The Performance Beacon

The web performance, analytics, and optimization blog

Web Apps in the future will be full of “Cloud Monkeys”

Adrian Cockroft, chief architect at Netflix, recently posted a very interesting blog about how Netflix has begun to send “chaos monkeys” through their web applications for the sole purpose of creating performance issues. For those of you (non-testers) who are giggling right now, “monkey testing” is a pretty commonly used term in web application testing. It is used to describe the random tests that are generated by automated testing tools. There are “smart monkeys” and “dumb monkeys.” Smart monkeys are pretty valuable for load and stress testing, as they typically find a significant number of bugs in applications as well as configuration issues in infrastructure and networks. The problem has always been that smart monkeys have traditionally been very expensive and time consuming to develop. Dumb monkeys are inexpensive but are far less effective in finding performance issues.
Enter the age of the “Cloud Monkey.” Cloud Monkeys are even smarter than the traditional test monkeys that have been used in testing for the past 20 years, and they are only a fraction of the cost. For example, Cloud Monkeys (which are generated by SOASTA CloudTest) can replicate the exact use case scenarios of your most profitable users and any other type of web user that your application may encounter. If you plan to market directly to a specific user community, you can instantly scale your Cloud Monkey’s population to simulate hundreds or millions of that community’s users. Cloud Monkeys can live exclusively (in captivity) inside your test lab or they could live (continuously) inside your production sites next to your actual user community. What makes a Cloud Monkey particularly different than a traditional test monkey is its ability to scale. Within minutes, Cloud Monkeys can scale their population into the millions to stress your applications, infrastructure and network providers in preparation for a product launch or marketing event. Cloud Monkeys are also smart enough to capture critical performance metrics along its journey and deliver an end-to-end and real-time view of their findings. Most importantly, Cloud Monkeys are only a fraction of the cost of traditional test monkeys because cloud resources generate them. There is no question that we are the entering the Age of the Cloud Monkey…and you can expect trillions of these monkeys to appear in your applications and infrastructure in the coming months.

Tom Lounibos

About the Author

Tom Lounibos

As CEO of SOASTA, Tom brings more than 30 years of experience building early stage software companies, leading two companies to successful IPOs. Tom is a regular speaker at both cloud and testing events, and has become a leading advocate in using the cloud to empower individuals and accelerate changes in how applications are built, tested and deployed. Most recently, Tom served as President and CEO of Kenamea. Prior to Kenamea, he was CEO of Dorado Corp., a financial services software provider. Previous to Dorado, he was EVP of Sagent Technology through its 1999 IPO, entrepreneur-in-residence at Crosspoint Venture Partners, and held executive positions at Digitalk Corp., Knowledgeware (KWI) and Encore Financial Services. Tom also serves on several boards in the Silicon Valley.