Financial Services Companies increase stress test capabilities using advanced test technologies from Ascert
As alternative methods of consumer purchase continue to be created and transaction volumes increase, the need for financial institutions to verify system capacity quickly and accurately is critical. So called “stress testing” is aimed at ensuring transactional workloads at volumes that are in line with, and above, predicted peak production levels. VersaTest is uniquely capable and scalable to meet this challenge – helping with optimizing, tuning, and finding error conditions at real-life operational transaction rates.
“It is important to our customers that our ability to simulate transaction loads and traffic keep pace with their business growth”, said Paul Adams, Product Architect at Ascert. “Working closely with our partners during stress testing exercises, we are able to push their software & hardware configurations to their absolute limits.”
Ascert recently completed a stress test project of an HPE NonStop system belonging to a top-10 world-ranked financial institution. Using standard off-the-shelf software deployed on a flexible array of virtual servers, VersaTest was used to simulate the company’s point-of-sale terminals, back-end authorizing hosts and related card-issuer networks. The project achieved transaction per second levels more than double the previous exercise conducted for the same client, and 10 times the levels they were achieving in the run up to Y2K.
VersaTest’s ability to rapidly scale and balance across virtual nodes means there is no real upper limit to the TPS rates possible. Stress testing of full end-to-end payment transactions at rates of tens of thousands of TPS are now possible for any organization with a large and diverse enough consumer-base to demand such large-scale usage.
Ascert provides certification and stress testing services both on-premise and via the company’s popular cloud based test system called Ascertified (www.Ascertified.com). A growing number of companies have created a hybrid of both cloud and self-hosted options, increasing flexibility for both internal users and external partners.
To find out more about Ascert products and standard test interfaces visit the Ascert website or contact a local Ascert office.
Ascert is recognized as a leading provider of premier testing software solutions. Ascert was founded in 1992 to provide automated software testing solutions that help companies measure the performance, reliability and scalability of their mission-critical back-end servers and applications. With over 100 clients worldwide, Ascert's products and services are used at some of the world's most successful companies.
Off-the-shelf simulators for Ascert’s VersaTest product include solutions for EFT testing, POS testing, stress testing, ATM testing, Fraud testing, IFX testing, EMV/chip card testing, ISO8583 testing and 3270 & 6530 terminal testing. Ascert’s custom simulators have been used for testing air traffic control systems and biometric payment systems. Ascert delivers flexible solutions that are either customer site installed or accessed via Ascert’s Remote Testing Services. Ascert's products assist testing professionals across industry segments to better manage their testing processes and environments through an end-to-end tool set.
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The latest update to Ascert’s VTERM product adds significant automation to the process of testing green screen 6530 & 3270 applications
Because of the proprietary nature of many legacy systems, converting to a new architecture is neither easy nor cheap. Often, because of the prohibitive cost to replace legacy systems, many companies choose to retain the legacy investment but modernize the underlying infrastructure. Typically this will involve activities such as re-hosting and consolidating onto shared server infrastructures and streamlining processes to realize time and cost savings.
But changes such as these need testing, and testing 6530 & 3270 terminal based applications is a notoriously manual task. Which is where tools such as the VersaTest VTERM driver come into play. It makes perfect sense in both financial and practical terms to modernize and automate a legacy testing model at the same time as the applications legacy hosting and operational processes are being updated. VTERM’s capabilities go beyond mere automation of the execution of tests though. Ascert has created a unique approach for capturing manual test interactions and automatically creating a test script that be reused whenever needed. This results in a significant reduction in redundant activities that occur both in human and system resources during the test process.
“Our latest version of VTERM adds significantly more automation features and a deeper integration with the VersaTest Automator product,” says Rob Walker, Managing Partner at Ascert. Some companies we talk to estimate that more than 50% of their resources are used to maintain their legacy systems. Testing is a big part of that and VTERM capitalizes on our proprietary testing technology to easily create automation where once there was unnecessary use of labor.” Walker also noted “Support for green screen testing has been a part of our solution set for practically the whole of the 25 years Ascert has been in business. It’s great to see that legacy being continued and extended with this new version. Integrating VTERM as a first-class peer within the VersaTest Automator ecosystem allows us to offer much greater levels of automation and integration with our other drivers, plus enables access to third party tools such as Quality Center through our plugins. The migration of our underlying terminal handling code to Java brings us other benefits too – not least the ability to use commodity sever hardware to build much more powerful stress test rigs”. Finally, Walker concluded “It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of new technologies, but sometimes figuring out how to do your existing things better can deliver just as much reward. Legacy systems may be old, but that doesn’t mean there’s no need or value in improving how we work with them.”
The VTERM green screen 6530 & 3270 driver is an add-on module to VersaTest Automator, providing yet another solution to the problem of expensive, time consuming and error-prone testing practices. This helps to solve many of the problems associated with shorter release cycles, allowing the testing phase to happen rapidly. Ascert provides the flexibility of VTERM with either inhouse server or cloud based implementation options.
Building on its robust library of interface simulations, Ascert makes available a cloud-based version of its UK Link LIS5 simulator.
LIS5 is the standard followed by the national UK Switch, maintained by Vocalink, for transactions originating at ATMs. Ascert has supported the LIS5 standard with a pre-packaged VersaTest driver and scripts built on Ascert's Driver Framework Standard (DFS) since its release, and it is a standard component of the larger Ascert VersaTest Automator solution.
By following the VersaTest Automator model, the LIS5 Driver provides very fine-grained test definition, and a high level of test automation and validation. The exact format and contents of messages to be exchanged and verified can be defined and modified entirely through data and configuration files. The LIS5 Driver allows banks to have confidence that their applications will conform to message protocol specifications and provides an environment in which revised versions of their applications can be regression tested to ensure that any changes have not adversely impacted the interoperability of the application.
In a new option for its customers the LIS5 Driver is now available to be accessed by banks for pre-certification and functional testing via Ascertified, Ascert’s cloud-based testing platform. The Ascertified Portal provides a flexible cloud-based testing solution for QA, development, and certification testing. Based on VersaTest technology, this service offers affordable cost of user-ship and rapid start-up for new testing environments.
Mike Wainwright, Ascert’s Business Development Director in EMEA said, “The addition of support for the LIS5 standard within the Ascertified platform is a further demonstration of the flexibility of VersaTest, and our commitment to expand the breadth of our cloud-based solutions, and ‘testing as a service’. The Ascertified based LIS5 Driver and its associated test packs for both issuer and acquirer transactions are already in use and proving very successful. We will continue to add new driver support within Ascertified as our customers demand these.”
Ascert expands new cloud based API testing services for financial transactions
Mobile commerce continues to expand rapidly into a variety of arenas; both cloud based as well as new hardware areas. With over 1.3 billion debit and credit card accounts globally, opportunities for new payment mechanisms are unlimited.
In this fast growth environment, the ability to quickly test new API’s and onboard payment partners is a serious challenge. Accelerating time-to-market for new applications and services is a priority and having the right test and certification strategies can be a major advantage. To meet this growing need, Ascert has expanded test capabilities via its Ascertified Portal, which provides a flexible cloud based testing environment for QA, development, and certification testing.
“The last thing you need is an API failure or data breach to bring your project to a halt, and your company to its knees,” says Paul Springston, Ascert’s Director of Professional Services. “With Ascert's Ascertified testing technology, you can put your APIs through all the paces by checking the security of your REST and SOAP transactions, without incurring risk of failure and costly delays.”
Based on our popular VersaTest technology, Ascertified is a subscription fee service that offers affordability and rapid start-up for new testing environments. API testing, EMV test certification, automatic error identification, and a fully functional testing sandbox, are just a few of the services available through Ascertified.
Ascert's VersaTest family of testing and certification products can assist any organization looking to add increased value to their operations. To find out more about Ascert products and standard test interfaces visit the Ascert web site or contact a local Ascert office.
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