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Visual Studio 2010 Feature Packs Frequently Asked Questions

Feature Packs enable you to extend Visual Studio 2010 with capabilities that enhance and complement the existing tools.  Frequently asked questions (FAQ) related to the following Feature Packs follows:

  • Visual Studio Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010: Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate allows you to stress test your application with 250 virtual users on a local load test run. If your load testing requires more virtual users, or if you want to use remote machines, you must purchase Visual Studio Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010. 
  • Visual Studio 2010 Load Test Feature Pack: MSDN subscribers with Visual Studio Ultimate are provided a license key to generate UNLIMITED virtual users without having to purchase the Visual Studio Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010.

Visual Studio 2010 Load Test Feature Pack FAQ

Visual Studio Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010 FAQ


 

Visual Studio 2010 Load Test Feature Pack FAQ

For active Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate customers with an MSDN Subscription.

What is Visual Studio 2010 Load Test Feature Pack, and who does it benefit?

The Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Load Test Feature Pack is an exclusive benefit for Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN subscribers.

Today, out of the box, Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate allows you to stress test your application with 250 virtual users on a local load test run. If your load testing requires more virtual users, or if you want to use remote machines, you must purchase Visual Studio Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010 (each pack of 1000 virtual users retails for $4,499).

With the Visual Studio 2010 Load Test Feature Pack, active Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN subscribers are provided a license key to generate UNLIMITED virtual users without having to purchase the Visual Studio Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010.

What is a Visual Studio Feature Pack?

Microsoft Visual Studio Feature Packs let you extend Visual Studio with capabilities that enhance and complement the existing tools. Feature Packs are an established vehicle for Microsoft to deliver on-going product or tooling value to Visual Studio with MSDN subscribers.

Visual Studio 2010 Feature Packs are released periodically and made available in select Visual Studio with MSDN subscriptions. Each Feature Pack contains specific features or capabilities targeted for use with one or more Visual Studio products. For more information on Visual Studio 2010 Feature Packs, please visit the MSDN Visual Studio 2010 Feature Packs Web page.

Who is eligible for Visual Studio 2010 Load Test Feature Pack?

All active Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN subscribers are eligible for the feature pack beginning on March 8, 2011.

Where can customers get the Visual Studio 2010 Load Test Feature Pack?

Customers can download the “Visual Studio 2010 Load Test Feature Pack Deployment Guide” from MSDN Subscriber Downloads to immediately begin using unlimited load testing. In this Deployment Guide, customers will have step-by-step instructions for obtaining the Product Key as well as using the key to unlock the unlimited load testing capability.

Why is Microsoft introducing unlimited virtual users for load testing?

We know that ensuring your mission-critical applications perform continuously at peak levels at all times is central to your organization’s success. Yet load and performance testing almost always happen too late in the application lifecycle. And we all know from empirical evidence that fixing defects and detecting architectural and design issues later in the application lifecycle costs many times more than if done earlier.

Microsoft believes that stress and performance testing should be done early and throughout the application lifecycle, especially more so as you adopt Agile software development practices. This is why we’ve build load and performance testing capabilities into the Visual Studio IDE itself. Load testing tools can help you find where the application bends or breaks--even during development.

Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate already helps you achieve load testing early and throughout the application lifecycle with 250 virtual users out of the box, but with the new Visual Studio Load Test Feature Pack, you can simulate as many virtual users as you need without having to purchase additional Visual Studio Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010 licenses.

Does this new benefit change how I work with virtual users through Visual Studio Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010 and the Test Controller?

No. Visual Studio 2010 Load Test Feature Pack does not change how load testing is done through Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate. This Feature Pack simply provides the necessary product key and use rights that enable you to generate unlimited virtual users. You still manage the Test Controller through the Microsoft Visual Studio Test Controller 2010 Configuration Tool.

For more information on Visual Studio Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010, please read the full Visual Studio Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010 FAQ in the next section.

What if I don't have an active Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN subscription? Can I still load test my applications and acquire additional virtual users through Visual Studio Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010?

If you purchased Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate without an MSDN subscription or if your Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN subscription has expired, we strongly encourage you to acquire Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN. Feature Packs are one way to ensure ongoing product value as well as product updates which is tied to applicable MSDN subscriptions. If you purchased Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate without an MSDN subscription, you still have the ability to purchase Visual Studio Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010 through your reseller until the next version of Visual Studio.

I have purchased Visual Studio Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010 but now get load testing as part of the Visual Studio Load Test Feature Pack. What can I do?

If you purchased Visual Studio Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010 in the past 30 days, please initiate a return directly with your software reseller. Microsoft policy is to allow full refunds within 30 days.

I have Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate, but I have not used it to load test my applications. Where can I start to learn more?

To learn about performance and stress testing as a best practice, please visit Software Quality Best Practices – Performance and Stress Testing for whitepapers, videos and more.

You may find additional resources are online:

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Visual Studio Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010 FAQ

For Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate customers without an active MSDN subscription.

What is Visual Studio Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010?

Microsoft Visual Studio Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010 enables teams to simulate real-world load scenarios, ensuring your web applications are ready for release.

It is a scalable and low cost solution that provides insights into diagnosing performance issues and helps you perform scenario based load testing early and often throughout the application lifecycle.


What do I get when I buy the Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010?

Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010 enables you to simulate up to 1000 users giving you the ability to drive load against a target application under test regardless of how many agent machines you are using.

A license of Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010 provides you the ability to simulate 1,000 users, it also requires Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate for creating, recording, executing and analyzing the performance tests.


Is Test Load Agent still available and required?

No. Visual Studio Team System 2008 Test Load Agent is no longer required to run performance tests simulating thousands of users. Visual Studio Agents 2010 provides the necessary controller and agents to use in conjunction with one or more Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010. Visual Studio Agents 2010 is additional software included with Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate.

Visual Studio Agents 2010 includes the Test Controller and Test Agents, the same software that was included with Visual Studio Team Test Load Agent 2008. Once enabled you simply install one or more licenses of Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010 on the same machine as the Test Controller to unlock load generation from the Test Agents.


I already had one or more Visual Studio Team System 2008 Test Load Agent licenses with Software Assurance. What happens when the Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010 is released??

Previously Test Load Agent was available on a per CPU licensing model. For each Test Load Agent license that you own that is under active Software Assurance as of the availability of Visual Studio Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010 in Volume Licensing, you will be granted rights to 5 licenses of Visual Studio Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010. This is enables simulation of up to 5,000 users.


Why are we moving to a new license model?

Enables Better Planning and Comparison

Previously Test Load Agent was available on a per-CPU licensing model. It was often difficult to determine how much load could be generated with one CPU of load given the number of variables involved in a performance test from hardware configuration to load test think times. The virtual user license model enables you to do better planning for your purchasing. It also enables you to compare pricing directly with competitive products.

Enables More Flexibility with Load Generators

The virtual user license offers flexibility with the machines you use as load generators.

With Visual Studio 2008, to get the full value of the per-CPU license, you had to run on fast CPUs, often requiring new hardware purchases. Also the license was locked to a particular machine, restricting which machines you could use as load generators. With Visual Studio 2010, you can now run virtual users on older hardware with no “penalty”, since you can line up as many older machines as you wish to generate the target number of virtual users. Also, the virtual user license is now tied to the controller, not the agent machine, so you are allowed to move agent machines in and out of the agent pool.

For some tests, you may run out of some other resources before running out of CPU. The most common case for this in Visual Studio 2008 was load agents running out of memory before CPU (especially for web tests with very large post bodies or very large responses), which prevented customers from realizing the full value of their load agent license. With the virtual user license, if this happens you can simply add more machines to the agent pool to achieve the load you are targeting.

Enables Additional Scenarios For Test Agents

Visual Studio 2010 now offers a complete set of functionality for manual and automated UI testing. Test Agents can now also be used as a data collector agent during manual testing and for distributed, scale out execution of functional and unit tests.


Can I generate load without purchasing a Virtual User Pack?

Yes, when you purchase Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate you will be able to generate up to 250 virtual users. These users are run in a local process, not an agent, and are limited to using one core of the CPU. This is very similar to Visual Studio 2008, which limited load to one core on local runs.


Can I use the 250 users I get with Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate on a Test Controller and Test Agents?

No, the 250 users available in Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate cannot be applied to a Test Controller. If you need more users, or need to run on aTest Agent, you need to purchase one or more licenses of Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010.


What is the smallest Virtual User Pack I can buy in 2010?

The smallest and the only pack size for Load Test Virtual User Pack is 1,000 virtual users. Customer needing higher load capability should buy additional packs according to their needs.


Is the Load Test Virtual User Pack license additive? If I buy 2 Load Test Virtual User Pack licenses will I be able to generate 2,000 virtual users?

Yes. Virtual User packs are additive. You can buy additional Virtual User Packs and add extra load capacity to your load testing projects.


Where is the license-key entered and how is the load generation controlled?

The Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010 license key is entered in the Test Controller administrator user interface. The controller will inform the users if the load being generated exceeds the licensed count. For additional information, please visit http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=182949


Can I split the virtual users from a Load Test Virtual User Pack between two different controllers?

No. The Virtual User Pack is locked to a controller machine and cannot be used across different controller machines.


Can I move the Load Test Virtual User Pack from one Test Controller to another?

Yes. Licenses are tied to a particular Test Controller machine for 90-days (standard Microsoft server license). So once you install a Load Test Virtual User Pack license on a Test Controller, it is bound to that Test Controller for 90-days (unless the machine becomes unusable).


Can I have multiple applications driving load via the same Test Controller in parallel?

Yes, by default a load test runs on all agents, but agents can be partitioned per load test using Test Agent properties, and more than one test can be run at the same time on the same Test Controller.


What are my downgrade rights for Visual Studio Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010?

For every 5 licenses of Visual Studio Load Test Virtual User Pack 2010 acquired through Microsoft Volume Licensing, you may instead use one processor license for Visual Studio Team System 2008 Test Load Agent. Retail purchases do not have this downgrade right. Your right to use Visual Studio Team System 2008 Test Load Agent software under this grant is also subject to the terms and conditions of its Volume Licensing Agreement and the product use rights for Visual Studio Team System 2008 Test Load Agent.

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