LightStep, a network visibility and monitoring company, made its official debut with the launch of its performance management solution [x]PM.
The company was founded in 2015 by three former Google employees — Ben Sigelman, Daniel Spoonhower (known as merely “Spoons”), and Ben Cronin — to solve enterprise dilemmas stemming from complex systems and networks in an era of microservices.
LightStep raised $7.5 million in Series A funding at the end of 2015 led by Redpoint and $20 million in Series B funding earlier this year led by Sequoia — bringing total funding to $29 million with its seed funding. CEO and Co-founder Sigelman said the company waited until today to announce the funding. “We want to communicate what we’ve accomplished, rather than a vision alone,” he said.
Like application performance monitoring, [x]PM is able to monitor oddities, performance, or liability in the network and also troubleshoot efficiently. Sigelman said it also can apply the APM workflow beyond applications to anywhere in an enterprise’s system that the company wants to study. This can be customer performance management, product experiments, software releases, and more.
More Data, Even More Flexibility
LightStep [x]PM deploys a decentralized architecture that can analyze every transaction in each service in production and measure performance. “Its unique statistical engine can ingest orders of magnitude and more data than our customers are accustomed to sending anywhere,” said Sigelman.
Even though [x]PM can absorb huge amounts of data, the analysis is still flexible and catered to the needs of the specific enterprise. “[It] gives you the flexibility to hone in on any particular aspect of the system, whether it’s a particular feature of the product or a particular customer, and you can really drill into what matters most to the business, from the performance standpoint and then mitigate issues extremely quickly,” said Sigelman.
Beyond Early Adopters
Coming from Google, the co-founders all saw a problem coming with the surge of microservices and massive built systems in the marketplace. “The problem really comes from again both the complexity of the systems people are building, and the scale is also daunting,” said Sigelman. “And the combination of those two makes it really difficult to build solutions that can make sense of it.”
Initially, LightStep sought to solve this problem for early adopter tech companies, such as Google or AirBnB or Lyft, thinking that these systems would have the greatest amount of complexity and scale, and would thus see the most benefit.
However, they quickly found this was not necessarily the case. Enterprises that pre-date these early adopter companies are blending new paradigms, like microservices and AWS, with existing architectures like mainframes and bare metal data centers, introducing more complexity, said Sigelman. It is just as vital for these enterprises to monitor and gather data from all of their microservices.
The company has found success with companies such as Lyft, Twilio, Yext, GitHub, and DigitalOcean. Leveraging LightStep [x]PM in its HR server, Twilio was able to identify issues in an hour that were responsible for a 70 percent reduction in latency, enabling the company to reduce incident resolution by 92 percent. Lyft used the product to move from a monolithic to a distributed architecture, and to monitor performance problems.