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June 1, 2015 By Christian Beedgen

The Power of 5

Five years, five rounds of financing, five hundred customers already and 500 Sumo employees down the road. And there’s another 5 hidden in this story which you will have to puzzle out yourself. We welcome our new investors Draper Fisher Jurvetson Growth and Institutional Venture Partners, as well as Glynn Capital and Tenaya Capital. And we say thank you for the continued support of the people and the firms that have added so much value while fueling our journey: Greylock, Sutter Hill Ventures, Accel Partners, and Sequoia.

It is fair to say that we were confident in the beginning that the hypotheses on which Sumo Logic was founded are fundamentally solid. But living through the last 5 years, and seeing what the people in this company have accomplished to build on top of this foundation is truly breathtaking and fills me with great pride. For us, the last five years have been a time of continuous scaling. And yet we managed to stay true to our vision – to make machine data useful with the best service we can possibly provide. We have become experts at using the power of the scalability that’s on tap in our backend to relentlessly crunch through data. Our customers are telling us that this again and again surfaces the right insights that help them understand their application and security infrastructures. And with our unique machine learning capabilities, we can turn outliers and anomalies into those little “tap tap tap”-on-your-shoulder moments that make the unknown known and that truly turn data into gold.

One of the (many) things that is striking to me when looking back over the last 5 years is just how much I appreciate the difference between building software and building a service. They will have to drag me back kicking and screaming to build a product as a bunch of code to be shipped to customers. That’s right, I am a recovering enterprise software developer. We had a hunch that there must be a better way, and boy were we right. Choosing to build Sumo Logic as a service was a very fundamental decision – we never wanted to ever again be in a situation in which we were unable to observe how our product was being used.

As a service, we have the ultimate visibility, and seeing and synthesizing what our customers are doing continuously helps to support our growth. At the same time, we have nearly total control over the execution environment in which our product operates. This is enlightening for us as engineers because it removes the guesswork when bug reports are coming in. No longer do I have to silently suspect that maybe it is related to that old version of Solaris that the customer insists on using to run my product on. And no, I don’t want to educate you which RAID level you need to run the database supporting my software on anymore, because if you don’t believe me, we are both going to be in a world of hurt 6 months down the road when everything grinds to a halt. I simply don’t want to talk anymore about you having to learn to run and administer my product. Our commitment and value is simple: let me do it for you, so you can focus on using our service and getting more value. Give us the control to run it right and all will benefit.

Obviously, we are not alone in having realized the many benefits of software as a service – SaaS. This is why the trend to convert all software to services has only started. Software is eating software, quite literally. I see it every day when we replace legacy systems. We are ourselves exclusively consuming services at Sumo Logic – we have no data center. We literally have just one Linksys router sitting alone and lonely in the corner of our office, tying the wireless access points to some fiber coming out of the floor. That’s it. Everything else is a service. We believe this is a better way to live, and we put our money where our mouth is, supporting our fellow product companies that have gone the service route.

So in many ways we are all riding the same wave, the big mega trend – a trend that is based on efficiency and a possibility of doing things in a truly better way. And we have the opportunity to both be like and behave like our customers, while actually helping our customers build these great new forward looking systems. At Sumo Logic, we have created a purpose-built cloud analytics service that supports, and is needed, by every software development shop over the next number of years as more and more products are built on the new extreme architecture. Those who have adopted and are adopting the new way of doing things are on board already and we are looking forward to support the next waves by continuing to provide the best service to monitor, troubleshoot, and proactively maintain the quality of your applications, infrastructure, and ultimately of your service. In addition, with our unique and patented machine learning analytics capabilities we can further deliver on our vision to bring machine intelligence to the masses where as this was previously only available to the fortunate few.

As we scale along with the great opportunity that the massive wave of change in IT and software is bringing, we will put the money provided by our investors to the best possible use we can think of. First of all, we will continue to bring more engineers and product development talent on board. The addition of this new tech talent will continue to help us further develop our massive elastic scale platform which has grown more than 1000X in the past few years in terms of data ingested. In fact, we are already processing 50TB of new data every day, and that number will only go up. Our own production footprint has reached a point where we would literally have to invent a product like Sumo Logic in order to keep up – thankfully, we enjoy eating our dog food, all across the company. Except for the dogs in the office, they’d actually much rather have more human food.

In any case, this service is engineering heavy, full of challenges along many dimensions, and scale is just one of them. If you are looking for a hardcore technical challenge, let’s talk ( And while we continue to tweak our system and adhere to our SLAs (even for queries!), we will also massively grow the sales, G&A, marketing and customer success side of the company to bring what we believe to be the best purpose built cloud service for monitoring modern application architectures to more and more people, and to constantly improve on our mission of maniacal customer success. What do you say? Five more years, everybody!!!

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Christian Beedgen

Christian Beedgen

As co-founder and CTO of Sumo Logic, Christian Beedgen brings 18 years experience creating industry-leading enterprise software products. Since 2010 he has been focused on building Sumo Logic’s multi-tenant, cloud-native machine data analytics platform which is widely used today by more than 1,600 customers and 50,000 users. Prior to Sumo Logic, Christian was an early engineer, engineering director and chief architect at ArcSight, contributing to ArcSight’s SIEM and log management solutions.

More posts by Christian Beedgen.