Before beginning any performance testing, you must ensure that the base environment and software that you're working with is configured correctly. Otherwise, any testing you perform will be highly skewed and will not represent reality. This can lead to many hours or days of wasted effort diagnosing phantom problems — trust me, I've been there!
This section runs through the things that you should ensure are configured correctly in every environment before any testing is performed. Everything listed here has affected customers to varying degrees and collectively represents on its own the root of most performance problems (which we as consultants get called out to deal with).
You might also want to review some of the information included in the Managing A Successful Performance Lab white paper, published by Microsoft at http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa972201.aspx. This white paper lays out a canonical approach to managing a performance lab and details the process aspects that you should consider.
Hardware is critical to the performance of any solution. In this section, we'll discuss areas to be aware of when undertaking performance testing.
Some developers attempt to benchmark the performance of their BizTalk solution on their development workstation with both BizTalk Server and SQL Server installed on the same machine. Although this is the natural approach and is sometimes reasonable for non-BizTalk ...