2021 development priorities

December 2020

We would like to share with you our development priorities for 2021.

2020 has been a year of rapid growth for us. Our support and development teams have doubled in size, which is both exciting and challenging. We are investing time in training our staff in order to maintain the high level of excellence in customer support that you have come to expect from us.

We prioritise development work in the following order:

  1. Defects and vulnerabilities
  2. Performance improvements
  3. Core competency enhancements
  4. Other enhancements / features

Resolving defects and security vulnerabilities gets prioritised ahead of all other development tasks. Next comes improvements in the efficiency of our data collection and reporting, as this is a crucial competitive advantage. Finally, we prioritise enhancements to our core product competencies ahead of enhancements to our other product areas.

Our development areas can be broken down into three categories:

  1. Core Competencies
  2. Core Technologies
  3. Supporting Technologies

1. Core Competencies

  • SNMP & MIBs
  • Ping & Availability
  • Data collection at scale
  • Performance Monitoring
  • Databases
  • Reporting

Our core competency can be summarised as: "Ping and SNMP monitoring at scale." This was our design goal from Day One and continues to be our greatest strength.

Our product has been designed to quickly turn around customer requests for MIB objects. We have been documenting the internal development process for adding MIB reports; you will see the results of this soon as we start to work through our request queue. Our goal is to achieve a 3 to 6 week turnaround on all but the most difficult MIB requests (e.g. QOS, VRFs, wireless) by the end of 2021.

2. Core Technologies

  • FreeBSD
  • C & Perl
  • Web UI (HTML, JS, Bootstrap)
  • API
  • Alerting & Integration
  • Backup & Restore
  • Discover / Rewalk
  • Graphing
  • Grouping & User Profiles
  • HTTP Server & Client
  • Install/Upgrade
  • Network Tools
  • Simulators
  • Site Scripting
  • Switch Port Mapper

Core technologies allow us to deliver network performance monitoring. Improvements to core technologies tend to be incremental, however we have some significant projects planned for 2021 in this category.

Grouping and Availability are critical features of our product and we are investing developer time in these areas to improve performance and reliability.

Our UI team has been hard at work analysing and polishing our product design. You can expect to see improvements early in 2021.

We have started multiple projects in parallel to address scalability and performance issues with parts of the product. We met our customer with the largest deployment of AKIPS at Cisco Live 2017, where we advertised that we can poll 1 million interfaces from a single VM. This customer has since pushed our software well past that to monitor 1.7M interfaces from a single VM. This has highlighted several performance bottlenecks, which we are working to address. This will have flow-on benefits for all customers.

Discover/Rewalk is taking a long time to run at some sites:

  • We have identified that the Discover/Rewalk program is bottlenecked when walking slow devices and/or devices with large SNMP tables.
  • The Discover/Rewalk is also limited to a single cpu core when building database configuration.
  • This project requires us to peek "under the hood" at our database locking and concurrency issues. The goal is to reduce the total time of the Discover/Rewalk and hopefully allow us to eliminate the pesky "Another Discover/Rewalk is currently running" message.

Backup/Restore is taking a long time to run at some sites:

  • This is due to being bottlenecked on a single cpu core doing encryption of the data before transfer.
  • We are working on a multi-threaded program that will take advantage of multiple cpu cores and run across multiple TCP streams.

We expect further improvements to the performance of our software as we identify and eliminate bottlenecks.

Our Switch Port Mapper is a complex tool pulling together multiple sources of information and producing many data files. We have started a project to improve our data collection and reporting. This project will include looking at ways to incorporate CDP and LLDP data.

3. Supporting Technologies

  • Config Crawler
  • DNS Database
  • Dashboards
  • GeoIP Database
  • Inventory Management
  • MAC/Vendor Database
  • NetFlow
  • PDF Export & Scheduling
  • SSO & Authentication
  • Syslog

This category refers to features which deliver important network visibility for our customers but falls outside our core competency of Ping and SNMP monitoring at scale. Many of these features could be products on their own; our goal is not to compete in terms of featureset against products such as Splunk and Plixer. Our aim is to be complementary to these tools.

We are not expecting to make any major changes to these product areas in 2021.

Our customers are our priority. That is, our primary goal is for the product to make your job easier and more enjoyable.

We don't claim to be the right solution for everyone, but if AKIPS is your weapon of choice, we want to know where you think it needs extra grunt to slay your enemies.

If we've got a blind spot then let us know. Stay in touch.