With so much at stake, the right Citrix test tools are essential to ensure project success and many organisations can cut corners at this stage, which can have serious consequences later when systems have been deployed.
Automated test tools don't come cheap but they can help in reducing risk by trying to discover issues before they become problems and potentially 'show stoppers' later in a 'live' environment. When the cost of rectification can become hideously expensive.
Automated tools can create the 'boxer principle' as I coin it, where if deciding on how good a boxer really is, a few punches here and there isn't going to determine if they're any good. However if you increase the ferocity and frequency of punches, you create a better opportunity in seeing if the boxer can cope against a sustained barrage of punching.
This is exactly what automated test tools can do, they can simulate conditions of sustained load onto the Citrix environment which can replicate weeks and months of activity in a few days. A few punches here and there may not test the boxer and likewise running a pilot or acceptance test isn't going to put the Citrix environment through it's paces either.
There are quite a few tools available to test Citrix environments and whilst it maybe a worthwhile exercise to discuss the merits aswell as the pains of using these tools, some have very restrictive licensing agreements which prohibit me from doing so. Therefore it wouldn't be fair to discuss test tools without being able to mention my preferred test tool.
Instead I'm devising a checklist which may help in determining which tool to use. As I've worked with many of the available tools, I've learned what the best features are and what features needs to be avoided. Before embarking on the checklist, there's one tool I can discuss and will discuss, the Citrix Server Test Kit.
Citrix Server Test Kit or CSTK, is a tool developed by a couple of Citrix engineers in the guise of a test tool. I don't class this as not only a serious test tool but a test tool at all.
What amazes me more, some still advocate this as a serious testing tool. What I fail to comprehend is that when you've spent thousands on enterprise software such as Microsoft's Windows 2003, Citrix PS4.0 Enterprise edition, along with enterprise monitoring, reporting and even software deployment systems. Why would you then want to use a tool knocked together by a few engineers (not testers) to prove the validity of your hard work?
The CSTK in my opinion falls far short of being classed as an acceptable test tool, it's too intrusive and can be unstable at high loads. As most of the tests run on the Citrix server under test, the results aren't accurate, as you're putting additional load on the servers which taint the results produced.
I've developed a guide which contains a checklist of what to look for in test tools for Citrix environments. I created this guide to make it easier to make informed decisions on testing tools for Citrix. Check out 'Test Tool Guide' button on my navigation bar to find out more.
When it comes to test environments, the importance of having dedicated environments for various phases involved in testing Citrix. As for Citrix User Acceptance testing, it's great for PR but not a replacement for other forms of testing.