On the Community, we have many superheroes. As soon as Community users or the Community team send out a “bat signal,” we can count on many of them coming to help. 😊 One of these superheroes is Antonio Sousa, who has been with Community for years. @AntonioSousa provides crucial feedback, content, and improvements to the Dynatrace Product, the self-service around it, and much more! That’s why he is also a member of our fantastic group of DynaMights .
Having engaged Community users like Antonio is extremely important for the Dynatrace Community, as we’re committed to constant improvement through feedback. It’s one of the main motivational drivers and an opportunity for us to learn how we can do better and help in the best way.
Apart from the fact that Antonio is our committed forum user, he is also a very friendly person with passion. Read more and check what, besides the IT world, is driving his life.
Can you share some details about your past? What is your story, and how it happened that you decided to work in the IT / APM area?
I was born in Canada, but quite young, my parents returned to Portugal. In the north of Portugal, I was on track to start a medical degree when I discovered last-minute the size of anatomy books 🤣 I had to think fast and thus got involved with Systems Engineering. It had a lot of computing stuff, and since I had programmed for some years on the ZX Spectrum, it seemed the right thing to do. Having programmed with Z80 Assembly quite heavily, I soon discovered the taste for optimizing all sorts of things, not only code. I also had the luck to be exposed very soon to the Internet, with all sorts of practical projects. That gave me an excellent foundation for my professional life.
After a quick internship, I worked for ten years at the Portuguese Communications National Regulator. The communications sector was being liberalized then, so much stuff was going on. At the time, APM wasn’t yet born as we know it, but many solutions were popping up, essentially around systems and network monitoring. As I was responsible for them, part of my work involved optimizing things, in a time when systems and communications were much slower than nowadays. Around 1995, we were already teleworking, but with 64Kbps ISDN and 9600bps mobile GSM. It was then that I also started having more security responsibilities, something that I really loved since I first saw the movie “War Games”.
Can you tell us a little bit about your professional life? Where do you work, and what do you do in your job? And how does Dynatrace fit into the picture?
With a partner, we founded Marketware in 2001. We started doing synthetic monitoring in 2002 with Keynote Systems. At the time, it was an impressive technology, as the waterfalls that we know today from Developer Tools would only appear some years later. It was only in 2015, when Keynote was merged into Dynatrace, that I discovered APM. And it was a very interesting timing, as Ruxit was appearing! While AppMon was the dominant solution, and Ruxit lacked several of its features, there was something from almost 30 years back that caught my attention: the size of the AppMon documentation! It was even more significant than the anatomy books (AppMon 6.5 from 2016-10-18 had a whopping 2678 pages!), so it was an almost no-brainer 😂
As CTO, I’m involved in all sorts of things, from technical implementations to other management acts. I get pretty involved in all our projects, though. In the Observability space, our clients are some of the biggest companies in Portugal. Dynatrace is a perfect fit for what we do, and I especially love how automated it is. That lets us do value-added stuff, taking the Dynatrace platform to the max of its value. I’m also blessed to work with another DynaMight (@PedroDeodato), so all days are guaranteed to have something interesting going on...
What was the biggest challenge Dynatrace helped you to overcome?
This is a tricky question to answer, as there are so many challenges that have appeared over these years. It sometimes amazes me how simple things have a significant impact on clients. Scrapping a closed-source web application and bringing metrics into Dynatrace relieved a client from having to look continuously at a webpage. Detecting a webpage doing millions of database queries (the current record I have seen for one webpage invocation is 2,598,363 queries; batch processing can be much bigger…) is also guaranteed to make a memorable day. The possibilities for integrating other IT platforms and data into Dynatrace is also one of the things that our clients value most. But it is the Artificial Intelligence built into Dynatrace that continues to surprise me the most, and having Davis AI do that hard work of following everything that is going on, doing root cause analysis, that enables quick MTTI and MTTR, is the one I value the most.
What brought you to our Community? What made you stay? What best advice can you give someone who just started using Community?
I joined the Community some years ago. It was not until Perform 2020 that I realized that I was missing big things. It was then that I realized that there was much behind documentation and the Platform itself. In the beginning, I would benefit from much help from the Community members, but then I started giving back. And I understood that I had to help others, as others had helped me.
Your questions can be answered by Dynatrace users and by Dynatrace employees, and in both situations, these may be people who started with Dynatrace not so long ago. In recent months, I have been surprised over and over again by the quality of replies from members I barely knew. So, if you’re starting with Dynatrace, don’t hold back your questions or doubts. If you have been here a little bit longer, please consider giving back a little bit. We will all benefit from it!
Tell us something about you that most people don’t know. What is your biggest joy or passion in life?
One thing I do like a lot is gardening. In the last few years, I have been quite amazed by my banana tree plantation. Despite already being quite cold here in Portugal, it is pretty delightful to see my banana bunches almost ready for harvesting! Taking care of the garden does take some time, so the weeds are also a usual presence 😉 Oh, and I also have a pair of favorite Dynatrace plants (Pelargonium and Bougainvillea species), but while Bougainvillea flowers are still around this part of the year, the Pelargonium aren’t in late Autumn...
What’s one thing on your bucket list? Your dream?
So many things! I’ll be back to some Salsa dancing early next year, something that I haven’t done for years!
I like to dream of a world that is more peaceful than it is today. But also, a planet where we can live more sustainably. It’s not only IT optimization that I like to do, so I imagine a future where Observability will help us use our planetary resources in a more efficient way!
Antonio, even if you've been with us for years, we have a feeling that more is yet to come! Thank you for everything, as you do a fantastic job! And cheers to dancing some Salsa with you one day! 🙂