The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) process the university and college applications of around 650,000 students each year. Nearly all British higher education institutions are members of UCAS, and anyone wishing to study for an undergraduate degree in the UK must submit an application via UCAS’s website. The service is active all year round, but for one week in mid-August it must cope with a huge spike in demand, crunching 15 million transactions. More than 450,000 students found university places in 2013 – up 6% on 2012.
“We don’t need a large amount of regular testing throughout the year, but we do need an exceptional amount over one very intense period when the load is estimated to be around 4,000 times greater than average days,” says James Munson, Director of IT, UCAS, adding: “HP Performance Center software ensured flawless performance, and the massive spike at around 5pm on exam results day was dealt with in just 30 minutes.
To cope with the demands of modern admissions, UCAS tested the system against anticipated loads with HP Performance Center on SaaS. For a three-month period, UCAS took 16,000 Virtual Users, scaling down to 1,000 for the remainder of the year to contain costs. Delivered via the cloud, HP Performance Center on SaaS provides a flexible, scalable testing environment, enabling UCAS to react quickly to emerging scenarios and accommodate variable demand.
“To cope with the increasing number of applications for higher education places, UCAS needs a scalable performance testing solution that not only meets the demands for major spikes, but maintains cost efficiency throughout the year,” says Alastair Corbett, VP & GM HP Software UK&I at HP.
“With HP Performance Center on SaaS, UCAS can accurately simulate and rigorously test anticipated loads, providing better intelligence to plan for next year’s volumes.”