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Grafana Labs acquires load-testing startup K6

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Observability platform Grafana Labs today announced it has acquired K6, a Stockholm-headquartered startup that’s building an open source load testing tool for engineering teams. Grafana says it and K6 will work together on an integrated offering as part of Grafana’s tech stack, providing a way to monitor and connect logs, metrics, and traces to diagnose app performance issues.

“When we first spoke with the team at K6, we were immediately impressed by the incredible similarities between them and Grafana, including our passion for open source and how they modernized load testing,” Grafana cofounder and CEO Raj Dutt said in a press release. “In the past, load testing required costly infrastructure investments to run, resulting in only the most well-funded efforts reaping the benefits. These days, compute is available on demand and microservices are ephemeral, so it is far less costly to run test simulations. Because K6 is open source and also has a cloud offering, developers can realize the benefits much more rapidly.”

In 2000, K6’s founding team was working on a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), with the goal of supporting hundreds of players simultaneously. The need for early load testing arose, and the team opted to open a consultancy to support organizations including the European Space Agency. In 2008, the team pivoted to bring its load testing tool to market as a website benchmarking product. And in 2016, K6 started working on a new open source load testing tool for automating performance tests.

Above: K6’s load testing platform.

“Grafana is the unquestioned leader in the observability space, and [they] have done an incredible job building an open and composable observability stack for their users — both on the open source and enterprise fronts,” K6 CEO Robin Gustafasson said. “Joining the Grafana family will accelerate our ability to give modern engineering teams better ways to observe and build reliable applications.”

Platform expansion

The K6 acquisition comes a week after Grafana detailed a series of product updates, including the general availability of Grafana 8.0 and Grafana Tempo 1.0, as well as new machine learning capabilities. The latest release of Grafana includes enhanced visualizations, a unified alerting system, and the debut of Grafana Tempo distributed tracing.

More than 740,000 people are actively using the Grafana platform to visualize data from smart home devices, business apps, and more, according to Grafana cofounder Torkel Ödegaard. And Grafana has over 1,000 paying customers, including Bloomberg, JP Morgan Chase, eBay, PayPal, and Sony.

A comprehensive software monitoring solution, along with a number of other technical practices, has the potential to positively contribute to continuous delivery. According to VMWare Tanzu, 92% of businesses are using observability tools to enable more effective business decision-making.  Given the large number of metrics collected about the behavior of distributed app environments, real-time business insights can emerge with the use of observability tools, creating value for stakeholders.

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