Download and Launch JMeter
Updates to JMeter are released frequently and you can always download the latest set of binaries here. As open source software the source code is also available for download. You can feel free to make modifications before building your own version of JMeter.
JMeter requires JVM 1.5 or higher to run and the full set of requirements can be found in the User's Manual.
Once downloaded, running JMeter is emminently simple. Simply extract the zip file into a folder of your choice and double click the jmeter.bat file in the bin directory as below.
Max heap size and other considerations
As a java based application, JMeter is configured much in the same way you would set up Tomcat, or any other process dependent on a JVM. The process runs inside a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and allocates memory in a heap. By default, JMeter is configured to use ~500 MB of memory, but this value should be increased when executing large performance tests otherwise the dreaded java.lang.OutOfMemory error can occur.
There is a great file, simply called jmeter, in the bin directory that contains a lot of comments about tuning the JVM. At a minimum, for any test above 100 concurrent users, or when using the View Results Tree listener to retrieve the entire response body of each request, consider increase the max heap to 1 GB or higher.
JMeter Plugins and other useful tools
One of the best features of JMeter is that it is extensible, meaning that any developer can write plugins that add functionality to the tool. One of the best plugins I have found is JMeter Plugins which, among other things, allows you to collect Performance Monitoring statistics from machines in your BI Platform stack and integrate them directly into the JMeter console.
This means you can review CPU, Memory, and Disk I/O statistics from a centralized location while your test plan is running!
This SCN blog covers the process to set up JMeter Plugins.
You can find a solid write-up of JMeter Plugins functionality here.
It would be great to see some JMeter plugins developed by the SAP ecosystem to enable better performance testing of SAP BI and other solutions in the Analytics portfolio.