Mark Tomlinson

Mark Tomlinson

Performacologist

Location
Elkins Park, Pennsylvania
Industry
Information Technology and Services
Current
  1. PayPal,
  2. PerfBytes Podcasts,
  3. West Evergreen Consulting, LLC
Previous
  1. Shunra,
  2. Hewlett-Packard,
  3. Microsoft
Education
  1. University of Wyoming
Recommendations12 people have recommended Mark Tomlinson
Websites
  1. Blog
  2. Personal Website
500+ connections

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Mark Tomlinson’s Posts & Activity

  • Mark Tomlinson liked this
    This podcast with Joe Colantonio was a lot of fun.  Finally...

    Biscuit Testing a Scientific Approach In this episode Mike Talks shares insights from his years of...

  • Mark Tomlinson shared
    Hey - got a question about performance? Ask Brian! -> https...

    If you have a question about performance, Brian Wilson can help you find the answer. Ask PerfBytes...

  • Mark Tomlinson liked this
    Heading down an excellent rabbit hole at WOPR26 in...
  • Mark Tomlinson shared
    Heading down an excellent rabbit hole at WOPR26 in...
  • Mark Tomlinson liked this
    My insatiable curiosity and desire to learn drove me to...
  • Mark Tomlinson liked this
    Celebrating International Women's Day - Brenda Hunter

    For International Women’s Day (March 8th) I am doing a series of posts on women in STEM who have...

Summary

Mark Tomlinson is a performance engineering and software testing consultant. His career began in 1992 with a comprehensive two-year test for a life-critical transportation system, a project which captured his interest for software testing, quality assurance, and test automation. That first test project sought to prevent trains from running into each other -- and Mark has metaphorically been preventing “train wrecks” for his customers for the past 24 years. He has broad experience with real-world scenario testing of large and complex systems and is regarded as a leading expert in software testing automation with a specific emphasis on performance.

For the majority of Mark’s career he has worked for companies as a testing practitioner and consultant using the leading products for performance testing, profiling and measurement. He has also consistently established close ties and relationships with the major vendors who create these tools.

Mark worked for six years at Microsoft Corporation as a performance consultant and engineer in the Microsoft Services Labs, in the Enterprise Engineering Center and in the SQL Server labs. His efforts to foster the success of Microsoft’s top-tier Enterprise customers was focused on their early adoption of Microsoft products as part of mission-critical operations. In 2008, as the LoadRunner Product Manager at HP Software Mark led the team to deliver leading innovations for performance testing and engineering as part of HP's suite of performance validation and management products.

Mark also assists with coaching, training and consulting to help organizations adopt modern performance testing and engineering strategies, practices and behaviors for better performing technology systems. He is the co-founder and host of the popular podcast PerfBytes (www.perfbytes.com).

Experience

  • Performance Engineer and Architect

    PayPal
    – Present (5 years 8 months)

    Working as consultant and full-time employee as part of the PayPal Credit (formerly BillMeLater.com) development and technical operations team I am working to optimize performance testing and engineering practices, implement large-scale integrated performance testing and deliver outage-free peak holiday performance. Additional responsibilities include:
    - performance risk assessment and business impact
    - mentoring of engineering staff on performance subjects
    - creation of custom continuous performance pipeline
    - advanced performance testing automation and monitoring
    - integrating performance measurement, estimation and optimization into the development pipeline

  • Podcast Founder and Host

    PerfBytes Podcasts
    – Present (5 years 6 months)Greater Philadelphia Area

    In 2012 my colleague James Pulley and I decided to launch a podcast on the subject of system performance testing and engineering entitled PerfBytes. The purpose of the show will be to educate and help viewers/listeners learn about performance and the conceptual origin of performance. Similar to "Good Eats" video show - these are short "bite-sized" chunks of content that can easily be consumed and re-watched quickly. Here in 2018 after six years we have brought the PerfBytes show to countless live audiences at conferences and workshops. We've reached more than 50,000 IT professionals around the world and we continue to expand our shows with new hosts, new topics and updated information on our discipline. PerfBytes: Helping IT Professionals to Improve Performance Practices.

  • Independent Performance Consultant

    West Evergreen Consulting, LLC
    – Present (6 years 2 months)

    I am the owner and operator of West Evergreen Consulting, LLC, which is my private company formed to support independent consulting and contracting in performance testing, engineering and research projects. West Evergreen is seeking partnerships with up-and-coming performance innovators like SOASTA, NewRelic, dynaTrace (Compuware), Blazemeter, Riverbed and many other opensource initiatives that are changing the industry landscape around performance testing and engineering.

  • Senior Director

    Shunra
    (11 months)

    Working as a Director of Delivery for Professional Services, a Consultant, a Senior Director of Professional Services and the Senior Director of Application Performance Engineering. All within 9 months! Whoo hoo!!

  • Senior Product Manager

    Hewlett-Packard
    (2 years 10 months)

    Developed product strategy and future design plans, primarily based on customer input and feedback
    Technical review of product capabilities and future improvements and enhancements
    Product marketing and message development, positioning and campaign development
    Field enablement and training - helping to deliver new products to new markets, and existing customers
    Product integration strategy and development of new mutually dependent products across HP
    Product revenue review and enhancement, managing strategic market leverage and sales
    Delivered LoadRunner v9.5 and v11.0 releases to market, including numerous outbound activities.

  • Senior Program Manager

    Microsoft
    (10 months)

    Advocating for the success of our hardware partners, as a senior member of the SQL Customer Advisory Team.
    Developing and implementing a program for improving OEM partner's satisfaction with Microsoft SQL teams.
    Designing and delivering new approaches to partner engagement and alignment with SQL Server 2008.
    Increasing multiple partner investments across the SQL Server labs, including strategic incubation efforts.
    Advising product groups and lab teams on all OEM partner technologies and future roadmap.

  • Program Manager

    Microsoft
    (1 year 9 months)

    Fo the Microsoft Enterprise Engineering Center, I facilitated standard customer engagements, and often chosen for special-effort engagements requiring high complexity, difficulty or scope; delivered test design, test lab setup, test execution, defect analysis and debugging.
    Implemented enterprise-class SQL Server configurations on the HP Superdome and Unisys ES7000.
    Served as primary team resources for SAN configuration for EMC, Hitachi and HP EVA8000 and XP12000.
    Advised EEC teams on all database performance and scalability testing efforts; test design, scripting and monitoring.
    Enabled robust connection between several different product groups and our top-tier customers; capturing their product feedback and customer experiences using and implementing our products.
    Worked with several software partners on compatibility issues with Windows Vista, in preparation for RTM.
    Delivered EEC presentations to customer and partner attendees at TAP Summit conferences.
    Consulted to the Patterns-and-Practices publications for Load Testing and Performance Analysis.

  • Performance Test Consultant

    Microsoft
    (3 years 1 month)

    For the Microsoft Services Labs, I defined and delivered expert performance test consulting for Microsoft software technologies as implemented by Microsoft Premier ISV and Enterprise customers in the labs, as well as onsite.
    Performed fast-paced application and database performance tuning and optimization during lab engagements.
    Created new service offerings for test consulting including migration, debugging, and large-scale database testing.
    Performed System Consultant duties including setup and maintenance of hardware, storage and network configurations for customer engagements.

  • Manager, Technology Alliances

    Mercury Interactive
    (2 years 8 months)

    I facilitated operations with key strategic partnerships including Microsoft, BEA, F5 and RealNetworks to enable mutual design, development, marketing and sales of joint technology.
    Managed key strategic partnerships to ensure a solid future direction for technology design, development, and delivery to target markets and mutual customers.
    Deliver training seminars and presentations at industry trade shows and partner conferences.
    Formulated comprehensive strategy for Mercury's support of .NET and Web Services to ensure that our solutions were prepared for the next generation of new technology.

  • President and CEO

    Allen's Lane Systems Group
    (1 year 6 months)

    Founded and operated Allen's Lane Systems Group, a Mercury Interactive Channel Partner, to provide training and consulting services on behalf of Mercury Interactive.
    Formed a small network of high-action performance testing team of independent consultants which facilitated joint information sharing and referrals for new business opportunity.

  • Senior Consultant/Performance Test Analyst

    GE Capital
    (1 year 4 months)Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul Area

    Delivered consulting services to 29 Fortune 1000 companies, primarily Mercury Interactive sub-contract engagements to help train them on how to use Mercury's products.
    Obtained 5 certifications in Mercury Interactive testing products and became a certified trainer.

  • Senior Quality Analyst

    Platinum Technologies
    (7 months)

    Created Modular Automated Regression Testing Framework (MART) model for data-driven automated testing which helps to maximize reuse of automated testing assets or functions.

  • Implementation Project Manager/Senior Quality Analyst

    Medintell Systems
    (1 year 5 months)

    Designed and tested life-critical pharmacy operations systems to ensure accuracy and safety in automated prescription label-printing and order filling.

  • Quality Analyst

    Norwest Mortgage
    (1 year 10 months)

    Re-engineered enterprise-wide processes for mortgage manufacturing systems as a means of applying technology to business processes, thus increasing productivity and profitability.

  • Quality Analyst

    Burlington Northern Railroad
    (1 year 5 months)

    Performed test analysis, design, and execution for life-critical train dispatching system.

Education

  • University of Wyoming

    B.A, Communication, 3.85 GPAB.A, Communication, 3.85 GPA

    Activities and Societies: Residence Hall Association, Jazz

  • Orono High School

    Activities and Societies: Thespian/Drama, Newspaper, Choir, Bands

Volunteer Experience & Causes

Causes Mark cares about:

  • Children
  • Civil Rights and Social Action
  • Education
  • Health
  • Human Rights
  • Social Services

Skills

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Courses

  • Norwest Mortgage

    • Introduction to TCP/IPIntroduction to TCP/IP

Languages

  • German

Projects

  • PerfBytes Podcast

    You probably want to know about "PerfBytes" and you're probably wondering how two highly-entrenched performance geeks like us could end up having an internet radio show. The truth is, we just created one. No hassle - thanks to the folks at BlogTalkRadio.com and Spreaker.com - all I had to do was signup and voila! - PerfBytes was born. Oh yeah, the name we chose: PerfBytes. Obviously the word "perf" stands for performance - including testing, engineering, tuning, monitoring and all that good stuff we do professionally. The "bytes" part was more important - standing for small, digestible units of information. The format was inspired from another hit TV show "Good Eats" by Alton Brown. We thought - why not have a show like "Good Eats" only on the subject of performance testing and load testing? I mean, really - who wouldn't love that show?!?! Then in October, we finally set the date and kicked-off plans to make PerfBytes a reality. Not virtual. Not a dream. Not well-planned either! We've only just begun the journey together with you and only together will we find out where PerfBytes takes us.

    Thanks for listening! (www.spreaker.com/show/perfbytes)

    Team members:

Publications

  • Testers as Experts in Failure

    Insider Editorial, Software Test Professionals Magazine

    The popular philosophies about failure are not new. The philosophies about testing are not new, either. But testing has been helping to prevent failure for about as long as failure has been around. And causing intentional failure as a part of the prototyping process in order to reduce the risk of failure is at the core of testing's definition. Failure due to a lack of testing is just plain ignorant, especially when we've gotten so good at it!

    Authors:
  • Testing with Professional Integrity

    Insider Editorial, Software Test Professionals Magazine

    Last week I witnessed what can only be described as a completely integrity-challenged moment by a performance consultant I know, who said, in reference to my current customer: "You've done a nice job educating them – or should I say, brainwashing them!"

    Authors:
  • Bucket full of Bottlenecks

    Insider Article, Software Test Professionals Magazine

    The next time you are tirelessly tracking down the root cause of a performance bottleneck and some super-guru performance engineer comes walking in to pull a "miracle" solution from their bucket full of bottlenecks – remember the relative longevity of that fix, and the limits on such specific solutions.

    Authors:
  • Mentoring, Self-Study, Fearlessness and Other Practical Tips for Taking the Next Step in Your Performance Career

    Career Article, Software Test Professionals Magazine, January 2012 (for-fee content)

    When I started in performance testing in the early 1990’s I had very little formal training. Early on I was employed as a functional tester and the opportunity arose to work on automated performance testing for branch office systems in mortgage processing. I was young and inexperienced but luckily I was surrounded by senior engineers who shared with me the basics of performance. I could outline the primary objective of the test (End-user Response Time) and they guided me through a few steps on how to measure that accurately and repeatedly. They helped me to remember from my college statistics class the importance of sample size in my data collection, calculations, and extrapolations. Their mentoring became the primary means of learning about performance testing and performance engineering, but only once I had determined my objectives. Good mentoring requires that you (as the mentee) bring your own ambition and goals to the equation.

    Authors:
  • Test Smarter and Faster with Virtualization

    Hewlett-Packard Whitepaper

    A virtualised development and test environment can boost collaboration between developers and testers while decreasing the time required for testing. Testers must adapt to working with virtual installations of the application under test, and also must gain a firm grasp on the unique characteristics of virtualisation
    technologies. In this paper, we’ll explore common best practices and suggestions for virtualised testing. (Mark Tomlinson was contributor and reviewer)

    Authors:
  • Performance Testing Guidance for Web Applications

    Microsoft Patterns and Practices

    Performance Testing Guidance for Web Applications provides an end-to-end approach for implementing performance testing. Whether you are new to performance testing or looking for ways to improve your current performance-testing approach, you will gain insights that you can tailor to your specific scenarios. The information in this guide is based on applied use in customer scenarios. It reflects the lessons learned from multiple performance-testing professionals. (Mark Tomlinson was contributor and reviewer)

    Authors:
  • Improving .NET Application Performance and Scalability

    Microsoft Patterns and Practices

    This guide provides end-to-end guidance for managing performance and scalability throughout your application life cycle to reduce risk and lower total cost of ownership. It provides a framework that organizes performance into a handful of prioritized categories where your choices heavily impact performance and scalability success. The logical units of the framework help integrate performance throughout your application life cycle. Information is segmented by roles, including architects, developers, testers, and administrators, to make it more relevant and actionable. This guide provides processes and actionable steps for modeling performance, measuring, testing, and tuning your applications. Expert guidance is also provided for improving the performance of managed code, ASP.NET, Enterprise Services, Web services, remoting, ADO.NET, XML, and SQL Server. (Mark Tomlinson was contributor and reviewer)

    Authors:
    • Mark Tomlinson,
    • J.D. Meier,
    • Srinath Vasireddy,
    • Ashish Babbar,
    • Alex Mackman

Organizations

  • Software Test Professionals

    Professional Membership
    Starting

    http://www.softwaretestpro.com/ - We are a community. We share different points of view but a common interest in software testing. We discuss the different points of view that make this community vibrant. We are a true association and believe the future of this organization will be our ability to re-invest in our community. We are committed to the success of every software test and quality assurance professional. Network and learn from other software testing and quality professionals.

  • Association of Software Testers

    The Association for Software Testing (AST) is a professional non-profit association that is dedicated and strives to build a testing community that views the role of testing as skilled, relevant, and essential to the production of faster, better, and less expensive software products. We value a scientific approach to developing and evaluating techniques, processes, and tools. We believe that a self-aware, self-critical attitude is essential to understanding and assessing the impact of new ideas on the practice of testing. http://www.associationforsoftwaretesting.org

Recommendations

A preview of what LinkedIn members have to say about Mark:

  • I have worked with Mark for quite some time now, and he is definitely world-class when it comes to system/application performance. Period. He is top-tier in defining the business problem, identifying and building methods for measurement, isolating test systems from inconsistent variances due to outside noise, identifying bottlenecks, and providing solutions to those bottlenecks. His focus on statistically relevant repeatability, introducing only measured inputs, and result evaluation is relentless. If your systems need a performance check, or you want a system for load testing and pre-release testing (before you push to prod and its too late) then Mark is your man. Do you know how hard you can push your systems and applications? With Mark's help, you can.
  • Mark is one of very few truly elite specialists when it comes to consistently delivering performant systems -- and one of fewer still with a focus on sharing his skills and knowledge as an independent consultant, speaker, trainer, author and podcast co-host. And if that isn't a strong enough recommendation, since becoming an Independent Performance Consultant, Mark has been the first person I call when I have a client request that I'm not available to fill myself. I trust Mark's skills, integrity, professionalism and good nature implicitly... and I can count the number of people I can say that about on one hand. You simply can't go wrong by choosing to work with Mark.

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