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Hybrid Cloud Monitoring Startup Sensu Raises $10 Million

Historically, on-premises server and network monitoring frequently operated separately. But now, companies are rapidly moving towards hybrid cloud environments — which triggers the need for additional monitoring of software containers, serverless architectures and more.

Frankly, the so-called “closet-to-cloud” monitoring challenges are huge. But that also spells opportunity for startups like Sensu, which has raised $10 million in Series A financing led by Battery Ventures. Also participating in the round were existing investors Foundry Group, of Boulder, Colo. As part of the financing, Battery General Partner Dharmesh Thakker is joining Sensu’s board.

With the new funding, the company intends to:

  • Increase its sales and marketing operations;
  • fund product development; and
  • expand the community of open-source developers contributing to Sensu’s technology.

The company has also confirmed plans for Sensu Summit 2018 — the company’ second-annual user conference.

Hybrid Cloud Monitoring: Sensu’s Architecture

Co-founders Caleb Hailey and Sean Porter (the original author of the open-source Sensu project) previously worked together at a consulting firm called Heavy Water Operations. Their Sensu platform is like a “central nervous system” for modern IT environments, the company says.

Sensu’s products are deployed on customers’ own infrastructure — allowing IT, development and operations teams to monitor and collect metrics from throughout the infrastructure stack. Then, customers can analyze that data through special dashboards to remediate IT-performance issues, the company claims.

The company doesn’t have a formalized MSP partner program, but there is a fledgling ecosystem of consulting and technology partners. True believers include Slalom and OpsGenie, among others. Also, early adopters include Netflix, Cisco, Livestream and Intuit.

Hybrid Cloud Monitoring: Sensu’s Features

Some of Sensu’s core features include:

  • Execute Service Checks – Sensu can monitor application and system services, detecting those in an unhealthy state. Service checks can be used, for example, to determine if a service like HAProxy is up or down, or if a web application is responding to requests.
  • Send Notifications – Sensu notifies your team about events before your customers do, using services such as Email, PagerDuty, Slack, HipChat, IRC, etc.
  • Collect Metrics – Sensu gains insightful metrics from complex distributed systems. The Sensu check format is composed of an exit status code, and an arbitrary payload (e.g. message string, PerfData, JSON, animated cat GIFs, etc). This simplicity provides a single platform to collect every metric data point that is meaningful to your business, the company asserts.
  • Dynamic Client Registry – Sensu’s use of the pubsub pattern of communication allows for automated registration & de-registration of ephemeral systems — allowing you to dynamically scale your infrastructure up and down without fear of generating false-positive alert storms, the company says.
  • Self-Service Monitoring – Sensu provides support for centralized and decentralized (or distributed) monitoring, enabling operations teams to maintain a standard service level for the entire organization without placing unnecessary restrictions on developers.
  • External Input – Sensu’s monitoring agent (sensu-client) provides a TCP and UDP socket that can accept external JSON data. Applications can leverage this interface to report errors directly to Sensu or ship application-specific metric data.

Brand Refresh

In addition to the funding announcement, the company is also unveiling a complete refresh of the Sensu brand. A new logo, new website, new domain, sensu.io, and new colors went live on Sensu website earlier this week, and should roll out more pervasively throughout the various Sensu properties over the next several weeks.

We’re checking to see if or when the company will launch a more formalized partner program for service providers. Although the monitoring market is quite crowded, we continue to see a range of startups and potentially disruptive moves in the sector.

For instance, LogicMonitor earlier today was acquired by a private equity firm. And upstart Auvik Network in 2017 raised money for a network-centric RMM platform.

Additional insights from Joe Panettieri.

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