How I may help
LinkedIn Profile Email me!
Call me using Skype client on your machine

Reload this page HP Performance Center

Here are detailed yet concise notes on using HP's Performance Center to control LoadRunner for load and stress performance testing. This is a companion to pages on Vu Scripting, performance monitoring, performance tuning, and reporting.


Topics this page:

  • Why?
  • Product Versions
  • v9 Architecture
  • User Roles
  • Tasks by Role
  • Install & Config.
  • Dashboard
  • System Constraints
  • Reports
  • Monitors

    RSS XML feed for load testers RSS preview for load testers Site Map List all pages on this site 
    About this site About this site 
    Go to first topic Go to Bottom of this page

    Set screen Why HP Performance Center?

      Most people get HP Performance Center (abbreviated PC) when they want to simulate more Vusers than several LoadRunner Controller can run at the same time. HPPC enaables load testers, from a single central dashboard, to:

      • Reserve Time Slots and have have runs autostart at their time.
      • Coordinate multiple Load Controllers simultaneously
      • Allocate Load Generators among load generators
      • Reset servers remotely.
      • Send emails when alert levels are reached.
      • Response Time SLAs (Service Leel Agreements).

      Performance Center does NOT:

      • Provide a website to display results during runs.

    Go to Top of this page.
    Next topic this page

    Set screen Product Versions

      Version 12 UI adopts the same "flat" design as other new sites around the internet.

      Version 10 databases are integrated into ALM database.

      Version 9.1 0 (9.10) docs are all dated June 27, 2008.

      Version 9.0 became available July, 2007. It introduced use of IIS web services communication protocols with the Controller.

      Version 8.1 became available May, 2006.

      Version 7.8 became available Nov, 2004.

    Document Name [file] Pages
    System Configuration and Installation Guide [PCIG910_01.pdf] 234
    Administrator's Guide [PCAG910_01.pdf] 370
    Troubleshooting Guide [PCTSG910_01.pdf] 130
    User Guide

    Go to Top of this page.
    Previous topic this page

    Set screen Version 9 Architecture Overview

      Scripts Run-time Settings


      Back in Version 9, HP Performance_Center_Servers consisted of 4 IIS "servers" (each with virtual directory PCWS).

      1. The Utility_Server hosts the Performance Center License Manager and provides a centralized location for specific (singleton) information that can exist only once within the system. So the utility server is also used to configure Monitor Profiles, AutoRun schedules, and maintenance services.
      2. The Administration_Site_Server ( is used to assign user roles and privileges, create and administer projects, and manage resource usage.
      3. The User_Site_Server ( is used to create, manage, and run load tests. Results are collated and analyzed through this server. With it, you can perform tasks such as designing and configuring load tests, configuring monitors, reserving resources, running and monitoring test runs, and analyzing test results.
      4. The File_Server stores (as files in Windows network shares) test scripts and test results for access (via Windows NetBIOS protocol) by the User Site via NetBIOS. Default paths to folder names stored in the database are listed here:
          FSName Network Path
          MainDir Network Path\LRFS\
          UploadDir Network Path\LRFS\UploadDir
          TempGraphDir Network Path\LRFS\graphs
      5. The Database Server (Oracle 9i, 10g, or Microsoft SQL Server 2000) stores information on users, projects, host information, and load tests in MI_LRDB databases managed with with db_owner permissions to user OrchidUser, which also has an identify in server security logins. orchidtmp

      These 5 above can be installed on the same machine.

      Performance_Center_Host machines can be configured to serve one of 3 purposes -- Controller, Load Generator, or Data Processor. (It cannot be installed on a machine with LoadRunner installed).

        6. The Controller manages load tests. So there is only one Controller per load test. It receives scripts along with their run-time settings. It obtains a list of the load generators to use. It downloads scripts to load generators with instructions such as how many Vusers to run per script, and scheduler settings. At the conclusion of each test run, the Controller collates the data.

        7. Load generators generate load on servers under test by running Vusers iterating emulation scripts based on scripts and instructions from the Controller. There can be any number of load generators for a given load test. There are Regular, Unix, and Standalone load generators. But Load Generators cannot be on a machine that has IIS installed.

        Load Generators are installed Standalone within the same subnet as the Controller. Alternately, they can operate over a firewall which divides the subnet of servers under test from the Controller through a MI_Listener_Component for monitoring over firewall (MOFW) on a machine that does not have IIS installed. (The "MI" is for Mercury Interactive, so it's been around before version 8).

        Each Load Generator can emulate 50-100 Vusers, depending on the complexity of the script, the size of parameter files in memory, and the amount of think time between requests.

        8. The Data Processor host is used for publishing information to the Performance Center Dashboard, a feature LoadRunner does not provide.

      9. Analysis of results. This machine can also house Snapshot Viewer used to view snapshots captured on error from virtual Web users during load test runs. These .SOE files contain one or more snapshots in .INF format.


        10. The Monitors_over_FireWall (MOFW) stand-alone machine.

        12. The ERP_and_CRM_Mediator of SAP, Siebel, Siebel DB, and Oracle DB environments.

        13. Installing a Performance Center Host on a Terminal Server machine (before enabling the Terminal Server agent in Advanced settings) enables Performance Center to control (through Windows Remote Desktop Connection) several Windows-based single-user UFT/QuickTestPro (previously WinRunner) GUI Vuser Sessions at once (at 1 Vuser per terminal session).

    Go to Top of this page.
    Previous topic this page
    Next topic this page

    User Roles

      Performance Center is rarely installed and run by a single person. Large organizations usually require some separation of duties to ensure that people are always waiting for each other.

      "Admin" (Administrator) is usually the IT Security god who dispenses licenses, hardware, accounts, passwords. For some reason the company can only trust this person. Since most IT activities involve some level of trust, this position is usually the bottlneck to project progress. Because the company can only trust a very small number of people, this person has to multi-task among several projects. So most projects move only as fast as this person moves.

      A "PM (Project Manager" provides external interface to the team, schedules and announces meetings and people rolling on/off the project.

    Go to Top of this page.
    Previous topic this page
    Next topic this page

    Roles by Task Matrix (Who Does What)

      The table below cross-references tasks and which role performs them (similar to this segregation of duties for SOX compliance)

      1 = Primary responsibility. 2 = Secondary responsibility, etc.
      IE = Internet Explorer
      A = Performance Center Administrator Server
      LT = Performance Center LoadTest User Server
      U = Performance Center Utility Server
      E/W/P = Excel/Word/Powerpoint
      E/SQL = Excel and/or SQL Database
      B = Backup & Restore software
      S = OS Shell Script

      Getting common agreement to this is vitally important to avoid what I see as the major cause of frustration on large load testing projects.

      Phase Task Tool Admin PM PTL Engr. Advisor Guest
      Prep Test Plan & Procedures E/W/P 3 4 2 - 1 -
      Size and Design hardware and Network - 2 - 3 - 1 -
      Build machines and Config. OS - 1 - - - 2 -
      Get & Install COTS IE/Setup 1 - 2 - 3 -
      License Mgmt. A 1 - 2 - 3 -
      LoadTest Resource Management A - 1 2 - - -
      User Acct & Password Mgmt. A 2 1 - - - -
      Edit personal details A Y - - - - Y
      Install Agents on servers under test - 1 - - - 2 -
      Configure Monitor Profiles & Measurements A 3 - 2 - 1 -
      Host Configuration A 3 - 1 - 2 -
      Set Project Options A - 1 2 - - -
      Prepare Test Data & Run Parm Files E/SQL - - 2 - 1 -
      Set Scenario RunTime Settings A - - 2 - 1 -
      Upload Scripts, etc. from VuGen LT - - - Y - -
      Phase Task Tool Admin PM PTL Tester Advisor Guest
      Run Run/Control Script/Parm Validation LT - - 3 1 2 -
      Run/Control Load Test LT - - 1 3 2 -
      View Running Load Test graphs LT - Y Y Y Y Y
      Enable run result publishing LT - - 1 - 2 -
      Publish Results to Dashboard LT - 3 1 - 2 -
      Asset share/import/export ? - - 3 2 1 -
      Collect & Archive server logs S - - 1 2 - -
      Host Machine reboot A 2 - 1 - - -
      Set Alert Levels and SLA Targets LT 2 - 3 - 1 -
      Backup/Restore data B 1 - - - - -
      Remove Load Tests from Dashboard LT - - 2 - 1 -
      Delete Load Tests from DB LT - - 1 - - -
      Test Report E/W/P - 3 2 - 1 -
      Assess License Usage A 2 1 3 - - -
      Phase Task Tool Admin PM PTL Tester Advisor Guest

    Go to Top of this page.
    Previous topic this page
    Next topic this page

    Set screen Installation and Configuration

      Here are explanations of the steps to a clean, hassle-free installation. This list in a Microsoft Project file.

      1. Configure and Order machines and software.

          Although Performance Center is available on Unix, only the Windows version displays OS processes for a host.

      2. Obtain IP addresses, ports, and names to machines.

      3. Request access to IP addresses and ports within the network.

      4. Identify a hostname and request a DNS entry for it.

      5. Request SSL certificate based on host name.

      6. Schedule daily backups of the database and LRFS (LoadRunner File System).

      7. Request a local administrator account to perform installation. This is needed bacause

        • Performance Center automatically creates the IUSR_METRO local system user with admin. priviledges. A crypto key is defined for IUSR_METRO in files starting with f9416f003254e6f10da1fbad8e4c383_ from C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Crypto\RSA\MachineKeys

      8. When no tests are running, use the System Identity Utility on the Performance Center Administration Site server to propagate to all servers changes to passwords.

        • Although the manual suggests changing the Performance Center default user IUSR_METRO,

        • Forcing use of a different user with elevated rights ensures that changes to sensitive areas such as Web services, HP file system, and registry are made consicously.

          However, I personally don't think the confusion and lost time such lock-down causes is (if adequate backups exist) worth the additional security protection within a development environment usually run by one person.

          Not having adequate (tested) backups is a worse security flaw.

      9. If you are running with an Intel chip, disable Intel Hyper-Threading technology by shutting down and entering BIOS. Microsoft's information on this.

        Installation cannot be to a UNC path, but a network drive.

      10. Download [after required registration] the trial from the HP Download Center.
        Idea Put downloaded installation files and patches to a separate media such as a USB drive. Mark those files as read-only.

      11. Search for Patches and download them if they are within your patch management strategy.

      12. Disable anti-virus software (Symantec, McAfee, etc.) before invoking installers.

        IIS must be installed before installing Performance_Center_Servers.

          Caution Virus Detection engines may find that program regtlb.exe (which registers/unregisters type libraries) to contain a "virus" they call "Backdoor.Win32.PoeBot.15872". Automatic repair by the virus remover will break those files.

        Use the dashboard to configure hosts and host pools.

          Idea Zero fill machine names to t001, ... t010, etc. The Controller sorts machines named t1, t2, ... t10 as t1, t10, t2.

      13. Among common problems installing LoadRunner: Windows 2003 & XP SP2 have a DEP (Data Execution Prevention) feature which prevents VuGen recording. Go to Control Panel, System -> Advanced tab, Performance section "Settings" button Data Execution Prevention tab and add the client program or choose "Turn on DEP for essential windows programs and services only." A reboot is required.

      14. Configure IE security.
        • On Windows XP SP2, turn off Windows Firewall from Security Center in the Control Panel.

      15. Install VuGen and Analysis by running the installer Additional Components.

      16. Install Microsoft Office (Word and Excel) on the machine where Analysis is installed so that Word reports can be generated on that machine.

      17. Login to http://server_ip/admin (with default name and password Admin / Admin ) and supply System Configuration info (DB host, DB type, DB Instance (Oracle service name intnsnames.ora), User, Password, File Server Name).

      18. Set the HP license key obtained based on HP Entitlement certifiate.

      19. If MI Listener is used, perform Find MI Listener to verify installation.

      20. Take a full backup of the database and each server.

      21. Test the full backup restore before you have more time invested.
        Do all of the above again if the backup didn't restore. (But then you'll know)

      Set screen Location of Program Files

      The default path for the v9.10 TARGETDIR (Target_Installation_Directory) is
        C:\Program Files\HP\Performance Center

        C:\Program Files (x86)
        is the default folder if you install LoadRunner on a machine running 64 bit.

      Within its bin folder is the globals.ini file.

      Idea To quickly get at this LoadRunner installation folder, create an environment variableanother page on this site named "PC" (or whichever you prefer) so you can use a quick command such as

         cd %pc%

      To get at this folder quickly, I created a batch file named "pc.bat" in the cmd's default C:\ root folder containing this:

        cd \Program Files\HP\Performance Center\bin

        I created a shortcut to this file on my desktop and dragged it over Windows so that I can click into that folder from anywhere. The pause command ensures that the command window does not disappear automatically. Alternately, from within a command window I can just type "L" and press Enter.

      Set screen ADO.NET Protocols

      The first step in the Installer installs Microsoft's .NET Framework client because ADO.NET protocols are used.

      Set screen Sample Apps / Protocols

      Hosts assigned a higher Priority number (for more powerful machines and/or those dedicated to its task) have preference over those with a lower number (for less powerful machines and/or those that are shared).

    Go to Top of this page.
    Previous topic this page
    Next topic this page

    Set screen Monitors on Windows & UNIX/Linux

      Monitoring UNIX Machines

      Reminder Before starting a run on Linux, check to make sure that rstatd monitors are active. If rstatd services are dropped when a server becomes too busy or is restarted, LoadRunner 7.8 does not attempt to re-acquire information from rstatd. The work-around is to exit and reinitialize the Controller again.

      MI Listener for HTTPS/SSL Traffic

      When agents send HTTPS traffic (through port 443) from behind a firewall, it uses the "Monitoring over Firewall Component" and the Controller communicates uses a symbolic name for the agent through Mercury Interactive's MI Listener Machine (through port 50500) outside the firewall. Monitoring of Windows machines through a firewall use TCP port 139.


    Go to Top of this page.
    Previous topic this page
    Next topic this page

    Set screen Performance Center Dashboard

      This application was not written to use IE7 tabs.

      The Host Runs Tab lists runs by Duration hours.

      Keep Run IDs short.

      Allocation is to a Pool .

      The Allocation maximum is 5 for the maximum number of concurrent operations.

      "Ping to Host" by the Administration server is not available for Load generators over firewall, which uses
      "Ping to URL".

      Each controller or load generator host can be assigned to only a single pool.

      Performance targets are not copied when you copy a load test.

      Several pools (typically each in a different location) can be assigned to a particular Project.

      In the User Notes field for each Load Test Result, use codes to distinguish among various tests during searches.

      Performance Center remembers the last filter used by each project for each user.

      Pools can be nested (reference other pools) to construct a merged pool.

      When defining Projects, instead of taking the word literally, specify the type of performance test (single-user longevity, multi-user stress, multi-user/multi-function contention, etc.).

      The Load Test Details page only differentiates whether a run suceeded. It would be better if it also lists the peak running vusers, how many iterations, errors, etc.
      However, it does present transactions for each load test.
      Click on a transaction to open a response time Dashboard for it, with the goal shown as a dashed line.

    Go to Top of this page.
    Previous topic this page
    Next topic this page

      Set screen Component Requirements by Product Version

      online.exe is used to remotely view run progress.
      wlrun.exe executes scripts.

    Go to Top of this page.
    Previous topic this page
    Next topic this page

    Set screen System Constraints

      I prefer the Classic Schedule over the Real-life Schedule. because it gives more control since each Vuser group can have its own run-time settings.

      • Vusers running utility scripts to monitor the system begin first.
      • Vusers running interactive application emulation scripts run a minute after the run begins.
      • Vusers running scripts to create spike conditions or running expensive transaction begin a several minutes later.
      • Different Vusers can run with different think times and attribute values.

      The Performance Center Dashboard does not offer the goal-oriented scenario approach to automatically ramp-up the number of vusers.

      The number of Vusers assigned to each Vuser group gets reset to a default of 10 Vusers when you switch from a schedule by group to a schedule by load test.

      Actions for a schedule are replaced by the default set of actions for the new run mode when you switch from one run mode to another.

      HP does not allow use of Windows Remote Desktop Connection (RDC).

      Performance targets are not copied when a load test is cloned (by clicking Save As).

      Before a load test's results are published, the load test must be enabled for publishing to the Dashboard.


    Go to Top of this page.
    Previous topic this page
    Next topic this page

    Set screen Reports

      HPPC's 6 reports are not much more than filtered lists from the database. The simple filtering mechanisms provided become less useful as the number of values increases to the volume typical such systems manage after many months. Search conditions cannot be saved and reused again another day. The sort sequence cannot be changed. The sequence and appearance of columns are fixed. Filtering is peformed only from the left-most characters, not by regular expressionanother page on this site (please correct me if I am wrong). The information is not presented in the context of a job role workflow.

      If you are an expert (or have the time to become an expert) in Excel, you can export the data to an Excel spreadsheet and manipulate the data yourself. But if you have to do all that, why were you charged so much money on the software?

      In the descriptions below, I have added the need for extented queries. PLUG: I can write web pages and SQL to answer questions that simple filtering cannot address.

      Site Users Report

      • can answer "which projects and user privilege levels can each user access?"
      • But how can you see which users have accounts that are about to expire (and need reminding)?

      Concurrency vs. License Report

      • can answer "how many licenses and resources have been used concurrently?"
      • drills down by project
      • But what is the trend of overall license usage so that you can do capacity planninganother page on this site.

      Timeslot Usage Report

      • can answer "how many timeslots have been used concurrently?"
      • drills down by project
      • But what is the trend of overall timeslot usage so that you can do capacity planninganother page on this site.
      • But can emails and SMS messages be sent out to the administrator as reminders?

      Resource Summary Report

      • can answer provides aggregate data regarding the way projects used the various resources of the system.
      • But what is the trend of overall disk and bandwidth usage so that you can do capacity planninganother page on this site.

      Resource by Duration Report

      • can answer "how many resources have been used concurrently?"
      • drills down by project and specific user.
      • But what is the trend of resource usage so that you can do capacity planning.
      • But can emails and SMS messages be sent out if resource usage reaches a threshold?

      Resource by Runs Report

      • can answer "how many resources have been used by each run?"
      • drills down by project and specific user.
      • But what is the trend for types of runsanother page on this site planned vs. actually run?
      • But can emails and SMS messages be sent out if a run condumes more resources than it was allocated?


    Go to Top of this page.
    Previous topic this page Next topic this page

    Set screen Next


    Bookmark this page:

    Go to Top of this page.
    Previous topic this page
    Next topic this page
    Performance Engineer Life Role Site Map Performance and Capacity Management... Syndicate this list of links:

    Feed Validity Checked RSS 2.0 XML feed
    Feed Validity Checked Atom 1.0 XML feed


    How I may help

    Send a message with your email client program

    Your rating of this page:
    Low High

    Your first name:

    Your family name:

    Your location (city, country):

    Your Email address: 

      Top of Page Go to top of page
    Previous topic this page

    Human verify:
    Please retype: