Observe raises $70M to grow its data-fueled observability platform

Observe raises $70M to grow its data-fueled observability platform

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Application observability provider Observe Inc. said today it has closed on a $70 million round of funding that brings its total amount raised to $114.5 million.

The Series A-2 round, led by Sutter Hill Ventures, Capital One Ventures and Madrona Ventures, came as the company announced a series of key updates to its platform.

Observe is appropriately named, since it sits in the emerging observability market, providing tools to help enterprises monitor the health of software applications by pulling data from logs, metrics, traces and events. Not only does it provide notifications, but it also helps users to trace the root cause of any problems that come up, so they can be resolved faster.

Observe sees itself as a more advanced player in an observability market where many providers rely on older log analytics, infrastructure monitoring and application performance management tools that were designed to deal with siloed data. The problem with those tools, Observe says, is that they don’t enable ad-hoc exploration of unknown application problems, and they’re difficult and expensive to use.

The startup believes the best approach to observability is to bring all of the telemetry data from applications into a single place and curate this as specific “resources” such as the user, session, a shopping cart, pod or container, help desk ticket or build. Doing this allows users to ask questions about each of these resources, making it easier to detect, investigate and resolve any application issues.

In an interview with John Furrier, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, at the AWS Summit San Francisco event last month, Observe Chief Executive Jeremy Burton (pictured) explained his belief that an application’s data exhaust provides all of the signals required for observability.

“If I can understand my data better than my competitor, then I’ve got an advantage,” Burton said. “It’s about time somebody looks at the exhaust fumes from this application and the telemetry data and helps people troubleshoot. That’s observability.”

Wikibon analyst Dave Vellante told SiliconANGLE that one of the most interesting things about Observe is that it has built its observability platform atop Snowflake Inc.’s cloud database, as opposed to building its own. Doing so gives the company a time-to-market advantage, he said, and allows it to focus on innovation elsewhere. “This allows Observe to attack the problem of full end-to-end visibility with a fresh start,” Vellante said.

The analyst explained that Observe and other new entrants have an advantage because application performance management today requires an entirely new approach. “Rather than narrowly focusing on blogs or analyzing machine data or other metrics, observability attempts to take a full picture of all the data from end-to-end,” Vellante said. “As workloads become increasingly complex with more microservices, containers and cloud-based tools, understanding application performance requires expanded or even new thinking.”

With the likes of Observe taking this approach, Vellante said the observability market is becoming a battleground, with established players such as Splunk Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and Dynatrace Inc. facing off against newer firms like Datadog Inc., open-source tools such as the ELK stack and new entrants into the market such as Observe.

“It’s getting crowded, so it’s a very positive sign that Observe has raised a fresh $70 million from some high-profile investors, including Capital One,” Vellante said. “Ultimately, that is an indicator that Observe is poised to move into larger enterprise markets where the big deals live. So it seems they have momentum and are gaining more traction with a novel approach to application performance management.”

Observe is hoping to accelerate that momentum with a number of fresh updates to its platform, including new tools that it said will enable the exploration of “data universe maps,” which are rich visualizations that show how the datasets it manages are related.

The company has also introduced new context-sensitive dashboards that allow users to view the overall health of their system and drill down into underlying event data to start an investigation. Meanwhile, a second new dashboard introduced today provides more transparency into its usage-based pricing model. So administrators can now see exactly how many credits they have consumed each data by which user, and even drill down into which datasets and monitors consumed the most. The idea is to help admins better manage their budgets, Observe said.

Finally, Observe is introducing a number of new pre-built applications for Kubernetes, Amazon Web Services and software delivery management service Jenkins, with additional ones for Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure to come later in the year. The new apps are designed to make it easier for users to connect their application data to Observe, the company explained.

Given the attention to detail it provides, it’s perhaps no wonder Observe has grown so fast of late. It said it has managed to expand its customer base by three times over the last year, while its monthly active user base has expanded by five times in the same period. Observe reckons its platform now collects and scans more than 40 terabytes of data, with more than 25 million queries executed each day.

“We’ve only been selling the product for a year, and we have 10 petabytes of data under management,” Burton said. “We’re starting to get some really interesting enterprise customers.”

Here’s the rest of Burton’s interview:

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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