In terms of an "evaluation copy", the best that you will be able to do is have Mercury come out and demo their product for you. During that demo, they may even create a small load test to show how you can test your application.
Generally speaking, Mercury tends to operate under the perspective that they will come out and demo their product (especially Load Runner)...but won't provide an eval copy as that may allow you to complete all testing...which, in turn, would mean that Mercury loses out on revenue.
Bottom line: you can have Mercury come out for a demo...but you won't get an eval copy of Load Runner.
Cyberentomological Detection, Prevention, and Eradication Specialist
"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place."
-George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright and Nobel Prize winner, 1856-1950
just to add a few words, - the reason Mercury doesn't give it for "evaluation" is very simple: it is practically impossible to evaluate it by yourself.
P.S. BTW, this explains why all the articles [published in quite respectable magazines] which compare the loadtesting tools from the diff vendors just can't give the reader an objective overview. They try but they merely can't :-)
In fact, - there is no unambiguous decision. Just because it includes not the tool and its cute features - but support, availability of professional services, learning curve, integrability etc as well.
Resume of the above:
The evaluation steps are -
- decide what are the major and minor key functionality you need. Major means you can't live without. Minor means "nice to have".
- Try everything by yourself. Ask the representatives from Mercury/other companies to show you the answers.
- Calculate investments for tools' usage. Price, maitenance, learning curve, implementation constrains and day by day use (the most expensive).