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paul sagan

Rocana Lands $15M To Bring Big Data Analysis To IT Ops

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Rocana (formerly ScalingData) announced $15 million in Series B funding led by Google Ventures with General Catalyst Partners, Toba Capital and Paul Sagan (former chairman at Akamai and current executive in residence at General Catalyst) also contributing.

This round brings the total raised to $19.4 million.

Rocana aims to simplify and speed up how companies running large data center operation teams track and fix issues across their systems. As companies move increasingly into mobile and cloud services, they are finding that it’s more difficult to track problems in these heterogeneous environments, Omer Trajman, Rocana co-Founder and CEO explained.

His company calls what they do “root cause analysis” because they can trace from the system all the way down to the root cause of the problem wherever it happens to be.

Companies used to have simpler systems that were easier to understand and control, but today they have to deal with a myriad of technologies such as OpenStack, Hadoop and Docker. While these tools solve some hard problems, they also add layers of complexity.

Donald Fischer, a venture partner at General Catalyst says one of the things that attracted his firm to Rocana was finding a way to attack this changing landscape with a new approach. “From my seat, I hear things are getting more complicated and more heterogeneous in terms of what’s being deployed in the data center,” he said.

What’s more he was hearing that the traditional tools, designed for a simpler data center weren’t keeping up. “When we looked at tools for managing IT ops, most of the tools are getting [long] in tooth. These are products from [IBM, HP] and BMC. These tools were built before Docker, OpenStack and Mesosphere. We’ve heard those tools are have a hard time keeping up,” he said.

That opened up an opportunity for a startup like Rocana. The founders looked at the changes in the data center and saw this as a big data problem because of the massive amounts of data coming in from disparate sources across these increasingly complex systems. They chose to use Hadoop and adjacent technologies like Apache Spark and Apache Solr to attack it.

The company appears to be a new twist on applications performance management from companies like New Relic or AppDyamics, but Trajman says they are more of complement to what Rocana is doing.

“New Relic is really helping people understand at the application level how it’s performing and whether something is going wrong, but when you actually dive into the infrastructure, it’s a very different view of the stack.”

He says the difference is New Relic lets you know something went wrong in a certain part of the application and Rocana will you give a detailed reason why it went wrong at the infrastructure level and how you can fix it.

A more analogous competitor might be DataDog, which also provides detailed infrastructure and software analysis to IT operations staff.

Regardless, there are few startups operating alone in any particular market segment. Rocana has 20 employees today in Boston and San Francisco. Trajman predicts that could increase two or three times in the next year armed with its fresh pocketful of millions.

Featured Image: Christian Newton/Flickr UNDER A CC BY 2.0 LICENSE