What is the current state of the performance optimization industry? What about testing software? What can we expect from the future? These are some of the questions that we’ve asked Stefano Doni, CTO of Akamas, and Scott Moore, President of Scott Moore Consulting.
These questions can only be considered against a backdrop of increasing complexity. High performance and availability are more vital than ever. Technology stacks are becoming more and more complex, with a typical application now sitting atop many different technological layers, such as runtime, middleware, database, containers, and the cloud. To compound this complexity, each layer features hundreds of possible settings, which often interact in counterintuitive and unpredictable ways. Many performance, reliability, and efficiency problems can no longer be solved by manual trial-and-error tuning alone.
What is the solution? Scott Moore and Stefano Doni offer their take on the situation and ideas where solutions might come from.
Our world is moving faster than ever, and that is especially true for technology and software. Scott says, “More software is being built than ever before. Unfortunately, that also means more poor performing software is being built than ever before.”. Too many companies fail to prioritize performance as a fundamental part of their culture, and this leads to “performance problems and outages in point load situations.”
“More software is being built than ever before.”
While agreeing with Scott, Stefano adds that important systemic changes in how the business of IT operations is conducted are taking place, with disrupting effects on the industry. He notes that “Organizations are increasingly adopting DevOps and agile practices as a way to ship new business features faster and with higher quality. This shift significantly impacts traditional human-intense and lengthy performance optimization processes that need to become radically more automated, smarter, and faster to bring value in this new world.”
In truth, we may find ourselves in a perfect storm. We are no longer effective in delivering improvements in performance optimization, since “we don’t have the mental power to process so much information” Stefano explains. Scott reinforces this idea by noticing that “We have so much data coming in, we will need the machines to help figure out what is going on with the machines.”
“Performance optimization processes need to become radically more automated, smarter, and faster to bring value in this new world.”
The trend towards newer technologies, a wider range of offerings from cloud vendors, and more control in the hands of users are irreversible trends that will continue to affect It infrastructure and applications. That’s why AI and machine learning are so appealing and promising. More importantly, we will be able to ask them to perform some of the work that human experts perform today.
Even though Scott and Stefano have similar takes regarding the future, they concentrate on different aspects of it. Stefano sees the need for “a radically new approach to performance optimization, a new autonomous performance optimization approach where smart systems help developers and performance engineers to automate many activities, ensuring performance and cost savings are always maximized.”. Scott believes that we will “see decentralization and decoupling. We will move to a ‘no code’ approach to build software, and a ‘no ops’ model to run automation.”
“Our industry needs a radically new approach to performance optimization.”
Both agree on the importance of investing in “true machine learning and AI that reduce the time to automate and debug applications” (Scott) and the fact that such research will “unlock radically new levels of service performance and cost-efficiency” (Stefano).
Investing in machine learning and AI is at the foundation of Akamas. Akamas was developed after years of research to create the ML-based optimizer that powers its autonomous performance optimization platform. We are not stopping there, we continue to invest to make it smarter, more scalable, and universally pluggable into more and more technologies.
Scott Moore Consulting and Akamas have recently signed a commercial agreement. The relationship between Scott, Stefano, and the respective teams flourished during the CMG Impact conference in Las Vegas. Scott had the opportunity to see how the product works and he “was very impressed with it”. As he told us, he only partners with vendors when he “truly believe(s) in the potential of the product to solve a lot of problems”. That was the case with Akamas since it “has the right technology at the right time This is where performance tuning is going over the next few years, and they are already there.”
The respect is mutual, with Stefano recognizing Scott as a “renowned performance engineering expert. He’s been doing performance testing and tuning work for decades”.
Akamas has built solutions that connect its core capabilities with a wide range of technologies, platforms, and tools. Akamas partnerships are key not only to develop business, but also as a way to build a better product. Scott’s experience with enterprise performance management tools and the continuous feedback that he provides will help our team better understand the market’s needs and prioritize where to focus on.
Scott is a performance engineering expert with over 27 years of IT experience. He was the CEO of Northway Solutions Group until 2015 when he decided to get back into more technical work and more hands-on with testing and engineering. From that moment on he focused on resolving performance issues and guiding people that wanted to build out performance engineering as a competency. Before the COVID-19 situation, he traveled around the United States, talking with people about different topics around performance engineering. He created the YouTube show “The Performance Tour”.
Stefano is our co-founder and CTO. He leads the “development, research and product management teams” with a focus on “delivering the autonomous performance optimization vision for our customers”. Stefano works “with a lot of traditional enterprise customers, whose goal is mainly about increasing IT efficiency to save costs, but also unlock new levels of application performance to support business growth at no additional costs.” Prior to Akamas, he worked for Moviri, Akamas parent company, where he led the Research & Development business unit. His work on capacity planning and performance optimization of Java applications secured him the Best Paper award during the 2015 CMG conference.