Observability Matters – Why IBM’s acquisition of Instana is a game changer for AIOps

November 18, 2020


Today IBM announced the definitive agreement to acquire Instana. The acquisition will help businesses better manage the complexity of modern applications that span the hybrid cloud landscape and infuse AI in all areas of IT Management.
You’ll also find a blog post from Pratik Gupta, CTO Hybrid Cloud Management and IBM Distinguished Engineer, AI and Automation Platform, here.

Almost 6 years ago Fabian, Pavlo, Pete and I came together and discussed a new approach to application performance management (APM). At the end of a week full of ideas and discussions we decided that we should build a company out of our thoughts. 5 month later in March 2015 we founded Instana with the goal to build the next generation APM for microservice applications.

We released our first product in Autumn 2016 and were immediately recognized with a Gartner Cool Vendor mention. With a world-class and growing team we have been on the famous Double-Triple/Triple-Double path and grew the business to more than 350 customers to date with a focus on innovation and first-in-market features. We were backed by three great VC companies: Target Partners, Accel and Meritech.

Since we started in 2015 the market has changed a lot: Kubernetes became the operating system for modern applications and (hybrid) cloud environments. The shift to DevOps and the changes implied by that shift have changed the way organizations develop software today – faster but also more frequent changes are the new norm nowadays while developers take over more tasks that were historically on the IT operations side.

Observability is becoming a new disruption for the whole monitoring industry. Not only are categories like infrastructure monitoring, APM and Log monitoring converging but it also adds community driven standards like OpenTelemetry or defacto standards like Prometheus to the mix. Helping developers instrument their code and allow better management of complex application landscapes with unknown unknowns that cannot be handled with classic monitoring approaches anymore.

Metric, Logs and Traces have become the three pillars of the observability space with more data sources to be added – overall this data will become a commodity over the next few years – either generated manually or automatically with technologies like Instana’s AutoTrace.

The next level of innovation will be an “AutoPilot” for DevOps. A system that uses AI and machine learning technologies to automate a lot of the manual work that DevOps teams have to do today: troubleshooting problems, rolling back releases, auto-scale to optimize for throughput and cost, prevent security threats and fraud but also help with compliance and auditing.

In the context of the changes I described above I cannot be more excited about this announcement. IBM has the best enterprise Kubernetes platform with Red Hat OpenShift and a huge footprint in the Open Source community including the Cloud Native Foundation – also one of the drivers of open observability standards like Prometheus or OpenTelementry. IBM also is an innovator and leader in AI and AIOps with their Watson technology.

The combination of Instana’s next generation APM and Observability platform with IBM’s Hybrid Cloud and AI technologies excited me from the day IBM approached us with the idea of joining forces and combining our technologies.

My team and I are looking forward to become part and work with IBM teams and build the most advanced AIOps and Observability solutions in the market to help our customers to automate their day-to-day and to make sure developers get out of the burnout zone, so that they can focus on innovation and developing great software delivering tangible business impact!

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As the leading provider of Automatic Application Performance Monitoring (APM) solutions for microservices, Instana has developed the automatic monitoring and AI-based analysis DevOps needs to manage the performance of modern applications. Instana is the only APM solution that automatically discovers, maps and visualizes microservice applications without continuous additional engineering. Customers using Instana achieve operational excellence and deliver better software faster. Visit https://www.instana.com to learn more.