Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hear from the team that started it all: Testimonials from our Original Xian Team

Ernesto Bascon, Jose Rioja, and Mauricio Cadima

To be able to last 10 years in the software business and to continue to develop products that meet the needs of a worldwide customer base is not an easy thing to do. Here at Jalasoft however, we’ve done that and more. We spend countless hours and manpower not only on developing state of the art network monitoring solutions, but also in maintaining their quality and performance.  Those that have been with us for a while can bare witness to our constant struggle to continue expanding our product line without ever leaving the idea of “quality” aside. 

We sat down with some of the original members of the Xian team who played a big role in developing the tool that we’re so proud to call our own today. We wanted to get an inside look into what it was like for them in the early stages of this massive project. With this in mind, we interviewed Ernesto Bascon, Jose Rioja and Mauricio Cadima. Three of our most valued engineers who took on this great challenge and came out victorious after hours of blood, sweat and tears.  Below you’ll find some excerpts of the interview:

How was your experience working on this project?

All three agreed that this was one of their first experiences in a project of this magnitude. Jose remembers how “This project helped me to learn firsthand the many details of the development process, not focusing only on individual tasks like quality control, but participating in the entire process of creation of the software”. Ernesto goes on to say “In Xian we all learned a lot and we had a lot of fun doing it too. We played with both C# and the .NET Framework that were the relatively new boys in town circa 2003”. Mauricio adds “It was definitely a great experience participating in the first versions of Xian and to be able to see how it evolved to what we have now. It was very gratifying and I feel lucky to have been part of that team”.

Did you think that this project would evolve the way it did?

The guys seem to agree that at first, not even they realized what they had in their hands. The Xian project proved to be an ongoing process which hasn’t come to a stop yet, in fact, it keeps getting better and better. Ernesto mentions “in fact, when we left Xian (some days before the Xian Io release), several architectural decisions that let Xian to scale were already taken and the team that continued working on the product implemented further improvements on those foundations. Jose adds, “Actually, this is the most interesting aspect of Xian. At the beginning we started with certain goals which kept growing exponentially over time, and now we have a tool that can compete with any network monitoring solution out there”.

Do you remember the biggest challenge the team had to face at that time?

In this project the challenges and difficulties were right around the corner. For Mauricio, the biggest challenge was “To make a name for ourselves in such a competitive market, keeping the high expectations of the customers in mind and adding new features in a strategic way to answer those expectations. I remember when a new MMS would draw near we practically lived in the office”. Jose agrees with the challenges surrounding the Summits, “The first time we attended MMS was very complicated and stressful since we needed to have all the functionality implemented before the deadline. The team worked very hard, sometimes for 24 hours straight”. Ernesto mentions another important roadblock that we faced, “For me, scaling was the toughest part. We implemented a lot of stuff in order to make Xian to support thousands of devices (caches, several concurrent tasks, queues usage in the connector, etc). I remember that in several cases, our bottleneck was not our product itself, but the Microsoft Operations Manager capacity of processing all the info that Xian collected and sent to it.

It’s strange to look back in time and see how far we’ve come. From the first days working round the clock crammed into a hot office to our modern day state of the art infrastructure that was created to tend to the many demands that our new customers have and to always continue to develop top of the notch solutions at affordable and accessible prices for all clients and companies.

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