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Stackify Aims to Put More 'Dev' in 'DevOps'

The Kansas City-based startup wants to make it easier for developers to examine the network stack and find problems in code.

The first part of "DevOps" is "Dev". But according to Matt Watson, Devs aren't connected enough with Ops, and it's time that changed.

He founded the startup company Stackify earlier this year to do something about it. Stackify gives developers unprecedented access to the IT side of the equation, Watson says, without putting additional burden on the system and network administrators who ultimately ensure the health of the environment.

"We need a product designed for developers, with the goal of getting them more involved in operations and app support. Now, there's next to nothing designed for developers," Watson says. Stackify allows developers to search the network stack to troubleshoot problems in their software that might otherwise take days of coordination between development and IT teams to solve.

Stackify allows developers to search log files, configuration files, databases and other infrastructure to locate errors. A key to this is that the developers are normally granted read-only access, soothing admin fears that developers will upload bad code to their servers.

Implementation starts with data collection on the servers. Among the information gleaned is application discovery, server monitoring, file access, and other data collection, according to Stackify's Web site. Watson confirmed that Stackify works seamlessly with virtualized environments as well.

Although the data collection software must be installed on Windows servers, it can monitor both Windows and Linux servers. Once collection's finished, developers have the kind of information they need, without causing heartburn for the IT staff.

Stackify is a 100 percent cloud-based service. The company uses Windows Azure for hosting, a decision Watson's happy with. With Azure, he says, "It's nice to have all the dev tools like cache and table storage." Although there have been a few glitches here and there with the service, it's run very smoothly for the most part, he adds.

Stackify is currently in a closed beta, with a public release scheduled for October. Watson says that pricing is expected to be $25 per month, per server, with volume discounts available. He adds that the target audience is companies with at least five developers.

Watson founded Stackify after selling his last company, VinSolutions, to AutoTrader.com for "close to $150 million", according to press accounts. Watson has since  founded the Watson Technology Group, which focuses on angel investing.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.

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