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Disclosure: mabl, the ML-driven test automation service, has previously sponsored Hacker Noon.
David Smooke: From your background I found you were working in infrastructure strategy and Microsoft & VMware (2003–2009), could you just walk me through, how you see the evolution of infrastructure strategy and management in your time there?
mabl Co-Founder & CEO Dan Belcher: When I started at Microsoft, every company, including Microsoft, thought that they had unique requirements for infrastructure, so we had thousands of developers building software from scratch to handle systems management, configuration management, change management, network management, etc ..Even then I thought it was strange that we were spending all this time building software that was only used by one company — especially given that every enterprise needed a lot of the same capabilities
Around 2004, some teams at Microsoft realized, ‘hey, our customers are managing a lot of infrastructure on their own for email, SharePoint, file sharing, etc., and we know how to manage those things pretty well. Maybe we could just offer these as a service so customers can focus their IT on things that are more directly related to their business. So this was basically Microsoft’s first endeavor into the SaaS managed services space, and I was excited to be part of it. The idea of helping companies and teams spend less time on things that aren’t central to their business has pretty much consumed me ever since.
I went from Microsoft to VMware in 2007 because I believed that virtualization would make IT infrastructure and systems more efficient, so companies could redeploy a lot of that investment to business applications. But along came the cloud and I was following what Amazon Web Services and others were doing with their early cloud efforts, so I joined a startup, Sonian, that was one of Amazon’s beta customers. That was mind-blowing for me at the time, because I saw that we could build and scale a business with no physical infrastructure investments.
“I saw that we could build and scale a business with no physical infrastructure investments.”
In 2012, I had been at Sonian for a couple years, and I saw that there was still a lot of overhead in dealing with the cloud — we were building our own tooling for the infrastructure, just as I had seen in the early days at Microsoft. That was part of the catalyst for Stackdriver, which made it so that you don’t have to build and manage your own tools for operational monitoring, alerting, etc., and Stackdriver was part of a whole generation of tools that took a lot of the operational overhead away from cloud infrastructure. I see mabl as a continuation of that; now, with containers, Lambda, App Engine, etc. we’re not so worried about infrastructure at all; we’re worried about can we ship software fast, right? And so mabl is looking at the problems that are holding us back in this new world, and we think QA is one of those bottlenecks.
Read the rest of the interview: The Entrepreneurial Journey of mabl Co-Founder Dan Belcher & mabl Uses AI to Bring Software Testing into the DevOps Era.
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