Recently I installed HP Performance Center internally onto my companies infrastructure (Version 9.52). In this post I would like to share my experiences and give you some tips on how to avoid the installation problems I encountered.
HP Performance Center is a comprehensive enterprise-grade software solution for executing, monitoring and reporting load tests. The logical structure of the product has can be found here: the Loadrunner architectural overview, Performance Center has several services of which I installed the software services onto 3 different physical servers with the following roles:
- User Site and Admin site
- Database server and File Server
- Utility Server
Additionally we required further Load Generators (in Loadrunner’s terminology: hosts). For simplicity I installed the Controller, Load Generator and Data Processor onto the same box.
If this looks like a lot of installation work I can assure you, it really is.
Performance Center updates (patches) are packaged as incremental installations, this means no cumulative installation is possible. So if you want to install Performance Center v 9.52, first 9.5 has to be installed and configured on all nodes. On the top of that you install 9.51 on all nodes and the database to be migrated. Then the same again with 9.52. I found it useful to install on all the servers simultaneously and team up with a colleague. A whiteboard to register the installation status enabled easy tracking and avoided costly mistakes.
I strongly recommend studying and obeying the installation guide (it is ~250 pages though). Pay special attention to HW and SW specific requirement so you can avoid difficulty later.
Here is an example: I created the HW description for the IT support-team based on the installation guide, prescribing 32 bit Windows 2003 Server. During my vacation a fellow colleague had changed to a 64 bit version of the OS („it will do, and is much better!”). This little change costed lots of wasted days and troubleshooting. It turned out that ASP.NET for 64 bit Windows 2003 is unreliable and therefore not supported for Loadrunner. We had to re-install all servers with 32 bit OS.
Related to ASP.NET I would advise to try it before proceeding with the Performance Center installation. Creating a dummy ’website’ with a simple aspx page was sufficient to diagnose most of the problems. You will find that certain permissions in the filesystem are missing (e.g. windows\temp and windows\microsoft.net\asp.net temporary directory does not have appropriate access rights for IUSR_METRO and Network Service users. Grant write access to them manually on trails online poker strip all machines, … or simply add full control on these directories for Everyone)
It is likely you will encounter difficulty with ASP.NET. Here is an example: the Loadrunner installation will install the necessary prerequisites of the product. This includes installation of different Microsoft products and APIs. Unfortunately we noticed that the WSE2.0 SP3 and WSE3 prerequisites were not installed on the admin site, however this should have been done automatically. This caused parts of the admin UI to fail. Also, the database configuration and deployment was performed successfully by the admin site GUI, however login was not possible afterwards.
Database: you need to create a database instance yourself – this is not mentioned in the manual. When the Performance Center Admin UI is first started, it attempts to create the database schema and to populate the necessary default configuration data. You may realize, that even though Performance Center is able to connect to the database instance, it fails to set up the database schema. Error handling is weak, so error message won’t necessary help you. (you can track down such errors by manually executing the SQL script, look for it in the installed Admin site directories). In my case the database deployment script failed to create the db user ’OrchidUser’, because the provided (hardcoded) password did not meet the password policy’s requirement. For Microsoft SQL server there is no SQL-Server-specific password policy, but it uses the Windows domain’s policy. It is not usual for you to be in the position to change that in your organization. Luckily if you create this user by hand, you can bypass enforcing password policy and use the required plain ’orchid’ password.
Once your installation is ready and operational, the Performance Center administration is relatively seamless. You should apply your license, add your load generator hosts, create the user accounts for your team and create the project with the appropriate resource limitations (number of virtual users, number of load generators, number of paralell tests).
The installation time of Performance Center (if hardware, network, operating system is already set up and configured) spans at least one day. If there are issues it can last much much longer (weeks…). I hope that my tips and lessons learned will help someone else out there – and reduce the time spent on troubleshooting.
Please email if you have any other tips and pointers for avoiding installation problems with HP Performance Center so I can include within my post and help others