Siege is a multi-threaded http load testing and benchmarking utility. It was designed to let web developers measure the performance of their code under duress. It allows one to hit a web server with a configurable number of concurrent simulated users. Those users place the webserver “under siege.” Performance measures include elapsed time, total data transferred, server response time, its transaction rate, its throughput, its concurrency and the number of times it returned OK. These measures are quantified and reported at the end of each run. Their meaning and significance is discussed below. Siege has essentially three modes of operation: regression (when invoked by bombardment), internet simulation and brute force.
[ Via siege manfile http://linux.die.net/man/1/siege ]
Siege benchmarking can be as easy as typing siege -b <hostname>