About Discount Tire
Founded in 1960, Discount Tire has grown to become the world’s largest independent tire and wheel retailer. With more than 1,100 stores across the US and a responsive e-commerce store, the company strives to offer outstanding customer service, extensive product choice and low prices.
Focusing on Service Excellence
As part of its commitment to service excellence, Discount Tire is continually investing in the online and in-store experience. Aditya Kattamuri, Assistant Manager, ITSM Test & Quality Assurance at Discount Tire, elaborates: “Around ten years ago, we embarked on a big project to consolidate the systems that support our in-store point-of-sales (POS) systems. The POS is a crucial customer touchpoint, so it was vital to test the new IT infrastructure thoroughly before we went live.”
To help ensure the smooth rollout of its new POS environment, Discount Tire selected Micro Focus LoadRunner Enterprise to test its Windows Sockets (Winsock) APIs.
Building a Resilient e-Commerce Channel
Traffic volumes during peak events have been increasing rapidly at Discount Tire. During a Black Friday event a few years ago, performance issues were observed after a sudden surge of visitors.
Deexith Thota, Senior Performance Engineer at Discount Tire, explains: “We immediately mobilized our teams to identify the bottleneck and made sure the performance issues were resolved. Afterwards, we wanted to learn the right lessons and make sure that situation never happens again. We leveraged our LoadRunner Enterprise solution to help solve the challenge.”
Discount Tire uses the VuGen component of LoadRunner Enterprise to create performance test scripts, and schedules them to run automatically from Jenkins. By integrating the solution with monitoring and data visualization solutions including JMeter, Gatling, Dynatrace and Grafana, the company can extract fine-grained insights to rapidly identify and debug issues at the code level.
“As part of a wider Shift Left initiative, we defined a formal process to help prepare for the demands of the Black Holiday period,” says Thota. “Around August each year, we use LoadRunner Enterprise to test all customer facing applications and interfaces with three times the number of users we measured during the previous Black Friday period.”
Discount Tire has performed several proof-of-concept exercises around integrating LoadRunner Enterprise tests more closely with its CI/CD pipelines and processes, so that developers can gain faster feedback on the quality of their code. This ongoing project to shift performance testing earlier in the development cycle should save time and effort by avoiding the need for developers to wait to test and subsequently rework their code.
“In general terms, we want to test proactively rather than reactively,” says Thota. “The goal is to give developers more immediate information so that we can shorten the delivery cycle.”
Empowering Customers to Shop 24/7
By stress-testing its core systems well in advance of the Black Friday period, Discount Tire can ensure that customers are able to shop its online deals at any time, all year round.