In a time where every startup seems to be using machine learning to sift through massive amounts of data, Scalyr is a cloud-based service that is taking a different approach. It has built a tool the founder claims can sort through massive amounts of log data at lightning speed when compared to conventional logging tools — and it doesn’t require machine learning to make it happen.
Today, the company announced a $20 million investment led by Shasta Ventures with participation from previous investors Bloomberg Beta, Susa Ventures and Heroic Ventures. Today’s money brings the total investment to $28 million, according to company CEO and co-founder Steve Newman.
Newman has been around the block a few times in the startup world including helping create the Writely word processor, which was purchased by Google in 2006 and became none other than Google Docs. As part of the Google team, Newman says he worked on the data storage infrastructure behind Google Docs and Google Drive. As you can imagine, this involved operations at large scale in a cloud environment, just the kind of scale and complexity so many teams are facing now.
Newman took that experience and used it to help create Scaylr, which the team built from the ground up for simplicity and speed, not using so much as a single line of open source or external code. It was all in the service of speed, he says.
Log tools continually collect data about what’s happening across a company’s infrastructure and can help track down a variety of problems from network slow-downs to cyber attacks. The challenge is sifting through the rapidly ever-growing volume of data inside these logs.
Just how fast are they? Newman claims Scalyr is at least 5 times faster than competing tools like Splunk, Loggly and Sumo Logic, and sometimes as much as 1000 times faster. He says Scalylr is capable of searching a terabyte of data every second and that it can answer an engineering query 96 percent of the time in one second or less.
That speed enables a rapidly iterative process where engineers can get at the root of the problem simply by asking a series of questions based on what they are seeing in the logs and Scalyr’s responses. What’s more, they didn’t just concentrate on the technical underpinnings. He said they also used their experience building consumer application like Writely to develop a tool with a quality user interface.
The company is based in San Mateo and currently has 23 employees, a number they are very likely to increase with the new money. Scalyr has 140 paying customers including Giphy, TiVo and Business Insider.