$41M for wire data and IT operations analytics?

$41m for looking down a piece of wire?
$41M for looking down a piece of wire?

Last week, one of our cohorts in the application performance management (APM) market (ExtraHop) raised $41M for “wire data analytics for IT operations analytics.” The team at ExtraHop are a great bunch of people (I’ve even said they’re the most Canadian Americans I’ve ever met), but catchy product descriptions is not their strong suit…

At the heart of what ExtraHop and INETCO do is a very simple, powerful concept: Enterprise networks carry an amazing amount of interesting information. But, very few organizations are equipped take advantage of this data source.

When most people think of the network, they think of wires and packets and switches (which IMHO is why “wire data analytics” is such a poor term). But the magic happens when all those packets are re-assembled by servers and applications to do something for a user or execute a business process.

INETCO and ExtraHop have both developed technology to re-assemble those packets and make sense of them. It’s very hard to do, and if we hadn’t started with a five-year lead thanks to a forward-looking CTO, we’d probably have needed $41M right about now to build what we already have with INETCO Insight.

It turns out there are two distinct things you can do by applying analytics to network data.

  • The first is that you can measure application and network performance. I call this a first order application. INETCO and ExtraHop both do this.
  • The second is that you can measure business process performance in real-time. I call this a second order application as you actually have to model a complex business process, observe it as it unfolds over time, and use some sophisticated correlation logic to pull it all back together. Only INETCO does this.

So, both ExtraHop and INETCO have built a better mousetrap for Application Performance Monitoring. Gartner has even coined a new term “Application Aware Infrastructure Performance Monitoring” to describe our light touch, operations-focused approach.

INETCO Insight customers pushed us to take it a step further. They asked how they could use network data as a foundation for business analytics. They wanted to be able to track business processes and customer behavior in real-time so they could react faster. This drove us to develop two core technologies you won’t find in other products.

  • A Unified Transaction Model. This is a data model for discovering and describing business processes observed in network data. It allows users to easily build up a complex business process or transaction from the various discrete “units of work” you see on the network.
  • A Multi Hop Correlation Engine. This works in concert with the Unified Transaction Model to assemble individual end user transactions across protocols and tiers in real-time.

So, it all starts with looking down a wire, but the real value is in what you’re able to do with the data you find there. With INETCO Insight you can see application performance AND business process performance. Our customers tell us that where the real value is.