The Medidata clinical trial platform for the life sciences industry consists of 20+ modules, many interdependent and integrated with each other. In this fast moving industry, and with new versions of the platform issued several times a year, often with multiple simultaneous product releases, a continuous testing and release cycle is in place to maintain the multi-tenant platform.
Nirav Gandhi, Senior Manager Engineering, heads up a team of performance engineers responsible for the operational readiness of the platform and supporting the final delivery to production: “From its inception in 1999, technology was key at Medidata. When our customer base started to grow and our platform became far more deeply integrated, we realized we needed a performance engineering workflow. We wanted a proactive understanding of any scaling limitations so that we could go back and make necessary changes to the platform as and when required. Waiting until customers would tell us about scalability issues was just not good enough.”
Medidata looked for a powerful load testing solution which was recognized as industry standard so that customers would recognize it and it would be easier to find skills for it on the job market. Following a successful proof-of-concept with Micro Focus Silk Performer, Medidata made the decision to implement.
Silk Performer is particularly suited to the Medidata cloud-based platform, as it enables Gandhi and his team to quickly simulate any size peak-loads without the need to invest in costly load testing hardware and setup. The Medidata performance engineers like that they can easily anticipate the true user experience with performance testing that simulates realistic scenarios across multiple devices, network bandwidths, and geographic location combinations at scale.
The consolidated reporting features provide an at-a-glance overview of the platform’s performance, as Gandhi comments: “The Silk Performer standard report template is used for management and customer reports, and we’ve enhanced this by wrapping our own XML application around it to customize it for more granular reporting requirements.”
Over the years Medidata has increased its Silk Performer licences from 100 to the 10,000 it has today. As the platform has matured, the need for performance testing has become more prevalent, especially with the increased integration capabilities.
Gandhi explains the day to day use of Silk Performer: “Silk Performer sits at the center of our continuous delivery and integration model. With it, every single change can be rapidly tested and test script maintenance is done very easily without requiring much manual intervention. If a customer is looking to make a business process change, we need to ensure this is handled safely within the Medidata platform. Using Silk Performer, we can quickly record the change, play it back, and determine the potential performance impact it will have.”
Silk Performer has helped Medidata be more responsive to its customer base and have a fast turnaround time. The performance data is used to give customers the confidence that the platform will deliver quality results for them. Two million trial volunteers, involved in more than 9,000 clinical trials, have put their trust in the Medidata platform, safe in the knowledge that it is the best solution for transforming clinical development across the globe.
Gandhi concludes: “In our industry, passion for innovation is the key to success. Our technology choices need to reflect this. The decision for Silk Performer which was made relatively early on in our life as a company still stands us in good stead today. It is a flexible performance and load testing solution which is now neatly integrated into our continuous testing and delivery cycle. We have been pleased with the support we’ve received from Micro Focus and look forward to the future.”