Modern cloud applications consist of hundreds of microservices, cloud components and 3rd party APIs. One initial API call can affect hundreds of different services as it branches out within the system. As a result, developers have difficulty understanding how the application they build behaves in the various stages of integration–starting from their local development environment when they write new features, through creating and maintaining complex automation tests to running in production.

The situation worsens as more microservices, and third-party services are added to the application; a small change in the microservice or API can penetrate deep into the system and have an effect in unexpected places. As a result, developers spend more and more time trying to understand their system and digging into blogs and servers, and less time doing what they want to do – developing new features.

As companies and cloud applications grow and become more complex, databases and development teams expand, and these challenges intensify. The DevOps and SRE teams today have advanced tools for monitoring the production environment, but there is a lack of tools that accompany the developers in the ongoing development tasks.

Fast recovery and troubleshooting

Helios is the company that has set out to solve these problems. They developed a SaaS platform designed for developers who work on Cloud Native applications. It solves inherent problems that arise in microservices environments daily and is based on the OpenTelemetry open-source project.

So, how does it work? The platform allows developers a complete understanding of how the microservices they develop interact with the various components in the application, so they can locate, recover, and solve problems quickly, produce tests more easily, and significantly increase the speed of development. Development teams using the platform can monitor how an API request behaves in their application, automatically "replay" input at any point in the application's run and reproduce the problem.

The platform provides developers with the information, context, and actions needed to quickly solve relevant problems in a visual, fast, and user-friendly way. It also provides tools for collaboration, so that developers using the platform can communicate and collaborate as they work, write code, and modify different parts of the application.

A good example of this is the graphic interface that allows you to locate and focus on a certain part of the flow that is not working properly. You can reproduce the scenario that is happening in it and fix the problem, run it again and make sure that the code works. Then with the click of a button generate an automatic test for the relevant scenario. This way developers can save a lot of time wasted on searching for the relevant data, understanding the problem, and writing tests manually.

Helios integrates easily into development teams' existing toolsets, and an open, free, self-service version of the platform was recently launched. In addition, developers can use Sandbox to experiment and get an impression of the product even without fully connecting, by using Demo-data.

Developers for developers

"We built the platform that we would like to have as developers," said Helios co-founders Eli Cohen (CEO) and Ran Nozik (CTO). They have known each other for 18 years; they served together in Unit 8200, studied together at the Hebrew University, and also worked together before founding Helios. Cohen worked as a developer and Product Manager and was most recently the Director of R&D at fintech unicorn Capitolis. Nozick is a senior tech guy and mathematician at heart, who has been a senior developer and team manager at large companies and successful startups such as Skycure, which was acquired by Symantec.

The two came up with the idea while managing development teams and encountering the problems that exist in developing modern environments. They tried to recruit automation teams and solve the challenges internally but realized that a completely different solution was needed and decided to start a company and build it together. Today, the company has already raised seed funding and has about 15 employees in its offices in central Tel Aviv.

The company does not work in a vacuum. Today, development teams use various tools that they develop for themselves (in-house), API solutions such as Postman and the capabilities of APM (Application Performance Monitoring) tools designed for DevOps teams in production environments such as DataDog and New Relic.

Helios' business model is offering the product for free up to a certain amount of data, after which pricing is based on the amount of data used. Their $5 million seed round was led by Entrée capital and Amiti VC. Several well-known angels also participated in the funding, including Benny Schneider, Guy Podharani (founder of Snyk), Adi Shahrabani and Yair Amit (founders of Skycure), Amiram Shahar (CEO and founder of and Guy Figel (GM at New Relic).

Written by Eran Bielski, General Partner at Entrée Capital