Feb 28, 2023
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Three Goals for Akita in 2023

Jean Yang
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If you’re like me, the new year is a time of ambivalence. You simultaneously roll your eyes at all of the talk about New Year’s resolutions, while relishing in this rare opportunity of voyeurism into everyone’s hopes and dreams.

And while corporate hopes and dreams are less interesting than those of one’s friends and frenemies, I’ve always found it interesting to watch the stories of startups unfold live. Love them or hate them, one cannot deny that startups are built on hopes and dreams.

Now that I get to be “on the inside,” I thought it might be interesting for users, friends, and friendly voyeurs to get an inside look at how we at Akita are thinking about our 2023 goals.

At Akita, our goal is to help developers build reliable and trustworthy software. The rise of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and APIs means that the production behavior of web apps is drifting further than ever before from the code that any individual developer writes. We believe that the most important—and primitive—part of the developer toolkit is insight into prod. To help developers more effectively identify and address production issues, we at Akita are building the fastest, easiest way to understand prod. The vision is for any developer to start getting useful insights (is there anything unusual, where is it happening, and what might be causing it) about their production systems within minutes of installing Akita. No code changes or monitoring expertise necessary.

Today, what you get with Akita is the fastest, easiest way to see what many software teams have a hard time seeing: what API endpoints you have, which endpoints are slow, and which endpoints are throwing errors. Last year, we hit several major milestones. Our agent now runs in near real-time. We improved automatic API traffic analysis algorithms so that many users can now see their production API endpoints. It’s now possible for a user to self-serve onto our product, all the way through integrating into production. (Read more here about lessons we learned in our end-of-year blog post.) But we still have a long way to build towards the vision.

Towards making it easy for every developer to quickly answer the questions they have about their app’s production behavior, here are three goals our team have for 2023:

  1. Fully automated API discovery within five minutes. This past year, we made it possible for many users to automatically discover their APIs within just a few minutes of getting started. All they needed to do was install the Akita agent, give it permission to watch API traffic, and let Akita’s API traffic analysis algorithms turn traffic into API endpoint dashboards. But there were qualifications: the users needed to have unencrypted traffic; they needed to know enough about their tech stack to know where to drop the Akita agent into their system. By the end of 2023, our goal is to make it possible for users with REST APIs running on our supported set of platforms (Docker, container platforms, and Kubernetes) to let Akita watch their API traffic—and generate API endpoint reports—as quickly as possible. This means users with encrypted traffic; this means users who don’t have full understanding of their tech stack.
  2. Your monitoring starter package, available in five minutes. In 2022, we discovered that one of Akita’s main value propositions is to provide per-endpoint monitoring quickly, without requiring users to instrument code or make dashboards. One of the main advantages of being able to do fully automated API discovery is instant, per-endpoint API monitoring. (This is as opposed to monitoring in aggregate, which would tell you that there was an error somewhere, or if your total performance was surpassing some threshold. But again, we faced the same issue of a narrow happy path. In addition to improving the path to basic monitoring, in 2023 we also plan to expand the set of insta-insights we provide to users. Our mantra continues to be “no code changes and no manual dashboards necessary.”
  3. Give users daily insights into real API usage. Today, it’s not hard for software teams to see what API latency or usage is like at any given point, but there are many other questions that are harder to answer. For instance, how did usage, latency, and errors change after the last deployment? Sure, latency seems bad: but is it worse than in other similar situations? Most tools today require a fair amount of dashboard wizardry to get these kinds of insights regularly. Right now, Akita collects the data necessary to answer many of these questions. The task now is to make that data more actionable. Stay tuned to see what we ship here.

Check back with us at the end of the year to see how well we did against these goals. In the meantime, join our beta and give us a try. We’d love to hear your feedback on how to build the production tool you love to use.

Photo by Cristian Escobar on Unsplash.

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