Zenoss Raises $25 Million Series C To Automate IT

Open source IT management and monitoring company Zenoss raised a $25 million series C lead by Summit Partners with participation from previous investors Grotech Ventures, Intersouth Partners and Boulder Ventures. This brings the company’s total funding to $45 million.

The company sponsors the development of the free open source Zenoss Core and sells support along with enterprise versions of the open core offering that include proprietary management tools and analytics features. The tools can be used to monitor and management both virtual and physical infrastructure, on-premises or in the public cloud.

Zenoss was founded in 2005 by CEO Bill Karpovich and CTO Erik Dahl, two former employees of USinternetworking (USi), an early software-as-a-service company that was acquired by AT&T in 2006. Karpovich had also worked at Digex, an early managed hosting provider. Dahl and Karpovich had dealt with the painful realities of web operations and saw the need for visibility across the storage and compute layers and into the application layer.

Dahl had started developing some ideas for an open source IT management system in 2002 after he left USi, but Karpovich says wasn’t until they formed Zenoss that the project became serious. The first version of Zenoss Core was released in 2006 and the company raised a $4.8 million series A lead by Boulder Ventures and Intersouth Partners. The commercial product followed in 2007.

Zenoss raised an $11 million series B round in 2008 led by Grotech Capital. Dahl left the company in 2010. He now works at MobileSpaces, which recently raised $3 million from Accel Partners. Alan Conley. former CTO of Cisco’s network management group, is now CTO of Zenoss.

Zenoss has aligned itself with DevOps, a multifaceted (re: confusing) movement that advocates a closer working relationship between development and operations staff, the application of agile development practices to IT operations and the virtualization and automation of infrastructure.

Karpovich thinks having worked at early cloud or proto-cloud companies gives them an advantage over the older solution offered by “the big four” IT management vendors (BMC, CA, HP, and IBM). “Our whole idea from day one was to automate these processes, including monitoring,” he says.

There are other, even newer companies out there however that are trying to take on the cloud infrastructure management and monitoring market. For example Boundary, which just just launched a free version of its service last summer.

Still, Karpovich thinks Zenoss can straddle the line between newer, less mature companies and the aging giants of IT.