Electric Cloud says AI will protect developers from themselves

Electric Cloud has embedded machine learning into its platform to protect DevOps teams from themselves by actually doing something with the massive amounts of data generated by their DevOps tool chains.

The vendor claims its DevOps Foresight tech will relieve teams from “release anxiety” by highlighting “bottlenecks and inefficiencies” throughout the delivery process. Or put more crudely it will point out that the last time a job like this was assigned to that team, things didn’t work out so well.

There’s machine learning and machine learning. Electric Cloud VP of product management Anand Ahire, speaking to us at the DevOps Enterprise Summit in London last month, said Foresight utilised “supervised learning”.

The company has drawn on a variety of data – from its own systems to open source projects – to develop and train its algorithms, he said. Once customers flick the switch it will start crunching through the data their systems throw-up, ranging across areas such as code complexity, development environment, and the teams employed on particular projects, to profile the risk associated with individual projects.

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Thus, he said, “It’s going to become more and more specific to your situation.”

This sounds like the cue for aggregating the learnings from all those installations to refine the model. Or, depending on your point of view give the vendor an incredible, or incredibly alarming, degree of insight into its customers’ deployment operations.

This was an appealing prospect said Ahire. Right now however, this is not on the agenda. Electric Cloud’s platform is mainly run on prem, so there is no mechanism for centrally collecting the data and training the underlying model. That’s quite apart from the legal context, he added added, citing GDPR in Europe as an example

Lawyers contemplating machine learning and artificial intelligence love to ponder where liability lies when machines start making decisions.

Electric Cloud CTO Anders Walgren said this wasn’t an issue with the Foresight product, as it would be simply making suggestions, and humans would actually make the decision as to whether to follow it. “There is a wizard behind the curtain.” Which is reassuring. For now.

The Foresight module is available now, and Electric Cloud said “will be priced by the size of corpus of data being analyzed to provide the prescriptive and predictive insights.”

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