HP has upgraded its performance testing suite and load-testing software. The HP Performance Center 9.5 suite allows customers can validate application performance against business requirements during the testing cycle to mitigate risks associated with deployment and upgrades, HP said. Featured in the suite is a new version of LoadRunner, which is HP's load-testing package. HP acquired these application performance management technologies when it bought Mercury Interactive in 2006.

The company also updated its ALM (application lifecycle management) services to enable IT organisations to build "Centers of Excellence" to increase application quality and reduce costs, HP said. Centers of Excellence is being defined as a platform for performance optimisation processes along with consulting and support.

Products launched are intended to provide a business-centric view of the application lifecycle to better meet service expectations.

Performance Center 9.5 consolidates performance testing capabilities in a Center of Excellence, offering features for sharing tests and trending capabilities. With trending, users can see changes in performance between iterations. Version 9.5 also addresses Web 2.0 applications with support for such technologies as Adobe AMF (Action Message Format). Businesses also can build rich Internet applications.

"Web 2.0 is driving some very interesting new applications on the whole," said Mark Sarbiewski, senior director of products for HP solutions. But Web 2.0 also is "creating all kinds of performance problems," he said.

With support for AMF and externalised objects, such as streaming and video in a web application, HP hopes to help users understand performance better.

HP also is offering the ability to identify protocols in LoadRunner and Performance Center. "We now can identify and advise on the protocols that we're finding, which helps to really reduce the time to set up the right tests," Sarbiewski said.