Empirix: A New Spin on Testing

 
 
By Mel Duvall  |  Posted 2002-11-01
 
 
 
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.

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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.


Reference Checks
Executives listed here are all customers of Empirix. Their willingness to talk has been confirmed by Baseline.

AIM FUNDS MANAGEMENT
Andrew Boyd
Lead Application Engineer
(416) 228-5500
Project: Canada-based mutual fund company uses Empirix products to ensure that the tools it offers financial advisors are performing to standards.

AUTHORIA
Holly Brockway
Director, Quality Assurance
(781) 530-2000
Project: Waltham, Mass., company offers businesses a suite of Web-based human resources applications. It uses the e-Test suite from Empirix to test and measure application performance.

BIGCHALK
Lynne Paul
Manager, Quality Assurance
(610) 699-5000
Project: The Berwyn, Pa.-based company offers teachers, librarians and students a variety of online learning resources. It uses e-Test suite to automate Web site monitoring and testing.

CROSSMEDIA SERVICES
Rick Jakubas
Director of Technology
(312) 280-5800
Project: Chicago company uses e-Manager Enterprise from Empirix to test and measure Web-based applications it offers retailers and manufacturers to help them extend print advertising initiatives onto the Internet.

J.D. EDWARDS
Joe Serrano
Service Assurance Engineer
(303) 334-4000
Project: The software maker and consulting firm uses e-Test suite to monitor performance of Web sites, as well as company intranet.

QUESTRA
Eric Baller
Director, Services and Support
(585) 381-0260
Project: Rochester, N.Y., company provides a Web service that allows manufacturers of medical and industrial devices to monitor their equipment in the field. Uses Empirix to simulate load tests.

Company Profile
EMPIRIX
1430 Main St.
Waltham, Ma 02451
(781) 993-8500
http://www.empirix.com

Ticker: PRIVATE COMPANY
Employees: 300

Alex d'Arbeloff
Chairman
A legend in Boston's computing scene, d'Arbeloff is best known for cofounding Teradyne Corp. and helping to build it into a top maker of semiconductor testing equipment.

Jeff Hotchkiss
President, CEO
Before leading Empirix, he held a variety of senior management positions at Teradyne, including chief financial officer.

Steve Gladstone
VP, General Manager
Directs Empirix' communications infrastructure test group, which includes the Hammer line of products for testing call-center response times. Began his career with Wang Labs, and cofounded Hammer Technologies in 1991.

Products
Offerings are divided into three core areas: Web application test and performance monitoring systems (e-Test suite, e-Load, e-Manager Enterprise, e-Tester, FirstAct for SOAP-based Web services testing, OneSight, FarSight); call center test and performance monitoring systems (Hammer On-Call, IT Test System, CallMaster, CTI DaRt Testing, Voice Watch, IM Monitoring, Port Watch); and software to test and monitor both VoIP network and IP storage systems (Hammer NXT, ST, IT, ST, RealStreamer, SIP Test System, Hammer PacketSphere, Network Emulator).