From Goibibo, to Razorpay to AWS, here’s why startups and enterprises across sectors are rooting for Continuous Intelligence
2020 is predicted to be the Year of Continuous Intelligence - a new category of software, which enables organisations of all sizes to address the data challenges and opportunities presented by digital transformation, modern applications, and cloud computing. Gartner cited Continuous Intelligence among trends to watch out for in 2020. It has also predicted that over half of all new business systems will be built with Continuous Intelligence embedded in their operations by 2022.
The prediction is already being reiterated in the industry surveys. Infact, Sumo Logic, the leader in Continuous Intelligence, earlier this month highlighted the increasing demand for Continuous Intelligence. Insights from 750+ professionals who were surveyed revealed that 88 percent of C-suite executives believed that their company will benefit from Continuous Intelligence and 76 percent indicated they were likely to employ Continuous Intelligence within the next 12 months. Additionally, 62 percent also said that companies will need to embrace Continuous Intelligence as they become more software-driven, to drive revenue.
In June, leaders from startups and enterprises came together for an online masterclass, presented by YourStory and AWS, and powered by Sumo Logic, to deep dive into Continuous Intelligence and share how they are leveraging this technology to address challenges and drive constructive disruption. The leaders included Abhinav Gupta, Senior Director of Engineering, Razorpay; Rahul Goyal, Senior Vice President of Engineering, Goibibo; Abhishek Mahanty, Senior Solutions Architect, Amazon; and Christian Beedgen, Co-founder and CTO, Sumo Logic. Moderating the masterclass was YourStory’s founder and CEO, Shradha Sharma
Excerpts from the masterclass
Why Continuous Intelligence is key to digital transformation today.
Opening up about what digital transformation meant from a personal standpoint, Christian, shared, “Having worked with computers since the age of 11, being part of the dotcom boom and even working in a profession where digital feels native, my views of the world, which is largely yet to be digitised, is still myopic.”
He also noted that, while on one hand, there were countries, businesses and sectors that were yet to go digital, on the other, the wave of transformation had accelerated with the availability of networking, low-cost devices, and technology. “All this has led to huge competition in terms of who can make decisions faster and better, Today, almost everyone has access to computer power. It has become imperative, therefore, for businesses to not just embrace digital transformation w.r.t. to going online or building a digital presence but also do more. If not, someone else would do it faster, safer, quicker or more cost-effective than you, making you redundant. We have seen this happen over and over again. And, it is here that Continuous Intelligence finds a great fit. It brings in the analytics orientation to businesses and keeps them in the race.”
How Razorpay goes into production at speed and scale
“For the scale at which we are right now, we need to move fast. As soon as the developer is ready with the application, we need to go into production. More importantly, the structure of the data that an application needs to push into the logging intelligence platform should not be time-consuming for engineers. And, here Continuous Intelligence platforms like Sumo Logic provide us a way to do that, said Abhinav, sharing why Continuous Intelligence is among the top five technologies that is helping the payment platform to move fast and in the right direction.
He also explained Continuous Intelligence also aids in troubleshooting production and security issues, and minimising them. “We collect a lot of data - right from the traffic that falls into our load balancers to all the requests that reach our data stores and caches. And, if we do not worry a lot about how we log systems, how do we break the silos of the data that we collect at various stages of the production as well as the online payment flows, it becomes quite cumbersome for us to troubleshoot any of the issues. These are not limited to the system level issues, but also the attacks that we receive being a payments company. Continuous Intelligence helps us a lot in terms of tracing where the attack is coming from, understanding if it is a planned attack or arising because of a ripple effect in the system due to a fault or gap in the production.”
Security: At the heart of Continuous Intelligence for Goibibo
“If you look at the development process that used to happen three to four years back, we used to consider development, testing and deployment as three different activities. Today, there is a fourth aspect also - security.,” shared Rahul giving a brief background into the change in the development process over the years.
Today, while companies are able to merge the first three together in their Continuous Development pipeline, security is still out of purview in the pipeline. Security, he noted, is still done as a separate activity and different tools are leveraged for it. “Continuous Intelligence for us means having all the key metrics at one place - application, security and business intelligence. This helps us get a unified view that will solve a lot of problems, and time and efficiency for the developers to switch between three different or four different platforms to monitor a single application, and for all the four aspects around the application. So, our objective in terms of how we approach tool selection or technology selection, what to build in house and what we want to use basically focuses on this efficiency not just from the cost but as well as developer productivity.” He opined that it is now the right time to also include security as crucially as we have included the other three in the entire CI/CD pipeline.
An insider's perspective on how Sumo Logic aids in centralising a business' AWS logs and turns analytics into business, operational and security insight
“Sumo Logic is a key technology partner for us. The relationship has grown from strength to strength over the years. We have customers that we address globally. Sumo Logic has close to 1500 customers on AWS. And just for perspective, 150+ petabytes of data is being analysed every day,” shared Abhishek on AWS’ long standing relationship with Sumo Logic.
He stated that a number of AWS’ key customers use Sumo Logic to get insights into how their applications are running on AWS, and to improve their security posture.
Delving into how Sumo Logic aids customers who are building applications on AWS, he shared, “We are seeing a greater focus on the microservices way of building across the board. Each of these microservices, while focusing on a specific use case, have their own independent components in the form of purpose-built databases or datalakes. Each of these applications, each of these services, has its own share of logs and metrics that need monitoring. But to get a holistic view of things and see how these different components come together, you need a way to aggregate these logs and metrics and correlate how a particular metric of one particular service could impact the other. This is where Sumo Logic helps. It aggregates logs and metrics, integrates with pretty much all the AWS security services - AWS config, AWS CloudTrail, etc. They also have predefined dashboards and reports view which makes easy for customers to get a holistic view of their applications and infra.”
Why Continuous Intelligence is relevant for every digital business today
Christian in his address highlighted how at the very core of running applications or services is the need to ensure its availability and its performance. Explaining why, he shared “If they are not available, even partially, there's money that you are not making. That's not usually something you want as a business. So, you need availability. And, then the site has to perform well. It is pivotal to the customer experience. And, these two things roll up into one entity - that’s reliability.” Here,he explained the challenge to reliability comes from the fact that performance and availability isn’t binary. “Because it is not always that your site or service is completely up and running nor is the entire system down. It is most often a part of the site that is problematic. This is why monitoring becomes the key. But, that isn’t easy given the complexity of IT infrastructure and scale.”
This is where a platform like Sumo Logic comes into play by providing all the data that is needed to monitor and troubleshoot to maintain the site’s reliability.
“At the same time, the other aspect that's a little bit unique to us, is the focus on security. Businesses have a responsibility towards their users to safeguard their data. And, we have extensive experience with one of those particular data types that is not just useful for monitoring and troubleshooting and reliability management but like also keeping the site secure and understanding what's happening on the site. Something, which we do on a daily basis and have been doing so for the last 10 years.”
He added that Sumo Logic delivers all of this as a service, so businesses are not compelled to install anything or maintain their own hardware infrastructure to do so. Sharing an interesting observation on how Sumo Logic’s customers are leveraging the data from Continuous Intelligence for use cases beyond reliability and security, Christian shares, “We are increasingly seeing customers using the same data that is to keep reliable and secure, businesses are creating real Business Intelligence on top of that. It’s something that I've always wanted and it makes me happy that we are getting to that as well.”
In hour-long masterclass, the leaders explored in depth the trajectory of their journeys with Continuous Intelligence and learnings that other businesses can take away from it.
Watch the video here.