Deliver seamless e-commerce experiences during the peak Black Friday period, helping to maximize sales.
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.
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.
Aditya Kattamuri – ASSISTANT MANAGER, ITSM TEST & QUALITY ASSURANCE
Continues Kattamuri, “We continued to use the Micro Focus solution to load test our POS systems. When the time came to deploy SAP ERP a few years later, LoadRunner Enterprise supported the relevant protocols straight out of the box, allowing us to focus on project delivery.”
Fast forward to the present, and the digital channel is more important than ever for Discount Tire.
“We see very high traffic during the Thanksgiving shopping season, which makes a big contribution to overall revenue,” says Kattamuri. “To maximize sales, it’s very important that our e-commerce store is always available.”
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.”
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.
Deexith Thota – SENIOR PERFORMANCE ENGINEER
Based on more than a decade of success with Micro Focus, Discount Tire continues to explore new opportunities to harness tools from the LoadRunner family. The company continues to use LoadRunner Enterprise for testing the majority of its applications, including SAP applications and its e-commerce website, but as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) on the Micro Focus Cloud. “We moved from an on-premises deployment of LoadRunner Enterprise to the SaaS option, which gives us greater convenience and continual non-disruptive updates in functionality,” says Thota. Discount Tire also uses LoadRunner Cloud for testing selected graphical user interfaces and Web APIs.
“Micro Focus is always willing to go the extra mile,” says Thota. “For example, while we were upgrading our e-commerce site to a more responsive single-page architecture, we experienced an issue with the Micro Focus web session recording tool, TruClient. Micro Focus worked side-by-side with us until the issue was resolved, and deployed a patch especially for Discount Tire, which was later included in all subsequent releases of the solution.”
Kattamuri concludes: “For more than 10 years, we’ve partnered with Micro Focus for all our application performance testing needs. Micro Focus has always been there to support us— helping Discount Tire focus on taking care of our customers.”