invested a lot of time into VS Web/Loadtesting over the last 9 years… I hope Microsoft reconsider or at least open source this Load/Web testing…
As per As per ‘Luis’s’ suggestion, i have voted and added to https://developercommunity.visualstudio.com/idea/490150/open-source-performance-testing-tools-and-allow-co.html
The main reason of low adoption is pretty simple, it’s marketing. I wasn’t aware of load test functionality in Visual Studio (could be my own ignorance) nor in Azure Devops, until the announcement to deprecate them was made.