StackPulse, an automated incident response platform aimed at developers and site reliability engineers (SREs), has emerged from stealth today with $28 million in funding.
The raise comes hot on the heels of a slew of high-profile system outages, including from Slack and messaging app Signal, which suffered downtime this month, and the mighty Microsoft and Google, which have also both experienced significant system failures in the past few months. Businesses of all sizes that deliver cloud-based services to customers need maximum uptime, which is where StackPulse hopes to carve out a niche as an orchestration platform for SREs.
“Every company that delivers cloud services to their customers will encounter incidents — from minor performance issues that increase load times to full-on outages where services are inaccessible,” StackPulse CEO Ofer Smadari told VentureBeat. “And with every company being a software company, services are how companies deliver value to customers. A bank with a mobile app that is slow, or unavailable on a regular basis, is a bank customers don’t trust.”
Smadari cofounded StackPulse last January, just a year after selling Luminate Security, a cloud-focused cybersecurity startup, to Symantec. StackPulse swiftly secured $8 million in a seed funding round led by Bessemer Venture Partners that was undisclosed before today, and it has now added a further $20 million to the pot via a series A round led by GGV Capital. The company said the funds will be used to invest in “global growth and to scale engineering hiring.”
The way companies build software has evolved significantly over the past decade, shifting from clunky, monolithic entities to a cloud-based, “microservices” architecture centered around smaller, function-based components joined by APIs. This gives companies more agility, allowing them to maintain each element independently of each other, and ultimately enables them to ship updates and new features more quickly. But the tools used to ensure everything works as intended haven’t evolved in step, according to Smadari.
“What used to be an ecommerce store is now a shopping cart service, a payment service, a product listing and search service, and a handful of other interconnected parts,” Smadari said. “But this advancement in how applications are built and deployed has not been matched with how those applications are kept running. When something goes wrong with running software, most organizations rely on a collection of custom scripts built in-house, IT tools first created decades ago, chat tools used for general purpose communication, and a lot of manual work to tie information together across these tools. That’s a lot of friction, a lot of opportunities for miscommunication, a lot of ways to not learn from past incidents.”
At the heart of the StackPulse platform is the ability to convert manual processes into automated, executable code called “playbooks.” StackPulse can be configured to automatically triage and “enrich” incident alerts with additional contextual data, including root cause analysis, which can be sent to the on-call engineers through the channel of their choice (e.g. Slack). It’s worth noting that StackPulse doesn’t lean on any AI or ML, it’s entirely rules-based as defined by the engineer.
While there are numerous tools designed to monitor platforms or manage alerts, such as DataDog, New Relic, and PagerDuty, StackPulse is setting itself apart by promising to fully automate both the incident and remediation management elements, constituting what it calls “continuous reliability management.” It’s all about making monitoring tools more actionable by ingesting data from logs and other sources to give the “why” to the “what” and tell you how an issue can be resolved.
StackPulse actually integrates with many of the popular monitoring and alert tools, as well as other cloud infrastructure platforms, including DataDog, New Relic, PagerDuty, AlertManager, Coralogix, Instana, Sensu, Google Cloud Platform, and AWS.
“We built the StackPulse platform to be integrated with the DevOps ecosystem from the start,” Smadari explained. “With this combination, StackPulse lets customers analyze a complete picture of risks — both technical and operational. This helps teams identify early warning signals for failures or outages, weaknesses in environment configuration or application code, and operational processes that can be automated or shortened.”
Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, StackPulse currently has 35 employees globally, with plans to roughly triple its headcount by the end of 2021.
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