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Unlimited Load Testing for MSDN Subscribers

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Microsoft recently announced the Visual Studio 2010 Load Test Feature Pack, which is now available for free to all Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN subscribers.

Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate provides a built-in load test feature that allows for web performance and stress testing with up to 250 virtual users. Before this announcement, developers who wanted to test with more virtual users had to purchase one or more Load Test Virtual User Packs 2010. (Each of these packs includes 1,000 additional virtual users.) As of this month, however, all Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN subscribers now receive this benefit free, and will be able to load-test applications with no limit on virtual users and no need to purchase extra user packs.

Microsoft highlights the advantages of early performance testing in application development:

Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate lets you stress test your application early and throughout its development lifecycle with realistically modeled simulated load. By integrating performance validations early into your applications, you can ensure that your solution copes with real-world demands and behaves in a predictable manner, effectively increasing overall software quality.

In addition, this subscriber-only benefit means significant cost savings: each Load Test Virtual User Pack normally retails at $4,499.

Microsoft included the Load Test Feature Pack with Visual Studio SP1 on March 8, but accessing its benefits can somewhat confusing. Current or new MSDN subscribers using Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate should download the Visual Studio 2010 Load Test Feature Pack Deployment Guide, which contains a key and instructions on activating unlimited virtual users. Steve Smith provides full annotated instructions for this process on his blog.

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