Splunk recently acquired cybersecurity startup Caspida Inc. for $190M. The acquisition of Caspida enhances Splunk’s breach response capabilities with Caspida’s machine learning-based behavioral analytics for breach detection. Caspida’s technology attempts to solve the problem of breach detection with particular attention to cases where breaches occur by means of attackers with valid credentials. Because Caspida’s behavioral analytics facilitate the detection of anomalous user activity even if the user has valid credentials, Splunk customers now have access to best in class breach response and breach detection functionality. Caspida launched in 2014 with funding from First Round Capital, Redpoint Ventures and True Ventures under the leadership of CEO Muddu Sudhakar, a former executive at EMC, VMware and Pivotal. The deal underscores the intensity of contemporary interest in cybersecurity solutions and, in this case, the value of algorithmic, predictive modeling of user activity to proactively identify anomalous behavior, or behavior of interest, particularly given the preponderance of security breaches initiated by valid credentials. The larger point, of course, is that cybersecurity is red hot as illustrated by Splunk’s decision to enter into a partnership with an advanced analytics-focused security startup. The industry should expect analogous acquisitions of hot cloud and cybersecurity startups as breaches proliferate and cloud adoption accelerates further.
Splunk recently announced the general availability of the Splunk App for Stream, an app that delivers a software-based solution for the capture of real-time streaming wire data. Defined as data transmitted between networked infrastructure components, wire data has the potential to deliver insights about performance, security and IT operations. The Splunk App for Stream represents the first product that Splunk has released as a result of its acquisition of CloudMeter last December. Unlike appliances, the app constitutes a non-intrusive solution that boasts greater ease of deployment than other hardware-based approaches toward the collection of wire data. Moreover, the solution claims particular import for the monitoring of data from cloud environments as noted below by Leena Joshi, Splunk’s senior director of solutions marketing:
Unlike traditional and appliance-based solutions, which are difficult to deploy, especially in public cloud infrastructures, the Splunk App for Stream enables customers to gain immediate wire data access on-premises or in public, private or hybrid cloud infrastructures. It opens up for our customers a whole new class of data sets to provide continuous IT, security and business insights.
Customers can implement filters and aggregation parameters on incoming data in order to understand details of “transaction response times, transaction traces, transaction paths and network performance.” The Splunk App for Stream additionally enables customers to understand correlations between application performance and infrastructure data. Wire data can be used in conjunction with other application management tools without disruptions to the application or modifications of application logs. The point worth noting is that the Splunk App for Stream provides yet another tool for cloud administrators to understand infrastructure and application performance that focuses on data transmitted between networking components. The app’s ability to collect wire data from virtual machines in public clouds gives IT administrators visibility into public cloud deployments that complements the performance monitoring software provided by the cloud vendor itself. Cloud adopters can selectively leverage the app for performance management or security and fraud use cases as dictated by their needs. Overall, Splunk App for Stream punctuates and enhances Splunk’s positioning in the cloud monitoring space and sets the stage for Splunk to release more products derived from its Cloudmeter acquisition.
Splunk Announces 100% Uptime SLA, Slashes Prices And Increases Service Plan Flexibility For Splunk Cloud
On Tuesday, machine data analytics vendor Splunk today announced a 100% uptime SLA for the Splunk Cloud, its cloud-based platform for operational intelligence. The 100% uptime guarantee represents the first SLA in the machine analytics industry that guarantees uptime to a degree that effectively dispels objections about the reliability of cloud infrastructures. Not only does the 100% uptime SLA assuage customer concerns about reimbursement for downtime, but more importantly, it asserts the confidence had by Splunk that the Splunk cloud is engineered to remain fully operational even if one or more of its constituent infrastructure components experiences a disruption. Splunk also announced price reductions of up to 33% that derive from economies of scale and increased efficiencies in addition to revealing more flexible service plans marked by scaling limits from 5 GB/day to 5 TB/day and 10 fold bursting capabilities designed to accommodate especially high spikes in customer workloads. Given that the Splunk Cloud is hosted on AWS, its price reductions come as little surprise given that AWS has cut prices over 40 times, including a significant price cut announced as early as March. That said, Splunk’s 100% uptime guarantee represents an impressive differentiator in a space where vendors have largely shied away from guaranteeing 100% uptime, although one would need to delve deeper into Splunk’s policies for remuneration to understand the real delta between 100% uptime and something fractionally close. Splunk’s expanded scaling options and security features for a virtual private cloud hosted on AWS, marked by no data commingling, in conjunction with slashed prices, continue to consolidate its reputation as the leader in machine data analytics space. Expect Splunk to expand its market traction on the back of its notable 100% uptime guarantee as the enterprise increasingly embraces the necessity of running analytics on machine data dispersed across a variety of infrastructures.
Just when OpenStack appeared to be grabbing the tech blogosphere’s attention with vendor endorsements revealed in conjunction with its Design Summit in San Francisco, Amazon Web Services reminded the cloud computing world of its market share dominance and technological leadership by releasing yet another component to its cloud computing platform. On Thursday, Amazon Web Services announced an online marketplace that allows customers to speedily deploy software from a range of other cloud vendors. Vendors in the AWS Marketplace include 10gen, CA, Canonical, Couchbase, Check Point Software, IBM, Microsoft, SAP AG, and Zend, as well as Drupal, MediaWiki, and WordPress. The AWS Marketplace simplifies access to cloud-based software for customers and thereby promises to offer vendors increased customer awareness of their products. Moreover, customers can benefit from the marketplace’s 1-click technology that simplifies deployment and allows users to try out software for customized trial periods without being confined to 30 or 60 day trial periods that expire and subsequently require expensive subscriptions. Prices vary based on the software vendor although, in the case of open-source software such as WordPress, customers pay only for the additional amount of storage and computing power required of the application.
Key features of the Amazon Web Services marketplace include:
• A centralized collection of software that can be deployed on the Amazon Web Services infrastructure.
• Billing managed by Amazon Web Services for participating software vendors.
• Simplified billing for customers who will now receive one invoice for both hardware and software usage.
The marketplace aptly illustrates Amazon Web Services’s intention to morph into a one stop shopping ground for cloud computing. The AWS Marketplace promises to vault the Seattle-based cloud startup turned behemoth into the de facto initial point of contact for customers seeking to deploy or develop cloud-based software because of its streamlined access to an ecosystem of software products. One critical metric of the marketplace’s success will be how many other cloud and big data vendors make their software available within the AWS Marketplace. PaaS vendors, in particular, may elect to offer their products within the AWS marketplace in an effort to solicit the attention of customers with a combination of IaaS and PaaS cloud computing needs. If this week’s Splunk IPO was any indication, Big data may also become a notable category of vendors for the AWS Marketplace as Big Data appears to have finally arrived in the eyes of investors and tech journalists at large.
Splunk Inc. filed for a $125 million IPO on Friday in what marks the first IPO in the rapidly growing Big Data technology space. Big Data technology refers to software that specializes in the analysis of massive amounts of structured and unstructured data. Splunk’s mission is “to make machine data accessible, usable and valuable to everyone in an organization.” Splunk produces software that analyzes operational machine data about customer transactions, user actions and security risks. The San Francisco based company provides IT and business stakeholders with analytics that enable them to improve project delivery, cut costs, reduce security threats, demonstrate compliance with security regulations and derive actionable business intelligence insights.
Founded in 2004, Splunk capitalized on the market opportunity for actionable analytics on data derived from increasingly complex and heterogeneous enterprise IT environments featuring corporate data centers, cloud based and virtualized application environments. Splunk’s software provides its users with a 360 degree view of analytics about enterprise operations by running against structured data sets as well as unstructured data that lacks a pre-defined schema. Here are ten things you should know about Splunk and its S-1 filing:
1. Splunk has over 3300 customers including Bank of America, Zynga, Salesforce.com and Comcast.
2. Splunk’s software can be downloaded and installed within hours and lacks extensive customization and professional services for setup. Splunk is currently developing Splunk Storm (Beta), a cloud-based version of its software that features a subset of its functionality.
3. Splunk recorded revenues of $18.2 million, $35.0 million and $66.2 million in fiscal 2009, 2010 and 2011, with losses of $14.8 million, $7.5 million and $3.8 million, respectively. Revenue grew at a rate of 93% for fiscal 2010 and 89% for fiscal 2011.
4. For the first nine months of fiscal 2011 and 2012, Splunk’s revenues were $43.5 million and $77.8 million, with losses of $2 million and $9.7 million, respectively. Revenue grew at a rate of 79% during this time period.
5. Splunkbase and Splunk Answers, Splunk’s online user communities, provide customers with an infrastructure by which to share apps and offer each other insights and support. Splunk believes that enriching these user communities constitutes a key component of its growth strategy.
6. More than 300 apps are available via the Splunkbase website. Over 100 apps were developed by third parties. Examples of Splunk apps include Splunk for Enterprise Security, Splunk for PCI Compliance and Splunk for VMware.
7. In fiscal 2011 and the first nine months of fiscal 2012, 21% and 24% of Splunk’s revenues derived from international sales. The large percentage of Splunk’s customers that are outside the U.S. means that the company is vulnerable to risks specific to international sales transactions related to global economic conditions, increased payment cycles and the additional costs of managerial, legal and accounting for international business operations.
8. The IPO filing cited the following analytics vendors as Splunk’s principal competition: (1) Web analytics vendors such Adobe Systems, Google, IBM and Webtrends; (2) Business intelligence vendors including IBM, Oracle, SAP and EMC; and (3) Big Data technologies such as Hadoop.
9. Godfrey Sullivan has served as Splunk’s CEO since 2008. Prior to Splunk, Sullivan was CEO of Hyperion Solutions Corp., which he helped sell to Oracle for $3.3 billion in 2007.
10. Three of Splunk’s key technologies are Schema on the fly, Machine data fabric and Search engine capability for Machine data. Schema on the fly refers to the ability to develop schemas that adjust to queries and relevant data sets instead of inserting data into a pre-defined schema. The result is a more flexible modality of tagging data that renders itself receptive to unstructured data sets that lack a well defined schema. Machine data fabric refers to the ability to access machine data in all its various forms. Splunk’s machine data fabric means that no data is left uncovered by its software. As noted in the S-1 filing, Splunk’s “software enables users to process machine data no matter the infrastructure topology, from a single machine to a globally distributed, virtualized IT infrastructure.” Search engine capability means that Splunk boasts a range of arithmetic and advanced statistical capabilities for searching and performing business intelligence analysis on machine data.
Splunk has yet to reveal the number of shares that will be offered as part of its $125 million IPO under the ticker symbol SPLK. Thus far, the company has raised $40 million in venture capital funding from August Capital, JK&B Capital, Ignition Partners and Sevin Rosen Funds. The IPO is led by Morgan Stanley. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Credit Suisse Group AG and Bank of America Corp. are also working with Morgan Stanley on the public offering. Rest assured that Splunk’s IPO will be watched very closely by all vendors in the Big Data space.