Dog Food for Thought

CJC engages in a process known as dogfooding, or “eating your own dog food”, occurring when an organisation actually uses its own product. It equates to an additional form of quality control.

Steve Moreton, Global Head of Product Management, CJC

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Our CEO has a dog named Ralph, whose occasional visits to the office have led him to being adopted as our unofficial company mascot. This actually struck me as particularly appropriate recently as I was working on the development path for mosaicOA.

MosaicOA, our Information Technology Operational Analytics (ITOA), Software as a Service (SaaS) offering, is used by capital markets IT teams to store and deliver visualisations, analytics and reports on their vast real time data technology infrastructures. CJC also provides technical support to these same infrastructures as part of our suite of managed services – of which mosaicOA is now a key component. It’s a process known as dogfooding, or “eating your own dogfood”, occurring when an organisation actually uses its own product and, as a corollary, tests it in real-world usage. It also equates to an additional form of quality control.

The feedback we get from our own operations teams enhances product development, thereby benefiting clients who also use the native product. A recent example was the analysis being done on our managed service clients who utilise Solace middleware messaging.

The challenge

Ingress discards in various Solace environments were occurring, even though the number of persistent / guaranteed network messages was below the clients’ licensed number of guaranteed messages per second. 

The engineering team had proved that this was caused by messages being promoted from direct (not guaranteed) to persistent (guaranteed). The engineering team would export data into a spreadsheet and measure the differences of the inbound versus outbound - this would determine a rate of messages that are being promoted to guaranteed messages – which would cause the exceed beyond the appliances thresholds.

This post event analysis needed to be done far more dynamically. Monitoring systems struggled to display the information and ideally, visualisation would be far more effective for both event prediction and analysis.

The Solution

The data being exported from the Solace appliances was available in real time, and as the event hits our timeseries database, it can be visualised. We created a view to display the difference between any selectable combination of Solace appliances. The differences were visualised live and then correlated against impacts. Users could see the historic information suddenly come to life as well, so that other events could be re-explored in a far more interactive way. Very quickly we could understand how the system had behaved on the run up to an impact.

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We not only use the dogfooding process to support our clients’ systems, but also the mosaicOA platform itself. Every minute, our platform receives millions of IT metrics from hundreds of servers globally, while our clients and CJC support teams make thousands of queries every day. We need performant databases and technology to run it, operations teams to support it, and ITOA to understand it. 

Indeed, by using mosaicOA, we were able find a 40% capacity reduction in our own infrastructure, and we’re now able to use that capacity for further tooling and innovation along with providing clients a highly cost effective solution from an infrastructure and licensing perspective.

ITOA is the future of IT support globally. Every industry is embracing the positive impact of understanding infrastructure and making intelligent decisions. It’s important that the tool you select is one you can trust.  It’s good to know that with mosaicOA, the company providing the solution is every bit as passionate a user as you.

Steve Moreton

steve.moreton@cjcit.com