Last9 emerges from stealth to tackle software reliability challenges

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Last9, a California-based startup that helps companies overcome software reliability challenges, came out of hiding today with an $11 million Series A funding led by Sequoia Capital India.

In the last decade or so, the software development space has seen a lot of improvements. The growing adoption of the cloud and microservices architecture has given companies the ability to create and ship dozens of system updates every week, giving them a huge competitive advantage. But, this speed of progress also brings its own set of challenges.

“The number of microservices is constantly growing, with each being deployed multiple times a day or week, all hosted on ephemeral servers. A typical request depends on at least 3 internal and 1 external services. It is a densely connected network of systems,” Nishant Modak, founder and CEO of Last9, told Venturebeat. In this network, even a small anomaly or change event could trigger a broader system-wide outage that most companies are not prepared to deal with. They have SREs (Site Reliability Engineers), but the current scheme of things requires them to manually review changelogs and graphs in dozens of dashboards (Grafana or Datadog, for example) or create some internal system-specific tools to determine what went wrong And how to fix it. This is time consuming and doesn’t help when the business loses money.

Last9 simplifies the challenge with ‘aerial view’

Founded in 2020, Last9’s Reliability Platform solves this challenge by giving ERS a bird’s-eye view of their software architecture. The solution uses enterprise data to create a “knowledge graph” of all essential systems (no matter how complex), allowing engineers to quickly drill down and zoom in to see the smallest data at the metric level.

“Users (enterprises) provide read-only access to their cloud environment and metrics storage. After this, the Last9 platform plots graphs of microservice calls that include internal and external systems. Additionally, it establishes key baseline metrics and helps identify, measure and track these indicators to provide insights into how customers are affected,” Modak explained.

In a nutshell, Last9 provides engineering and DevOps teams with an easier and faster way to assess and determine what went wrong, if it was due to an introduced change and how to prevent it, and the associated business losses. It can also act as a monitoring system, providing early warning of impending failures and performing root cause analysis significantly faster 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 they now have a map of all dependencies as well as out-of-the-box tracking of their key SLIs. Being able to track which tenant was affected instantly and the fact that all of this happens without an agent makes it extremely easy to adopt across systems,” said the CEO.

While several companies continue to operate in the software development and monitoring space, including Firebase, Amplify, LogicMonitor, and AppDynamics, Modak says that no one is looking at the reliability aspect the way Last9 is.

“Last9’s insight graph, which can be visually accessed on screen, allows immediate identification of the root cause of any incident, and indeed allows early warning of upcoming downtimes, as the insight graph knowledge knows how failures cascade throughout the system. We can confidently say that no other player at scale in the current space has this capability,” he said.

plan ahead

Now, with fresh capital in hand, the company plans to build engineering and go-to-market teams to expand its product reach and enhance its capabilities.

“Improving adoption and integrations for open telemetry and other open source standards is another key focus area. Change intelligence and failure insights in a distributed systems environment are key to solving this problem and we will continue to invest heavily in that,” said Modak.

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