[ldapdata] LDAP Newsletter: DOUBLE ISSUE -- LDAP Server Performance: Benchmarks and Load Testing

  • From: Hallett German <hrgerman@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ldapdata@xxxxxxxxxxxxx <ldapdata@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 23 Apr 2005 19:14:01 -0400

Topics:   LDAP Server Performance: Benchmarks and Load Testing

Issue Contents:

* LDAP Server Performance: Benchmarks and Load Testing
* Next Time: LDAP Server Performance: Certifications
This newsletter is sponsored by Alessea Consulting.

Business/IT Services for small and medium businesses.
Specializing in network identity, project management, and
business development.

Visit us and read more about the Alessea difference.

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By Hallett German

Topic: LDAP Server Performance Part 1: Benchmarking and Certifications

This is a new series about LDAP Server Performance. One that will take us 
through many
topics such as server benchmarks/certifications, server sizing, capacity 
and server optimization. We hope to provide you a good roadmap of the 
products and trends in
these fields.

This first article in the series will review LDAP server benchmarking and 
load testing
software. There is SO much to cover we made this a double issue, so let's 
get started!


In the ideal sense, benchmarking compares one software product to another.
Unfortunately, the "winner" or "loser" has big sales and marketing share 
So, one can always expect on every LDAP server's website to find the mandatory
white paper on how their LDAP server outperformed their competitors. This white
paper may be interesting to read but will not likely help in choosing the 
server which is best for you.

To counter the claims of these white papers has been the growing 
availability of
a rich software library of benchmarking and stress-testing tools. These 
tools build
on the long history of the practices of capacity planning, and 
system/database/application performance
analysis & optimization.

In 1985, Mindcraft, Inc was formed in Los Gatos, California. It has a main 
mission of
being a software testing library. But somewhere along the way, the company 
to make an effort to create and promote benchmarking standards. One of 
these was
the DirectoryMark measurement metric born in 1998. The test executables to 
run these tests are free
but the source code is not. Note that the code uses the Netscape SDK.
There are available for Windows2000/3 and Solaris platforms. It should work 
with any
LDAP version 2 or version 3 compliant directory. The 1.3 (latest version of 
says it works with Microsoft Active Directory on Windows 2000/2003,
ADAM (Active Directory Application Mode).
The 1.0 documentation provided a list of servers DirectoryMark was tested 
but it
sorely needs an update. Mindcraft does not provide direct support but does 
have a
Frequently Asked Questions 
and an on-line forum which seems fairly quiet.
(Available at 

The following steps are needed to get your benchmark test working: (This is
based on the MS Windows instructions.)

1. Have a test directory Server available
2. Use the perl script dbgen.pl to load test data into your directory. An 
LDIF file
is then created.
3. Import the LDIF into your directory server.
4. Create your test script(s) (containing the LDAP commands that you are 
going to use
for testing) using the scriptgen perl script.
5. Create a directory to hold your test results.
6. Edit the DirectoryMark config file with the appropriate information to 
your directory, script locations, result locations, etc.
7. Run at the MS Windows command prompt: DirectoryMark.exe config
8. Check the results
9. Rerun with a different script(s)

Note that Mindcraft also produces certified performance reports which are 
but not always for the current release. You can re-create these tests 
yourself by using
the run rules (canned scripts) supplied with the product.

We also encourage the user to read the article by Wang, Schulzrine, Kandlur
and Verma referenced below.

In the third article we will delve more into the measurements and analysis of


There is a second class of tools that share of the aspects of LDAP server 
but are primarily load generators. Load testing emphasizes performance 
rather than

SLAMD (officially called the "SLAMD Distributed Load Generation Engine") seems
to be a popular third-party choice. It was created by developers at Sun as
a load testing tool that can be used to load test popular Internet Web 
protocols (such
as HTTP, SMTP, IMAP, and POP.) The software is Java-based and open source. 
The SLAMD site
provides mailing lists
frequently asked questions
(<http://www.slamd.com/faq.shtml>http://www.slamd.com/faq.shtml), and a 
futures list 

SLAMD also provides many other extras such as an Java-based API to 
customize testing,
an embedded scripting engine for load testing, and a useful tool to capture 
LDAP sessions
and convert them into a SLAMD script-compatible format. Note that HTML and
command-line interfaces are provided.

SLAMD has a rich library of documentation on the product's capabilities.
Some recommendations include: Benchmarking the Sun One 5.2 Directory Server 
with SLAMD,
and the Scripting Guide (especially the chapter on Interacting with LDAP 

Microsoft, Novell and Sun all provide free load generators that work with 
their LDAP servers.
Let us look at each of these:

                     MICROSOFT -- ADTEST

Microsoft offers an Active Directory Performance Testing Tool (ADTest.exe) 
that it
recommends for Active Directory and AD/AM under Windows 2003 (and Windows 
2000 if needed).

To initiate ADTest.exe at the windows prompt, enter adtest -r testname.
(-r stands for run).
adtest -? lists all of the possible options. Some of the popular test names 
are the following:
-adam (test ad/am),  -mms (metadirectory),  and -sam (sam -security 
accounts manager).
Other setting are configuration/debugging settings for tests, and 
administrative operation tests.

Using your own or the canned "adtest.ats" text configuration file, you can 
quickly create your own load
testing scenarios. As an example, this file includes these tests
-- l1_10attr, l1_20attr, l1_30attr. These tests search for 10-30
attributes depending which one you selected.

Once you download this testing tool, do take the time to read through the 
included white paper
for a review of tool capabilities and suggestions on possible tests to perform.


   Novell seems to have many detailed Tech Notes and Knowledge Forums
on performance testing but we were unable to find much information on the 
tools used in their whitepapers.
(Please send us any info you may have on this and you will be mentioned in 
a future newsletter!)
One Tech Note referred to DirectoryMark and searchrate (described below). 
There is no doubt that you can
build your test suite based on the eDirectory SDK 
In our travels, we also found a nifty LDAP search benchmark tool.
This product works from the GUI
or command line interface. This was created by Richard Stubbs who last we 
heard was
doing directory efforts at University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.

                           SUN --LDCLT AND SEARCHRATE

     Sun offers the powerful ldclt load testing tool as part of their 
Directory Server Resource Kit.

To start the tool enter at the command line ldclt and the various options 
simulating your search, load,
and test intervals (such as -a -- number of concurrent operations)
-H/-h/-? lists all the available options and details.
These tests can be very specific using the -e parameter
(such as add,delete and other LDAP administrative operations).

The result of this run will be various summary statistics which can be used 
as part of your analysis.

Another common tool is searchrate 
measuring LDAP search performance.
It will return statistics such as number of search operations performed.
Other tools are also available to measure additional LDAP operations

Next time, we take a brief aside looking at the LDAP server certification 
process before
looking deeper at benchmarking.

Here are some representative references:

Benchmark LDAP query tester for LDAP servers

Open-source Java Application that can stress-test LDAP server workloads.
Results are currently stored in a LDAP directory as well.

How to Benchmark LDAP Servers
with SLAMD tools

Blog summary of LDAP load-testing tools.

Sun One Benchmarking and stress test tools

Active Directory load testing tool (ADTest.exe)

Utility to benchmark the speed of LDAP searches

Isode versus Sun with detailed results

A ground-breaking article by Wang, Schulzrine, Kandlur
and Verma on how to measure and improve LDAP system performance
and the measurement methodology as well

The classic 2000 Network World article comparing LDAP servers

Next Time: LDAP Server Performance: Part 2: Certifications

Topic: Articles and Comments Welcome

I welcome 100-800 word articles for inclusion in future
issues. Vendors and LDAP data administrators are
particularly welcome. Of course, you receive full credit and
ownership of your article. Thanks in advance for your help.

Please feel free to comment on how useful it was and what
you would like to see in the future.
Contact me at <mailto:hallett.german@xxxxxxxxxxx>hallett.german@xxxxxxxxxxxx
About Hal German

Hallett German has 20 years experience in a variety of
IT positions and in implementing stable infrastructures.
This includes directories/messaging architecture,
desktop support, and IT management. Hal is the founder
of the Northeast SAS Users Group and former President
of the REXX Language Association. He is the author of
three books on scripting languages. Periodically, he
writes articles on various business and IT topics.

Contacting Hal German/Past Issues

Mail: <mailto:hallett.german@xxxxxxxxxxx>hallett.german@xxxxxxxxxxx

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