The first impression you get upon walking into the ThousandEyes office is that it must be populated entirely by teenagers. Brightly coloured green, yellow and orange paint splash across its walls behind detailed stencils of Batman and the Green Lantern. On every desk stands a stuffed Incredible Hulk toy, or a model of Elektra pointing her knives towards the mini golf putting range whose green felt expanse sits under a large window with a skyscraper view out over the city of San Francisco.
ThousandEyes specialises in IT performance management for the cloud era, and since its inception in 2010 it has worked on providing troubleshooting solutions on everything from the DMS layer all the way down for enterprises.
So ThousandEyes should know better than most some of the key problems that modern enterprises face, and indeed the CEO and co-founder of the company, Mohit Lad, highlighted three. According to Lad, the first problem is that often when there is an issue with a company’s network, neither the enterprise nor the SaaS provider will see the entire picture.
As he put it, “If you’re trying to understand, ‘why is it that my users are complaining about Office 365 performance?’, some of the questions you’d ask yourself would be ‘Is it my enterprise? Is it Office 365 that’s slow? Is it the Internet having a bad day?’ and it’s really hard to troubleshoot these things.”
Secondly, Lad highlighted the disconnect between application and network performance. “People usually divide performance management into application performance management and network performance management,” he said. “So you’re just seeing everything in bits and bytes, and it’s not as exciting. So this disconnect is really important.”
Thirdly, many companies rely too heavily on parties outside the organisation for fixing their problems. According to Lad, a person in an external IT company or department often has less of an idea what’s going on, and in fact a lot of times they don’t even know exactly the kinds of applications that are being used within your company, let alone how to fix them.
So what are the solutions? ThousandEyes has launched an eponymous product that that correlates different layers involved in the delivery of applications and pinpoints the source of a problem, whether it is internal or external.
As Lad explained, ”Performance management right now is similar to looking out of your window and checking what your line of sight is, in terms of traffic. So if your block is clear, you think that the traffic is OK and then you go to the next turn and you're blocked, because you can’t see beyond that. What you really want is what we term the “Google Maps” view, when you can see what’s going on from an end-to-end perspective, see what’s causing problems and then how to fix it, react and route around the problem. So that’s essentially what we’re trying to do here, to break these boundaries and form a solution.”
The ThousandEyes product solves these problems with three key functionalities. The first is the X-Layer, a tool that claims to provide deep visibility into each layer of application delivery. Doing so makes it possible for users to navigate from layer to layer to find the root cause of IT problems.
Secondly, Deep Path Analysis should provide a microscopic view of the end-to-end path between the client and server, including localisation of loss per interface, link delays, route changes, measurement of capacity and available bandwidth.
Finally, Interactive Sharing is a feature that enables enterprises and application providers to share live data with one another, eliminating ad hoc tests, reducing manual processes and resolving problems faster. In a demonstration, ThousandEyes showed how users can create a public URL to the same analysis page they’re looking at to share info with a provider or colleague, cutting out the need for confusing screenshots.
It all combines into a solution that provides detailed visibility beyond the corporate network perimeter, allowing users to identify the root performance problems with cloud applications and enabling distributed collaboration to resolve problems quickly. Not bad for a product that only officially launched this year at GigaOm 2013.