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Move Over BI, Here Comes PI - Performance Intelligence

SOASTA's CEO Tom Lounibus speaks with SYS-CON's Jeremy Geelan

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"As companies such as MySpace continue to expand the richness of their site, the big thing is trying to seek a higher level of customer experience by replicating "beyond capacity" in a test environment, so that a company can see what it is exactly that they will need when traffic surges to peak levels and beyond, so that they know the "risk points" of their own success," Tom Lounibos, CEO of SOASTA, told SYS-CON's Jeremy Geelan in an interview with Cloud Computing Journal on the day that SOASTA announced a significant test of the newly launched MySpace Music Videos hub using the Cloud.

"What companies want nowadays is actionable information," Lounibos (pictured below) continued. "They want PI (Performance Intelligence) instead of BI [Business Intelligence]."


Tom Lounibos, CEO of SOASTA, spoke early in November at SYS-CON's 4th Cloud Expo.

His point is well illustrated by the MySpace test. Working with their delivery partner, Utopia Solutions, MySpace - a division of News Corporation - used SOASTA’s CloudTest On-Demand service to simulate 1,000,000 users concurrently navigating their website.

"The test required 780 servers," Lounibos explained. "MySpace leveraged CloudTest’s comprehensive analytics, displayed as the test was running, to identify points of stress in their infrastructure in real time."

Was it the world's first 1,000,000 user test, Geelan asked. No it was not, Lounibos was able to reply; in fact SOASTA was currently working on both a 4,000,000 user and a 5,000,000 user simulation for clients, he revealed.

It all pointed to a new trend among consumer-facing web sites, Lounibos said, in which they try and achieve competitive advantage by exceeding their users' wildest performance expections.



"The example that comes most readily to mind," noted Lounibos, "is that of Tata Motors, who experience 40,000,000 hits on their site when they were giving away a $3,000 car."

What such companies increasingly needed to know in advance, Lounibos said, is not just whether an app will scale, not just whether they have the server capacity; they need above all to know, will the app work under these sorts of maximum conditions, will the databses and firewalls work, will the app server perform okay, will the CDNs (e.g. Akamai) and the user experience all remain good.

That is why MySpace turned to CloudTest. “By using CloudTest, we were able to more accurately simulate, measure and analyze our expected user traffic," said Alex Maghen, Chief Technology Officer at MySpace. "SOASTA’s Performance Engineer became like a member of our team, and by using the CloudTest service we had no learning curve and could easily work within our schedule,” he added.

SOASTA CloudTest, Lounibos reminded Cloud Computing Journal readers, is available as an on-demand service that leverages Cloud networks or as an appliance (virtual and hardware), and enables developers to test and monitor their Web applications and services. Best of all, it does so at an affordable price, Lounibos noted.

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