VMware Player and Testing Tip

When I’m asked to baseline or troubleshoot an application, the topic of how the application will behave at remote sites comes up.

Some people make the mistake of testing an application in the lab and then expecting the same performance in the field or remote sites. The problem with that approach is that the real world has variables you can’t account for in the lab. For example, there is packet loss and different bandwidth for remote sites.

If I receive advanced notice, I will bring my WAN emulator along for this reason. But in the following case, the client sprung this on me while troubleshooting and baselining. Luckily, they were using the VMware workstation so we could use the VMware Player.

I showed them how in the ‘Network Adapter Settings’, they can modify the bandwidth and packet loss parameters to emulate the network conditions that they expect.

A little advice; if you expect a remote office to have 100 Mbps, put 20% less in the bandwidth settings to account for load and anything else that may be going on. Same applies to packet loss; add 2% to whatever you expect.

In the following example, I will use iPerf3 to test the VMware adapter advanced settings and explain my methodology along the way.

The key to successful testing is having a consistent methodology and utilizing the same tool. For example, don’t go from iPerf, to iPerf3, to ftp to http. Every application, server, and protocol can behave differently. Happy troubleshooting!