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Data observability startup Cribl brings in $200M

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Data has become a double-edged sword in the enterprise. Spurred by the growth of remote work, companies are now collecting and storing vast amounts of observability data. Despite this, stakeholders are struggling to make use of the data, with 86% of IT leaders admitting in an IDG survey that they find it challenging to optimize their resources.

Data observability startup Cribl today announced that it raised $200 million in series C funding led by Greylock and Redpoint Ventures, with participation from VP, Sequoia, CRV, Citi Ventures, and CrowdStrike. CEO Clint Sharp says that the new capital — which values the company at over $1 billion — will be used to grow Cribl’s business, recruitment, and operations teams, following deals with large customers including Fannie Mae and Cox Automotive.

San Francisco, California-based Cribl, which was founded in 2017 by Splunk veterans Sharp, Dritan Bitincka, and Ledion Bitincka, lets customers integrate their IT and security tooling data, reusing existing telemetry agents to send data to more observability tools. The platform controls costs by routing data to cost-effective destinations, working to anticipate future data demands.

Above: A schematic showing how data flows through Cribl’s platform.

“Customers face the contradictory reality of needing to collect and process an explosion of metrics, event, log, and trace data, all of which are used to tell businesses the health and security of their systems,” Sharp told VentureBeat via email. “It’s within this new reality over the last several years that we built the company from the ground up to address … Our strategy going forward is to enable even more data to be observed and unlock all the value that data brings to analytics. At the end of the day, analytics tools are only as valuable as the data they’re working with and [Cribl] is the key to unlocking that value.”

Greater observability

The demand for observability tools is growing as enterprises implement increasingly distributed architectures. According to a recent VMWare survey of IT practitioners, 16% are already using observability tools and 35% are planning to implement observability in the next six to twelve months.

“Organizations engaged in digital transformation initiatives are now faced with managing highly dynamic, but also very complex, distributed environments. It’s no surprise, then, that the top goal of these digital transformation initiatives is to drive operational efficiencies,” ESG analyst Bob Laliberte said in a statement. “These modern cloud-native environments generate more data than ever before, and organizations need solutions … to enable them to regain control and streamline the collection and distribution of the right data to the right tools, in a cost-effective manner.”

Cribl aims to keep ahead of rivals like OpsCruise, Sosivio, and Lightrun by laying the foundation for AI-powered observability capabilities. While Cribl doesn’t use AI within its product, Sharp sees it as a critical element to those implementing AI-assisted operations in technology partner products, because those products are only as effective as the telemetry data they analyze.

“AI hasn’t gained much traction with telemetry data, which by its nature is constantly changing and problems are not generally repeated — the entire premise of observability is that you’re trying to answer questions that haven’t been asked before, which makes it challenging to ‘learn’ from previous [examples],” he explained. “[But] take security as a [technology partner] example. If the AI-assisted analytics isn’t reviewing the entire end-to-end system, then it will make assumptions about missing data in order to make recommendations or automate activity. Those assumptions are the windows that hackers are constantly testing to see if they can crawl through.”

Cribl claims it’s growing 300% year-over-year, with a community that’s expanded from 500 members to 2,300 members “in a few short months.” The company, which transmits more than 5 petabytes per day through its observability pipelines, has over 100 paying customers including Whole Foods, Vodafone, Shutterfly, Fannie Mae, and Autodesk, and more than 1,000 installed freemium instances of its software.

“Business … is exploding. Given the rise of distributed work, growing complexity of security attacks, increased focus of companies on privacy and compliance, the fact that we implement control into the flow of observability data for companies at the click of a button has increased the importance of our products to the marketplace,” Sharp said. “Companies need more advanced analytics tools, but the tools are only as good as the data they analyze. We get them that data at an unprecedented rate to whatever best of breed tools they are using.”

Cribl, which has a 150-person workforce that it expects will triple in size in the next 12 months, has raised $254 million to date with the latest round. It previously closed a $35 million series B in October 2020.

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