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THANKS TO ACTIVETEST AND LOADRUNNER, FRANCE'S LEADING ONLINE SALES SERVICE OFFERS CUSTOMERS A ROBUST PLATFORM FOR DEALING WITH THOUSANDS OF QUERIES SIMULTANEOUSLY


VÉLIZY, FRANCE-MAY 14, 2001-SNCF.fr, the Web site subsidiary of French railways SNCF, chose Mercury Interactive (NASDAQ: MERQ), the leading provider of enterprise testing and performance management solutions, to test its online information and reservation service. SNCF is committed to providing an online booking agency that delivers a consistently high Quality of Service to French and international customers.
SNCF created a dedicated subsidiary to operate its information and reservation website that today employs 50 developers and seven people in charge of operations. "In two years, the number of connections to our site has increased 50-fold," confirms Hervé Méniger, Assistant General Manager of the subsidiary. To meet the needs of this growing number of users and following the launch of its revamped website, SNCF wanted to test the overall performance of its architecture to ensure that it can satisfy the thousands of web surfers who connect simultaneously. "At certain times of the week, we face major peaks in traffic, which we must be capable of dealing with, while continuing to guarantee a high Quality of Service," explains Hervé Méniger.
sncf.fr began by using the ActiveTest hosted test service. This service is powered by LoadRunner, Mercury Interactive's tool for testing large-scale load increases, identifying capacity limitations and detecting bottlenecks.

Experts at Mercury Interactive conducted test scenarios simulating train time and booking queries. These scenarios were repeated over 24 hours by generating thousands of virtual users from Mercury Interactive's load farms in order to estimate the site's maximum load. Following each test, the data collected from the different components of the website architecture (web servers, application servers, database servers, network, etc.,) was analyzed by LoadRunner to identify any bottlenecks. This led to enhancements to the website through successive iterations: tests, modifications to the architecture, tests, and so on. "Following these initial tests," explains Hervé Méniger, "we doubled the performance of all our servers."

Won over by this initial phase of outsourced tests, sncf.fr invested in a LoadRunner solution package to continue testing its web infrastructure internally. "The large number of dynamic web pages on our site means that we need advanced processing power," observes Hervé Méniger. "Our online reservation service generates a massive amount of queries to our databases. The best example of this is a web page that displays all available trains for an extensive period. Before, we faced bottlenecks between the static homepages and the dynamic pages displaying train times and booking services. These problems have since been analyzed by LoadRunner and resolved by our developers."

In just two months, at the rate of three tests per week, the entire architecture was "stressed" and improved to support the ever-expanding volume of traffic. Mercury Interactive's Test Director solution was used to manage the entire test series.

Commenting David Williamson, Country Manager of Mercury Interactive France, remarked: "We are particularly proud that our web performance solutions have been selected by a company like SNCF to meet the needs of the tens of thousands of travelers who prefer to book their train tickets over the Net."

Mercury Interactive Corporation
Mercury Interactive (www.mercuryinteractive.co.uk) is the leading provider of enterprise testing and performance management solutions. The company's automated software and managed services help companies deliver and maintain high-performance applications. Customers worldwide use Mercury Interactive solutions across their application and technology infrastructures to minimise hardware and operational expenses, protect revenue streams and enhance their competitive positions. Mercury Interactive was founded in 1989 and is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif. The company has over 1400 employees with offices in more than 20 countries, with its UK HQ in Camberley, Surrey.

LoadRunner, and, Topaz are registered trademarks of Mercury Interactive Corporation, Sunnyvale, California. Product and company names are used herein for identification purposes only, and may be trademarks of their respective companies.For further information please contact:

Nicky Wheaton or Julia Davies, MS&L, Tel: 020 7878 3000, Email: nicky.wheaton@mslpr.co.uk or julia.davies@mslpr.co.uk


Fiona Tutton, Marketing Manager (UK), Mercury Interactive, Tel : 01276 808226, Email : ftutton@mercury-eur.com

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