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Observe’s Unique Approach to Observability (O11y) and Why We Invested

AUTHOR: S. Somasegar | June 9, 2021

I first met Observe CEO, Jeremy Burton when I started attending the Snowflake board meetings in 2017.  The first thing that struck me was that his reputation as one of the best GTM leaders in the enterprise software space was very well deserved.  In addition to that, I also noticed that Jeremy had a fantastic sense and sensibility about the importance of knowing what was going on under the hood of the products he was taking to market.  He recognizes that to build a market you must both know the product inside and out – and how it fits the customer pain point.

Then when I learned that Jeremy was signing on to be the CEO for Observe, Inc. which was a Mike Speiser/Sutter Hill incubation, I was even more excited about figuring out how I could partner with him and the Observe team to build a durable company.  It took me two more years to get there, and I am excited to be a part of the Observe journey now.

Observability is emerging as a must have for every organization that wants their applications and systems to run smoothly.  As the software world gets more complex with multiple cloud infrastructures, hybrid infrastructure stacks, data based applications, and the explosion of platforms and tools, organizations are learning fast about how to navigate through these complexities successfully.  Observability helps them do this by going well beyond application monitoring to expose why an incident happened and make the needed correlations to enable teams to prevent re-occurrence. Observability is the practice of interrogating your environment without knowing in advance the questions you will need to ask.

As with any emerging category in enterprise software, vendors in adjacent areas work to tune what they have into a ‘solution’ to fit or somewhat fit the emerging need.   For observability that means providers approaching observability from their area of expertise, whether it’s metrics, logs, distributed tracing, or application performance management (APM). But each of these challengers is burdened by their legacy infrastructure, in this case a storage infrastructure which constrains future pace of innovation, as well as the associated cost structure, which results in an unacceptable cost structure as customers scale up.

Observability is first and foremost a data problem with implications across ingesting, storing and querying this data. This insight led to Observe’s unique approach which brings various types of data (logs, metrics, tracing) into one data store (Snowflake) and presents this data in a unified interface, seamlessly correlating and synchronizing data from various sources. Instead of switching between separate windows or tabs, customers can now see all their interlinked data in one interface. This means that customers can now also smoothly interact with multiple data streams to identify anomalies at any point in time. Observe further extends this depth in observability with signals from customer tickets and deployment pipelines to investigate and identify root causes, and automatically take action where possible.  Their unique approach has enabled them to not only accelerate the overall pace of innovation in observability, but also to extend into reliability – the ability to act upon the data.

By leveraging Snowflake, Observe has been able to adopt a consumption/usage-based pricing model that allows customers to pay ONLY for what they use.  This in turn results in their customers enjoying a 2-5x reduction in cost relative to other solutions in the market.

With Jeremy Burton (former CMO at EMC & Dell) and a world class team of co-founding engineers including Jacob Leverich, Jonathan Trevor, Phillip Unterbrunner and Jon Watte, the opportunity size, their unique and differentiated approach, we see a tremendous opportunity here and are thrilled to work with the Observe team and be a part of this journey.

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