Empirix: A New Spin on Testing

By Mel Duvall  |  Posted 2002-11-01 Print this article Print

Dossier: The Teradyne spinoff has spent its first two years making inroads into the marketplace.

In 1960, former MIT classmates Alex d'Arbeloff and Nick DeWolf discussed the need for better equipment to automate the testing of electronic components. The pair rented space above Joe and Nemo's hot dog stand in downtown Boston and founded what was to become a powerhouse in the emerging field, Teradyne Corp. PDF Download

That's the pedigree behind Empirix, one of the up-and-coming makers of software to automate testing, measuring and monitoring of distributed computing environments. It was spun out of Teradyne in 2000, combining the network and software testing elements of Teradyne with recently acquired operations from Hammer Technologies, RSW Software and Software and Systems Test.

With Empirix' background, customers say they don't feel like they're dealing with a typical start-up. They also say its technology is more deeply rooted than some other choices.

J.D. Edwards selected Empirix' e-Test suite in 2001 to run tests and moni- tor performance on many of its Web sites, as well as an employee intranet. Service Assurance Engineer Joe Serrano says the company looked at products from Mercury Interactive and BMC, but liked Empirix because it provided more options for customizing reports and views. "We wanted a product that would allow us to emulate a complete user transaction," he says.

While highly satisfied with the product, Serrano says it's not perfect. J.D. Edwards asked the company for improvements in such areas, for example, as getting more detailed transaction statistics on how long an individual image takes to load. He says Empirix has responded to that and other suggestions.

Andrew Boyd, a lead application engineer for mutual fund firm AIM Funds Management, liked the platform's open architecture, which allowed his team to customize the software using J2EE patterns.

While users appreciate the ability to customize the platform, they say that flexibility can make the system more difficult to learn. Lynne Paul, quality assurance manager for BigChalk, a provider of online learning resources, says the system is easy to use for basic testing and monitoring tasks, but getting to the next stage can be a hurdle. "When we have hit that learning curve, though, Empirix has been great about stepping up to the plate and helping us," she says.

Contributing Editor
Mel Duvall is a veteran business and technology journalist, having written for a variety of daily newspapers and magazines for 17 years. Most recently he was the Business Commerce Editor for Interactive Week, and previously served as a senior business writer for The Financial Post.


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