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Q&A: Interview with Sumo Logic, Talking Machine Data Analytics

I was recently exposed to Sumo Logic, a next-generation machine data analytics service that collects, manages and transforms machine data into insights for businesses.  What I saw was really interesting to me, so to find out more, I spoke with Sanjay Sarathy, the company's chief marketing officer.

VMblog: For VMblog.com readers who may not know about Sumo Logic, can you tell us a bit more about the company and your solution?

Sanjay Sarathy:  Christian Beedgen and Kumar Saurabh founded the company three years ago and we came out of stealth in Febuary 2012. We have over 100 paying customers and about 3,000 customers using our "freemium" product. Put simply, Sumo Logic is the next-generation machine data analytics service that collects, manages and transforms machine data, typically log files, into insights for your business. People don't know what they don't know, and Sumo Logic's solutions empower IT departments to identify problems or reoccurring errors they did not know existed. With Sumo Logic, enterprises can leverage logs and other machine data to improve operations by accelerating troubleshooting, identifying the root cause of problems and monitoring. Additionally, the log management insights work to strengthen security and compliance posture.

VMblog: What are the main reasons a company would consider adopting a solution like Sumo Logic? 

Sarathy:  We have a broad range of customers both in terms of verticals and geographies, and our customers leverage the product in a myriad of ways. I would say there are really three main use cases of our product. The first is for an all around increase in application availability and performance. By that I mean companies use Sumo Logic's solution to identify bottlenecks, issues with applications, servers, virtualized environments or networks, and search and troubleshoot to get to the root cause of any given issue. The second use case is for compliance and security. For instance, a company that acquires a bunch of smaller companies may not plan to rebuild those companies' infrastructures, but they need the acquired companies to adhere to the same regulatory standards and service level agreements the parent company has. A company can use Sumo Logic to manage the logs of all these newly acquired companies to ensure regulatory and internal compliance. The third use case involves generating insights into how a company's customers use their services and products.  This can improve the product development process, help customer support and improve customer loyalty.

VMblog: How does what Sumo Logic offer compare to the other major players in the marketplace?  Like Splunk for instance.

Sarathy: Splunk is doing some great stuff in the market, and in fact, we have a handful of customers using both Sumo Logic and Splunk for machine data analytics. But, Sumo Logic has two very important differentiators from others in the space. The first is patent-pending technology around pattern recognition. Sumo Logic gives you the ability to quickly locate the needle in the haystack that is buried deep inside a problem you never even knew about. Our analytics engine cluster patterns together, so that the customer can look at them and quickly conclude whether a given pattern is normal or cause for concern. If a user deems a specific pattern as cause for concern, they can flag and fix the underlying issue.  The next time the system sees that pattern, it can automatically alert the user. These two major differentiators make the time to value extremely short. There's just not a whole lot the customer needs to set up. Our customers get up and running within a matter of hours. The second is scalability. Since we are built on top of Amazon Web Services, we can easily scale up or scale down with a customer's data volumes. So as a company's logs increase, we can easily grow with the company.

VMblog: You mentioned a Freemium product. How is the functionality of that product different from the paid version?

Sarathy:  Yes, we are very excited about our freemium product as it is giving us the opportunity to show a wide breadth of people the power of our machine data analytics tool. The free product is exactly the same as our paid product, the only difference is that we will ingest a maximum of 500MG of data per day and retain it for seven days. Customers can upgrade their free subscription to a paid, enterprise subscription with no change in the functionality.

VMblog: What is an interesting or unexpected application of the Sumo Logic product that you've seen or heard?  

Sarathy:  The ways our customers leverage our product are really varied, which is what makes log analytics such an interesting space. One of our customers, InfoSpace, uses Sumo Logic to identify root causes of applications errors, which improves revenue visibility and increases the potential for better royalties. Additionally, our streaming dashboards allow InfoSpace to better visualize and detect attempted fraud on its infrastructure in real time. Other customers leverage our machine data analytics for everything from increasing the efficiency of their supply chain to ensuring PCI compliance. Insight is power, and with the insights Sumo Logic provides, you are empowered to make rapid business and IT decisions that enhance customer experience and advance your businesses' bottom line.

VMblog: What's in store for Sumo Logic in the second half of 2013?

Sarathy:  Sumo Logic's best days are before us. We are growing rapidly, and I'm thrilled to be a part of guiding that growth. In the near future, we will be largely focused on research and development to enhance our analytics capabilities. Stay tuned on that... We also just moved into a larger office space in Redwood City which is really exciting because we can tangibly see just how fast we're growing. 

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Once again, thanks to Sanjay Sarathy, chief marketing officer at Sumo Logic for taking time out to speak with VMblog.

Published Tuesday, July 09, 2013 6:30 AM by David Marshall
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