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California headquartered Last9, a startup helping enterprises navigate software reliability challenges, today emerged from stealth with $11 million series A funding led by Sequoia Capital India.
In the past decade or so, the software development space has seen a lot of improvements. The growing adoption of cloud and of microservices architecture has given enterprises the ability to build and push dozens of system updates every week, gaining a major competitive advantage. But, this speed of advancement also brings its set of challenges.
“The number of microservices is constantly growing and each of them is being deployed several times a day or week, all hosted on ephemeral servers. A typical request depends on at least three internal and one external service. It’s a densely connected web of systems,” Nishant Modak, cofounder and CEO of Last9, told VentureBeat.
In this web, even a tiny anomaly or change event could cascade into a broader system-wide outage that most companies aren’t ready to deal with. They do have site reliability engineers(SREs), but the current scheme of things requires them to manually scour changelogs and charts across tens of dashboards (Grafana or Datadog, for instance) or build some internal system-specific tooling to determine what went wrong and how to fix it. This takes a lot of time and does not help when the business bleeds money.
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Last9 simplifies the challenge with ‘aerial view’
Founded in 2020, Last9’s reliability platform solves this challenge by giving SREs an aerial view of their software architecture. The solution uses company data to build a ‘knowledge graph’ of all essential systems (no matter how complex), allowing engineers to scour quickly and zoom in to see the smallest, metric-level data.
“Users (enterprises) provide read-only access to their cloud environment and metrics storage. After this, Last9’s platform maps out microservices call graphs, including both internal and external systems. In addition, it baselines key metrics and helps identify, measure and track these indicators to provide insights into how customers are getting impacted,” Modak explained.
In a nutshell, Last9 provides engineering and devops teams a simpler and faster way to assess and determine what went wrong, was it due to a change introduced and how to prevent it – and the associated business losses. It can also act as a monitoring system, providing early warnings of impending failures and doing significantly faster root cause analysis than traditional methods.
The company has seen significant demand for its product and has already handled software reliability for Indian streaming platform Disney+ HotStar, YieldStreet Inc, Skit.ai, HomeLane, DailyRounds, OwlInsights Inc and many other companies.
“Users love the fact that now they have a map of all dependencies in addition to out-of-the-box tracking of their key SLIs. Being able to trace which tenant got affected instantly and the fact that all this happens without an agent, makes it extremely easy to adopt across all systems,” the CEO said.
While a number of companies continue to operate in the software development and monitoring space, including Firebase, Amplify, LogicMonitor and AppDynamics, Modak claims no one is looking at the reliability aspect in the way Last9 does.
“Last9’s knowledge graph, accessible visually on the screen, enables immediate identification of root cause for any incident and in fact enables early warning of upcoming downtimes since the knowledge graph knows how failures cascade across the system. We can confidently say that no other player at scale in the space today has this capability,” he said.
Now, with the fresh capital in hand, the company plans to build out go-to-market and engineering teams to expand the reach of its product and improve its capabilities.
“Improving adoption and integrations for open-telemetry and other open source standards is another key focus area. Change intelligence and insights on failures in a distributed systems environment are key to solving this problem and we will continue to invest heavily in that,” Modak noted.
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